The Cantonese-speaking heartland of southern China is also the country's most populous region. But Beijing still considers the region's native language of Cantonese to be a minority dialect, and now it wants Cantonese broadcasters to switch to Mandarin — but why now?
Despite her better judgment, New York-based Russian writer Anya Ulinich uses the web to seek out potential mates. She finds it all but impossible to interpret the profiles of American men, and they don't understand her any better.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants civil servants to communicate in Hindi. But when Indian-American writer Deepak Singh went home to India this summer, it seemed like everyone there wanted to speak English.
Tangier Island off the coast of Virginia seems on a march toward oblivion — in some areas, 15 to 16 feet of land are disappearing each year. Only 470 people live there now, but they have an old English dialect — marked by "backwards talk" — and a history of being home to freed slaves.
When a language goes extinct, it takes a wealth of knowledge about its local environment along with it. A new reports says that may be why languages and biodiversity are declining at similar rates around the world.