Taiwan’s National Cultural Association to work with China on creation of online Chinese dictionary

“The dictionary will be available next year and can be referenced online,” said President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday. “The most important thing about the dictionary is that it will allow people to compare traditional and simplified Chinese characters. It will also be available for publishing.”
While the Mandarin Chinese language is widely spoken in both Taiwan and China, there are some differences. Most notable is the fact that China uses a simplified version of the traditional characters that are still used in Taiwan today.
Ma said Thursday that Taiwan has worked hard over the last 60 years to promote Chinese culture with Taiwanese characteristics. He said that Taiwan is planning to establish Taiwan institutes abroad which can promote this unique culture.

Anthropologist to spend a year in northwest Greenland to save disappearing language

A British anthropologist is setting out on a year-long stay with a small community in Greenland in an ambitious attempt to document its dying language and traditions. Stephen Pax Leonard will live with the Inughuit in northwest Greenland, the world’s most northernmost people, and record their conversations and storytelling traditions to try and preserve their language.
Inuktun is an undocumented language with about 1,000 speakers. Although most Inughuit are trilingual, also speaking Danish and Greenlandic, their primary language is still Inuktun.
Leonard says he is determined to become a part of their community and plans to hunt with the men if he is allowed. He is taking solid-state audio recorders that should work in the freezing conditions and plans to produce an “ethnography of speaking.”
See: CNN

The internet speeds up the process of language change

‘To Google’ has become a universally understood verb and many countries are developing their own internet slang. But is the web changing language and is everyone up to speed?
According to David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, new colloquialisms spread like wildfire amongst groups on the net. Language itself changes slowly but the internet has speeded up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly.
One example of this is evident in Ukraine, where a written variation of the national tongue has sprung up on internet blogs and message boards called “padronkavskiy zhargon” – in which words are spelled out phonetically.
Txt spk: One language change that has definitely been overhyped is so-called text speak, a mixture of often vowel-free abbreviations and acronyms, says Prof Crystal.
People say that text messaging is a new language and that people are filling texts with abbreviations – but when you actually analyse it you find they’re not.  In fact only 10% of the words in an average text are not written in full.