With the coming of summer, many students are struck with a debilitating illness known as cantgotoschoolitis. Symptoms may include inability to pay attention in class, wandering eyes, and an overactive imagination.
With students yearning so badly to get out of class, it’s hard to believe that on this day in 1976, many young students gave their lives fighting just to receive a fair and equal education.
In 1953, the white Apartheid government of …Read more
Language is the soul of a nation… Do you want to make a people disappear? Destroy its language.
Jules-Paul Tardivel, L’anglicisme, voila l’ennemi, 1880
Today is International Mother Language Day.
For some reason the excitement surrounding this occasion is not quite as intense as other more important holidays, such as Talk Like a Pirate Day. This may be because our national linguistic experience differs from most countries. As one joke goes:
What do you …Read more
I’d like to take this moment to assure you that all typos in this blog are my subversive attempts to alter the English language.
That said, you can read all about the history of International Mother Language Day–a holiday that started in Bangladesh over 50 years ago–at last year’s post Name Three Words That End in ‘gry’.
Rather than repeat myself, I decided to research my own native tongue, English, and found that, contradictory to popular …Read more
When all the nations stand before the judgment seat and are asked to explain how they used their basic talents…the small Slovenian nation will dare without fear to present a thin book with title Prešeren’s Poems alongside the others.
– Josip Stritar
Don’t mess with the Slovenes when it comes to their national poet, France Prešeren. He gets, not one, but two days in his honor on the …Read more
Originally celebrated as Zamenhof Day, Esperanto Day is the birthday of Esperanto founder L.L. Zamenhof. He would be 149 today.
The son of a German teacher, Zamenhof was born in Bialystok, Russia, in what is now Poland. He spoke all three of those languages as a child, and studied Greek, Latin, Hebrew and French. He grew up to be a doctor, but had an incredible ability to pick up languages. During his formative …Read more
7/11 might be a more appropriate day to extol the virtues of poetry, but as it is, we’ll celebrate on 7/10, the birthday of poet, journalist, and author Edmund Clerihew Bentley, who created the most venerated form of poetry in all the English language: the Clerihew.
Edmund Clerihew Bentley
The Clerihew is a four-line verse where the end of the first line, or more often the full first line, is the subject’s name. Clerihews have …Read more
St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the two missionary brothers who gave birth to the written Slovak language, are celebrated by the Eastern Catholic Church in May. (The exploits of the Brothers are detailed here.) But in the early 20th century the Roman Catholic feast day for the saints, held on July 5, took on a new importance.
After the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Slovaks around the world struggled to defend their national …Read more
Today is Day of Finnishness in you-guessed-it: Finland. It’s also known as Snellman Day, named after the Finns’ national hero Johan Vilhelm Snellman, but referred to as Day of Finnishness (perhaps because ‘Snellman’ sounds like that teacher in high school whose nostrils screamed when he breathed through his nose).
Snellman was in fact a teacher (but no word on his nasal exhalations). He was also a statesman, journalist and philosopher, who crusaded to make Finnish …Read more