OT Fwd: Endangered Alphabets (perhaps some of us can help)
hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 23:34:39 UTC 2011
Please overlook any cros-posting, given that this has its origin at
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brookes, Tim <brookes at champlain.edu>
Date: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 4:19 PM
Subject: Endangered Alphabets Update
To: ENDANGERED-LANGUAGES-L at listserv.linguistlist.org
Dear fellow writers, linguists, anthropologists and scholars in general all
across the planet:
You may recall I recently made an appeal on behalf of my Endangered
Alphabets Project (see http://www.endangeredalphabets.com). To my great
delight and gratitude, I heard back from people all over the world, and I¹m
pleased to say that I may have found collaborators who can help me with
Balinese, Javanese, Tai Dam, and Maldivian.
In addition, I¹ve heard from people with connections to Manchu and Nushu,
though it¹s not yet clear whether these will lead me to someone who can
actually read and write those traditional scripts.
As a bonus, I¹ve even heard from people who know scripts I¹d never even
heard of: Mro and Eskayan.
Here are the scripts that are eluding me:
And of course I¹m always pleased to hear about writing systems that are off
my (and Omniglot¹s) map.
And also, here¹s an update on what the next phase of the project will
consist of. I¹m now starting a similar carving project whose aim once again
is to draw attention to the world¹s vanishing scripts.
I've written a short, simple poem about the importance of preserving
endangered languages in their spoken and written forms. It goes like this:
Â These are our words, shaped
Â By our hands, our tools,
Â Our history. Lose them
Â And we lose ourselves.
If I manage, with your help, to get this poem translated in 16 endangered
scripts, I plan to build a sculpture that consists of four tall pieces of
beautiful maple wood, each facing toward a different point of the compass.
Each face of the sculpture will display the poem in four endangered
alphabets, assuming I can round up the full 16. This sculpture will then go
on permanent exhibition in a major public building in the United States or,
actually, anywhere in the world<a library, perhaps. Open to suggestions on
that front, too.
For this to happen, though, I need to be in touch with people who can read
and write these disappearing scripts well enough to be able to translate a
short text for me.
If you happen to be able to read and write in one or more of the above
scripts and are interested in joining me in this project by translating the
poem, please contact me at brookes at champlain.edu. Needless to say, I¹ll
credit you in all written materials.
If you think you may know of someone else who may be able to help, please
forward this appeal to him or her.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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