Brexit may threaten the many minority languages of Britain

June 22nd, 2016 by The Cornish language has come back from the dead. Once officially branded “extinct” by the UN, the language, spoken primarily in Cornwall in Southwest England, was upgraded to “endangered” in 2010. Cornish may have come back, but its situation remains precarious. Ethnologue, a research project that catalogs the world’s languages, says that there are “no known” speakers of Cornish as a first language, though it mentions an “emerging” population of second-language speakers. Now, advocates of minority languages in the UK and Europe are warning that a British exit from the EU, or “Brexit,” could remove what little support Cornish and its linguistic counterparts already have. Voters in Britain go to the polls tomorrow (June 23) to decide whether to remain or leave the EU. “The indirect effect of Brexit on our languages is potentially disastrous,” reads a joint letter signed by representatives of various minority languages in the UK, including Welsh, Scots, Irish, and Cornish. The letter is backed by the European Language Equality Network, a non-profit group that campaigns to protect Europe’s less-spoken languages. Read more: Quartz

The Origins of 9 Royal Nicknames

August 20th, 2015 by Many of Britain’s most famous monarchs are remembered by some nickname or soubriquet that has either long outlived them, or else has been bestowed on them posthumously by later historians. William I will forever be known as “William The Conqueror.” His red-headed son and successor William II was “William Rufus.” Both Edward VI and Henry VI were known as “The Boy King,” because they were just 9 years old and 9 months old, respectively, when they ascended to the throne. And while Elizabeth I was famously “The Virgin Queen,” her sister Mary I’s brutal treatment of anti-Catholic dissenters led her to become “Bloody Mary.” But many royal nicknames aren’t quite as straightforward as these. King Henry I, for instance, was known as “Henry Beauclerc,” meaning “good-scholar”—a reference to his good education and love of learning. His grandson, Henry II, was nicknamed “Curtmantle,” apparently for his preference for hunting in short-trimmed jackets. And as well as being called “The King of the Sea” (more on that in a moment), Edward III was just as well known in his time as “Edward The Bankrupt,” after he defaulted on two personal loans in 1340, and thereby bankrupted two wealthy Florentine family banks. The origins of nine more royal nicknames, from the medieval period to the early 20th century, are explained here. Read more: Mental Floss