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Introducing Babel...

Maggio 2013
Una rivista linguistica. In inglese, sull’inglese e sulle lingue in generale. Ecco che cos’è Babel. David Crystal, il suo ideatore, ce ne parla.

di Mark Worden


David Crystal
David Crystal

If you are a Speak Up reader, this probably means that you want to improve your English, but if you are interested in languages and linguistics in general, you might want to take a look at Babel, “the language magazine.” A trial issue was published (for free) last November and the editorial staff, who are based at the University of Huddersfield in England, are waiting to see how readers react before deciding what to do next. There’s certainly plenty of interesting material in the first issue. In the “Language News” section we learn that “The Queen’s English Society,” an organisation dedicated to the promotion of “proper” English, decided to close, after only 22 people attended its annual general meeting. There’s also a feature about the evolution of English accents around the world, and some advice on “Politeness in Chinese.”


Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

If you’re interested in languages and linguistics, then you should take a look at a new magazine called Babel. David Crystal, the author of a number of acclaimed books, talks about the project: 

David Crystal (Standard British accent)

Back in the 1970s I felt there was a real need for a popular magazine on the subject of language. I look around me… looked around me in those days and saw History Today, for example, you know, a popular magazine, academically serious, but popular, that anybody reading history would pick up on a bookshelf… on a bookshop, you know, W.H. Smith’s would sell History Today on railway stations and things like this, and I thought “Why isn’t there a language magazine?” And I tried to float one at that time, and failed, although an English-teaching magazine did come out of it, called English Today, but that was still rather upmarket, in academic terms, it wasn’t the really popular, full-colour, glossy picture... magazine that I’d hoped would appear. Anyway, finally, in the, you know, 13 years in, 12 years into the new millennium, one has appeared from a team at the University of Huddersfield in England, and it’s called Babel. And its first issue came out in November last year. Here’s a copy of it, a nice, full-colour magazine, open it up and it’s got articles, reviews, on topics of interest to do with English, other languages, the languages of the world and language in general. That’s just a pilot issue, the first proper issue, which is about twice the size, has come out recently – I’m speaking in March 2013 – I expect they’ll do about four issues a year, and this seems to fill an enormous gap in the market. I believe subscriptions are building up very healthily, it will take a while for the magazine to become widely known, but I would certainly recommend it to anybody who has an interest in languages, and language as a phenomenon and, of course, anybody who’s interested in the English language in particular will find a great deal of... of interest in it. So I’m delighted to see this publication. I… I have a… I have no formal role in it, other than I act as a kind of consultant. I don’t get involved in the editing at all, but I’m very impressed with the way that the team have taken this magazine on board.

(David Crystal was talking to Mark Worden).

For more about Babel, go to: http://www.babelzine.com/

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