Trade Minister Tim Groser has stated that he believes that Maori should be taught in schools from age 5 upwards. He told TV3′s The Nation:
“What I think should happen is that you introduce very young children from New Zealand to the idea of biculturalism and more than one language, and then they will be able to learn other languages as their personal circumstances fit.”
Groser’s opinion was echoed by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.
“There is plenty of research evidence to say that being bilingual is a huge advantage intellectually, educationally and socially. The Maori Party thinks Maori should be ‘compulsorily available’ in all schools, and various public opinion surveys show most New Zealanders support that stance.
I also think all Maori children should have access to Maori-medium education, which produces fluent speakers of Maori; and the government is working on a range of initiatives to help that happen.
I am leading the development of a new Maori Language Strategy to guide government policy on language revitalisation, so we get the best outcome for the language for the money we invest. Maori whanau and hapu must lead efforts to maintain Maori as a living language in this country, and the Government needs to be systematic and co-ordinated in our support.
It is very heartening to see that most New Zealanders want te reo Maori to be spoken in Aotearoa, and the idea of all children being able to learn Maori at school, which might once have been considered controversial, is now mainstream thinking,” said Dr Sharples.
The United Nations HQ in New York celebrated Chinese Language Day on Thursday (April 20th) with a series of special events. The day has been celebrated since 2010, and the April date was selected from Guyu to honour Cangjie, the legendary figure in Ancient China credited with inventing Chinese characters 5000 years ago.
The day featured displays of traditional Chinese dancing, musical performances, art exhibits and a demonstration by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.
The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) introduced language days in 2010 to celebrate each of it’s official languages and to encourage cultural diversity. Chinese is one of the six official languages of the UN, along with Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and English.
The other official UN Language Days were selected for their historical importance connected with each language:
- French (20 March – International Day of Francophonie)
- English (23 April – William Shakespeare’s birthday)
- Russian (6 June – Alexander Pushkin’s birthday)
- Spanish (12 October – Dia de la Hispanidad)
- Arabic (18 December – the date the General Assembly designated Arabic as the sixth official language of the United Nations in 1973)
New research conducted at the Aix-Marseille University in France shows that baboons have the ability to identify words. By using different combinations of four letters, the primates are showing signs of being able to recognise which combinations of letters are real words and which aren’t.
They are “actually reading words much like we identify any kind of visual object, like we identify chairs and tables,” says the study’s lead research author Jonathan Grainger.
A testing area was installed into the baboon’s play area, with four touch screen computers. A mixture of real words and nonsense words were displayed on the screen, and the baboons had to touch either a green oval signs on the screen for the real words, or a blue cross to signal the nonsense words. The baboons were free to choose when they used the computers and for how long, but were given treats when they correctly identified the real words. The study concluded that the baboons identified the correct words three times out of four.
The researchers now believe that the ability to recognise words is related to object identification rather than spoken language skills.
Source: Science Journal
There are some trademarked brands which have entered the English language as the word to use for any brand of that item. Sellotape, Hoover and Biro are all examples of this. The one I tend to use the most is Google. The latest word to be added to that list is iPad, which now seems to be the generic term for a tablet computer.
The trouble with this, though, is that brands which become synonymous with the product’s identity often lose the trademark altogether. If it is legally deemed to be too “generic” to be a trademark, then inferior products can use the name on their own packaging. This can be demonstrated with the case of aspirin. Aspirin was developed by a German company, Bayer AG, and was registered as a trademark in 1899. The company held the worldwide patent, but in 1917, Bayer’s patent for the product expired. Following World War I, aspirin lost it’s status as a registered trademark in the USA, UK, France and Russia as part of war reparations. Today, Bayer still holds the trademark in 80 countries, which means that in these countries, the word Aspirin must be printed with a capital A. Aspirin is a generically used term in Australia and New Zealand. Bayer also held the trademark for heroin, which was trademarked in 1898 as a morphine substitute.
Maori TV are to re-launch a dedicated 100% te reo Maori channel, which is called Te Reo. From Monday 16 April, the channel’s weekday broadcast hours will be begin at 4.30pm, rather than 7pm, as it is at the moment. Te Reo’s weekend broadcast schedule will run from 7.00pm to 11.00pm.
The channel will primarily contain programming for children.
Korero Mai was the main language teaching programme to be aired on Maori TV, but the channel will be launching a new live daily Maori language show.
Te Reo is available only on digital and can be accessed via Freeview Satellite channel 24 and SKY channel 59.