The Week in Review: May 12, 2023

A couple of days after Columbia University awarded the Pulitzer Prize, another, more translation-centric literary award was being granted: The French-American Foundation’s 2023 Translation Prize. Read on to learn about the six translators who were granted $10,000 each for their French-to-English translation work.

Plus, we’ve got press releases and blog posts from BLEND, Acclaro, and Acolad, so read on this week’s biggest language news.

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Last known speaker fights to preserve South African indigenous language (via Reuters)

Not too long ago, MultiLingual reported on Grambank, a grammar database that researchers created to get a better sense of the grammatical features that will be lost from the world as we lose more and more spoken languages.

This week, Reuters zoomed in a little bit further on the phenomenon of language loss, with a profile on Katrina Esau, the last known speaker of the N|uu language of South Africa. Reuters’ Catherin Schenk and Esa Alexander spoke with Esau and other experts on efforts to preserve the language.

The French-American Foundation’s 2023 Translation Prize Winners (via Publishing Perspectives)

You’ve probably already read an article or two about the Pulitzer Prize winners, who were announced earlier this week. But have you read up on this more translation-centric prize?

The French-American Foundation announced the six winners of its 36th annual Translation Prize, which honors the French-to-English translators of literary works in both fiction and nonfiction. The winning translators earned $10,000 for their work — read Publishing Perspectives’ news brief to learn more about the works that won.

Language watchdog on Bill 96: What place do we want to give French in our lives? (via the Montreal Gazette)

About a year after Québec adopted the controversial Bill 96 — which regulates and promotes the use of French in the public sphere — the Montreal Gazette’s Philip Authier spoke with the province’s first commissioner of the French language to learn a little bit more about how the government is working to reverse the language’s decline.

“If we do nothing, the temptation is always to just do everything in English,” Dubreuil told the Gazette. “So the question is what place do we want to give French in our lives?”

Achieving linguistic justice for African American English (via the Acoustical Society of the Americas)

African American English (AAE) has long been noted as a distinct dialect of the English language. According to Yolanda Holt, speech pathologists should better familiarize themselves with the differences between AAE and white American English, lest African American children be misdiagnosed with certain speech disorders. Holt presented her research into this topic on Wednesday.

“Accepting the speech and language used by each generation and each group of speakers is an acceptance of the individual, their life, and their experience,” Holt said. “Acceptance, not tolerance, is the next step in the march towards linguistic justice. For that to occur, we must learn from our speakers and educate our professionals that different can be typical. It is not always disordered.”

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