Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tongue-Tied Americans? No Problem

According to an editorial of the Wall Street Journal, Americans don’t need to learn languages because everyone else in the world is learning English. English only is enough. However, the WSJ says that after 9/11 things have changed. But Americans still don’t need to learn languages because we have immigrants who know languages (subscription) and all the FBI and other government agencies have to do is create a U.S. Civilian Linguist Reserve Corps. That would be a list of immigrants who are fluent in languages and call them when they are needed. Simple? Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to solve complex problems without any effort. (Thanks to Hispanicon for the tip).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Benedict XVI: Beyond Language

If you want to understand Benedict XVI beyond his linguistic abilities, go to Body and Soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Benedict XVI & Spanish

Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI speaks many languages but yesterday said nothing in Spanish, causing bewilderment among Latin American journalists present. Benedict XVI thanked the news media for their coverage of the transition, addressing reporters in Italian, English, French, and German. Nada en español. Maria Antonieta Flores, a Mexican journalist with Il Publico newspaper, said Spanish-speaking journalists “wanted him to speak in Spanish."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Multilingual Pope

Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) has much in common with John Paul II not simply form the point of view of ideology but also linguistically. John Paul knew eight languages. Ratzigner knows ten. The superstar of linguistic knowledge, however, was Giuseppe Mezzofanti (1774-1849), an Italian Cardinal who spoke more than 38 languages fluently. Although he never left Italy, managed to learn how to speak languages without an accent. People from all over the world came to challenge him in their native tongue. They all reported their amazement at this man's fluency.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Camping out for a Chance to Enter a Bilingual School

Parents wishing their kids to enroll in North beach Elementary School camped out as early as a day before for a chance to get in the day after and obtain a lost for their kids. Given the limited number of spaces available, long lines developed. At least one parent needed to wait in line to ensure a space for their kids. The school teaches speaking, reading, and writing in both Spanish and English beginning in Kindergarten.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Multilingual Pope

John Paul II spoke eight languages. Will the new Pope be also multilingual? It's quite likely although language fluency is not the only requirement to be elected Pope. Yet, since the Catholic Church is a global entity, it's certainly an advantage to have a Pope who can speak several languages, which come in handy when the Pope travels the globe, as was the case with John Paul II, and will likely be the case with the new Pope. Which languages? There is little doubt that Italian is an essential language since it is the working language of the Vatican. In addition, English, Spanish, French, and Spanish are considered very useful languages for obvious reasons. Latin is also beneficial since it is one of the two languages used in the Conclave, which will elect the new Pope. Yet, even in the election process Italian is apparently the language used in the discussions, which will lead to the election.