Curses, illiteracy in Bolivia and languages in Great Britain
According to researchers at the University of London, when we try to make a curse less offensive, we introduce what is known as approximation, meaning that consonants pronounced more harshly are replaced by consonants pronounced in a softer way. A classic example is the English word darn being replaced by the word damn. This pattern exists in such distantly related languages as Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean and Russian. In addition, it occurs among speakers of several different languages, which also points to the possible universality of softening curses through the use of more subtle sounds.
A generation back almost ¼ of Bolivians could not read or write. Most of the school-age youth had to work or could not afford the cost of education. Therefore, as part of the government-sponsored literacy programme “Bolivia Reads”, more than 20,000 senior citizens and seniors, mostly women from low-income rural communities, had just learned to read and write. The learning also included the construction of solar greenhouses and, along with a diploma, each graduate received a gift of two chickens from the city of Pucarani to raise.
According to the 2021 census, the most popular languages in England and Wales, apart from English, were Polish ((1.1% of the population, 612,000 people), Romanian (0.8%), Punjabi (0.5%) and Urdu (0.5%). In contrast, the number of Welsh speakers has fallen by 2.2% (currently 538,000 people aged 3 and over). One reason for this is the lower number of Welsh speakers aged 3 to 15 years old.