Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Of the approximately 6,000 existing languages in the world, around 40% are at risk. More than 200 have become extinct during the last three generations, 538 are critically endangered, 502 severely endangered, 632 definitely endangered and 607 unsafe. Among the languages that have recently become extinct are Manx (Isle of Man), which died out in 1974; Aasax (Tanzania), which disappeared in 1976; Ubykh (Turkey), in 1992; and Eyak (Alaska, United States of America), in 2008. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 2,000 languages are spoken, it is very probable that at least 10% of them will disappear in the next hundred years. India, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, countries which have great linguistic diversity, are also those which have the greatest number of endangered languages. However, the situation is not universally alarming. Papua New Guinea, the country which has the greatest linguistic diversity on the planet—more than 800 languages are believed to be spoken there—also has relatively few endangered languages (88). Furthermore, thanks to favorable linguistic policies, there has been an increase in the number of speakers of several indigenous languages.

Happy Wednesday! :)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

sabía usted que...

The symbol £ used for the pound sterling, the basic monetary unit of the United Kingdom, stands for the Latin word libra, the name of a Roman unit of weight. The word libra also gave rise to the abbreviation lb for a pound as a measure of weight. The currency sign is a capital letter L, written in old-fashioned roundhand, with one or two crossbars to show that it is being used as a symbol or abbreviation. The term pound sterling is derived from the fact that, about the year 775, silver coins known as "sterlings" were issued in the Saxon kingdoms, 240 of them being minted from a pound of silver, the weight of which was probably equal to the later troy pound. Hence large payments came to be reckoned in "pounds of sterlings," a phrase later shortened to "pounds sterling." After the Norman Conquest the pound was divided for accounting purposes into 20 shillings and into 240 pennies, or pence. On February 15, 1971, the pound sterling was officially decimalized into 100 new pence.

I know I didn´t!

Happy nerdy Wednesday!