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The erasure of Tibet, the Kalassmai language and Japanese onomatopoeia

In the ruins of the ancient capital of the Hittites, Hattusa (now Boğazköy) in Turkey, approximately 30,000 documents on clay tablets, complete and composed of fragments, were found. Scientists found, among others, traces of a previously unknown Middle Eastern language that was lost for 3,000 years. It is the Kalasmai language – according to archaeologists, it was spoken by people from the area called Kalasma in the Hittite Empire. In addition to the official Hittite language, government scribes also used the minority languages of the Luwians, Palaians, and Hattians of Anatolia and the Hurrians of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Hittite language is the oldest attested Indo-European language.

In official English-language references, the Chinese government is gradually abandoning the name “Tibet” in favour of the region’s Chinese name, “Xizang.” According to experts, it is in line with China’s policy of erasing Tibetan culture. Tibetan children are placed in boarding schools where the curriculum is based almost entirely on Mandarin, and the learning is based on the culture and experiences of China’s Han ethnic majority.

To help visitors navigate the onomatopoeic-rich Japanese language, volunteers from Mie Prefecture on the island of Honshu have developed a guide to commonly used onomatopoeic words. The book contains terms that can be used in everyday situations, such as visiting a doctor. You may then hear about a throbbing ankle (zuki zuki), a throbbing headache (gan gan), an insect bite (piri piri) or a scratchy throat (muzu muzu).

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