The popular language press – a Germanic affair?

There are five popular magazines about language and linguistics in Europe that I’m aware of.

1178mAs a language writer based in the Netherlands, I myself am a regular contributor to Onze Taal (Our Language), the largest Dutch-language magazine of its sort, which is published ten times a year. It has a Belgian competitor, Over Taal (About Language), with a smaller readership, a lesser frequency (5 times a year) and, by the looks of it, a more modest budget. But truth be told, both make for great reading.

In Sweden, there is a similar publication titled Språktidningen (The Language Magazine), with eight issues a year. I haven’t seen the paper edition, but it has an excellent website and I love its motto, ‘In a word class of its own’. Germany has Deutsche Sprachwelt (German World of Language), a quarterly of – if I’m not mistaken – a  more purist bent. Onze Taal, Språktidningen and Deutsche Sprachwelt are all quite active on Twitter and I don’t hesitate to recommend following them, provided you understand the language they write in.

Last year, a new popular quarterly on linguistics, Babel, came out of Britain. I’ve only seen the first issue, which didn’t overly impress me, but it holds a lot of promise and I would definitely give it a fair crack of the whip and subscribe to it if only there was a digital edition. As it is, the postage makes it – to my Dutch mind anyway – disproportionately expensive.

Now that makes five language magazines intended for a non-specialist audience, and they’re all from the Germanic world, if I may use the term in this context. There is nothing in French, Spanish or Italian, no Polish publication, no Macedonian magazine, not a single Russian rag. Or to put it more accurately: none that I know of. But surely there must be? I mean, the huge Romance and Slavic chunks of this continent can’t be getting along without anything of this sort whatsoever?

So if you’ve come across something like Språktidningen or Babel in Portugal, Romania, Hungary, no matter where – could you please let me know? I’d be much obliged.

UPDATE: In Norway, the Språkråd (Language Council) publishes the quarterly Språknytt (Language News). Which does nothing, of course, to alleviate the dearth of popular language magazines outside the Germanic world.

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