Is French a Global Language?

Jun 2, 2015 by

An article by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in Forbes challenged John McWhorter’s view that French is no longer an important global language (see McWhorter’s “Let’s Stop Pretending That French Is an Important Language” in The New Republic)....

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Tunisia’s Diverse Djerba Island and Its Annual Jewish Pilgrimage

Jun 2, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in June 2012] An earlier post discussed Ibadi Islam, the predominant faith in Oman. In addition to Oman and its settlements in East Africa, the Ibadi faith can also be found in small pockets in...

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Is Geordie “the closest dialect to Anglo-Saxon”?

May 20, 2015 by

To continue with the Geordie theme, I was asked today whether Geordie is indeed “the closest dialect to Anglo-Saxon”—and the answers is “both yes and no”. I will use this forum to explain. Since Anglo-Saxon is the ancestral form of...

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Geordie Mysteries—And the Mysteries of the Geordie Dialect

May 14, 2015 by

In my earlier post on the geography of detective fiction, I noted a trend for mystery novels and TV shows, especially in Britain, to be set in peaceful locations where in actuality relatively few murders occur. Instead, writers and...

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Medvedev Could Care Less About Japan’s Reaction to His Visit to Kuril ...

May 14, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in July 2012] As discussed in my earlier news post, tensions remain high between Russia and Japan over the legal status of the four Southern Kuril islands: Etorofu (Iturup), Kunashiri (Kunashir),...

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Japan to Seek Only Two Russian-held Kuril Islands

May 14, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in May 2012] The Japanese government offers to negotiate the return of two rather than all four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, in hopes that the proposed compromise might finally lead to a...

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Tunisia’s Diverse Djerba Island and Its Annual Jewish Pilgrimage

May 5, 2015 by

[Recent news reports of a potential terror attack against Jews in Tunisia make this post, originally published in June 2012, relevant again.] A previous post discussed Ibadi Islam, the predominant faith in Oman. In addition to Oman...

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