As the unpopular shark bait and shoot program continues in Western Australia, fisheries minister Troy Buswell has defended the policy, saying that it isn’t a cull, but a ‘localised shark mitigation strategy’. Lochlan Morrissey suspects Buswell learned the art of political euphemism from the best.READ MORE
Gordon Peake and Piers Kelly write:
With allegations of Australian chicanery during the Timor Sea negotiations, a definitional dilemma emerges for the media: just what is the correct name of our northern neighbor? Is it East Timor or Timor-Leste? The ABC and the Guardian seem to working off different style guides on the question. In the main, journos tends to use the former with talking heads more frequently opting for the latter.
The ‘-Leste’ part is a Portuguese-derived term meaning ‘East’ and its position after the word ‘Timor’ is consistent with the rules of both Portuguese and the national language Tetun. Why then, is it becoming habitual to use this term in English-language contexts? After all, we tend not to talk about going on holidays to Italia or Deutschland for which well-established and better-understood English counterparts are available.
It turns out that there are good reasons for this.READ MORE
It’s been a helluva year so far. Three prime ministers, devastating bushfires, Clive Palmer. The Australian National Dictionary Centre wants help from the public to decide on a Word of the Year for 2013. It doesn’t need to have been coined in Australia and it doesn’t even need to be new. What they’re looking for [...]READ MORE
First, they rejected Gonski because too much funding would go to remote community schools. Now, the NT Education department is cutting positions that are key in supporting Aboriginal students who don’t speak English at home. Greg Dickson demonstrates the benefit that such support positions can bring and argues that the NT Government’s handling of education could easily cause the much-discussed “gap” to widen rather than narrow.READ MORE
During the NSW bushfire emergency this week, some viewers got a rude shock when they saw the Auslan interpreter apparently ‘flipping the bird’ to the cameras. Was the interpreter being cheeky or was this a a simple misunderstanding? Sign languages expert Adam Schembri explains.READ MORE
Fairfax media reports that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has sent a list of appropriate terminology for referring to refugee boat arrivals, including referring to the people as ‘illegal arrivals’ and ‘detainees’. How does changing terminology change how we think about something?READ MORE
Recent reports show that the number of students studying Asian languages in later years of high school continue to drop. Lochlan Morrissey wonders if convincing students that learning a second language is economically useful might be the wrong way to go about things.READ MORE
Last week, the Australian Government dissolved its Ministry of Multicultural Affairs leaving us wondering who will provide leadership that encourages Australia to embrace its linguistics and cultural diversity. Funnily enough, it’s coming from an unlikely collaboration between one of our biggest religious organisations – the AFL – and one of our biggest financial institutions, the NAB. Greg Dickson has more on Footify, a commercial campaign doing more to promote multiculturalism than our government seems to want to.READ MORE
One day out from the election and Greg Dickson has noticed a few more languages other than English being used in various campaigns. Is this a last-ditch effort to reach every constituent, a deliberate recognition of our linguistic diversity, or just because we can?READ MORE