Micronations and their national languages


What is a micronation? Maybe some people think of small countries like San Marino or Andorra. No, those are too big. A micronation can be as small as 186 square meters, as the Barony of Caux, surrounded by the city of Toronto, Canada. Or even smaller. One of them is even mobile.

There are several dozens of micronations. In the tourist guide “Micronations. The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations” many of them are dealt with, including just as many shortlived ones. The cover contains a warning: REAL PEOPLE. REAL PLACES. 100% TRUE. The copy in my possession is from 2006. It has not been updated or reprinted since. Below you can find links to uptodate information about most of …

Free Ukrainian! Special linguistic operation for the Ukraine: Free Ukranian-Danish-Ukrainian dictionary for displaced Ukrainians and their helpers.

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(див. український текст нижче)

When I visited an old friend, a farmer, in the countryside, he told me that he had given a safe haven in his farmhouse to a couple of Ukrainians who had fled the violence in their homecountry. The ladies and their families were very happy with their new place. In the meantime, they have moved on to Horsens and Hammel.

The challenge was, that my friend and the Ukrainians could not communicate with each other, because they had no language in common. The Ukrainians only spoke Ukrainian. It is an illusion that “everybody” speaks English. I estimate that one in 30 of the refugees speak some (some) English.

Then I thought: there is a task for …

The dictionary game: for learning and entertainment

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The dictionary game is an entertaining board game and it costs nothing. That is, if you already have a dictionary, sheets of paper that are blank on at least one side, and a number of pens / pencils, so that everyone has a sheet of paper and something to write with.

I’ve played it with between six and eighteen people. You play individually, and it may be less important who wins, than about having fun.

The game is simple. You take a dictionary from your bookshelf in a language that everyone knows, or a language that no one knows, but then it should be a bilingual dictionary, preferably in both directions. It is usually played with a (not too elementary) …

Sietze Norder and languishing languages and islands

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As a co-author of a recently published article on languages on islands, I was delighted to learn that there was a biologist who had written a book on islands in which he also wrote something about languages. The author of the book is called Sietze Norder.

I was even more delighted to learn that this researcher was now part of the research group of linguist Rik “Enrique” van Gijn in Leiden. At the end of the 1990s, Rik van Gijn was in Aarhus for half a year to write his thesis on the sound systems of mixed languages, for which he had sought my expertise. Van Gijn is now working at the University of Leiden on the languages ​​of …

My favorite popularizing book about linguistics (after “Limits of Language”, that is)

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Language myths, mysteries and magic.

by Karen Stollznow. 269 pages. Price: too expensive.

Palgrave MacMillan 2014.


Originally, I bought this book in a sale, in order to hand it over to the people behind Linguistic Mythbusters. A book with such a title would contribution to their mission to debunk widespread but untrue ideas about languages. The book has “language myths” in the title, so it should fit their turf. But I thought, I will read it myself first. And while I was reading it, I thought, I am going to keep it for myself, it is too good to give away. In the meantime, it also appeared to me that Linguistic Mythbusters’ activity level was so low, that …

Irish Travellers and their Language

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Now I must begin with a confession: I have never been to Ireland and I do not personally know any Irish Travellers, but I have always been fascinated by their language. I know that there are some every year in my hometown in Denmark, and most often they are heading north with their caravans. I once saw, on my way to work, a group at Tangkrogen in Aarhus, but when I came back they were gone. As far as I understood, they were sent away by the police.

Irish Travellers are a minority ethnic group.  This status was recognised by the Irish State on 1st March 2017.  The Equal Status Act refers to Irish Travellers in the following way: “Traveller …

A dybtgoing study af nisse-engelsk

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Fra today, you can gense ‘The Julekalender’ on TV2 Charlie! So we bringer an indlæg about the nissers fictive sprog, which is a blanding of engelsk and Danish!

Margaret J. Blake skrev en article i 2007 om nisse-engelsk, som never blev publiceret. She kaldte her study, which she skrev in English, Just what I skut til to say! A description and analysis of NisseEngelsk, a Danish-English Mixed Language. Det er et meget scholarly værk, which toke her three kvart year to skrive.

She læste ikke mindre end sixty articles and bøgs. Manuskriptet is on 125 sider. Og de whole teksts of the three speakers Hansi, Gynter og Frits er analyseret. Optagelserne er from 1991, og of good kvalitet. …