FYI: two articles

joseph tomei jtomei at
Thu Mar 28 04:47:26 UTC 1996

Wanted to pass on two articles on aspects of endangered languages for those
of you keeping biblios of this sort of thing.

The first is from 6 January 96 New Scientist entitled 'Languages on Death
Row: who needs cultural diversity'. On the whole, a very unsatisfying
article. It begins with a good intro of the situation, but then veers into
a discussion of Mark Pagel's theories on the relationship between
biological diversity and language diversity and the suggestion that languae
may change the structure of the brain.

But what real left a sour taste in my mouth was the photos of a Papuan New
Guinea group in mudmasks and of an pair of African women from the group
which places the wooden plates in their lower lips (The caption says 'Many
Ethiopian languages are spoke by no more than a handful of people', but is
this group from ethiopia?) The inference I took was that dying languages
were the problem of groups that were not the equals to modern civilization.

The 2nd article is from Wired Aug 95 entitled 'How do you say computer in
Hawaiian' which discusses Leokii, 'A Hawaiian-language bulletin board
system that is one of the first BBSes set up to teach a Native American
language'. For those of you interested in things like this, it mentions
that the some of the startup equipment was donated by Apple Library of

Aloha and a hui ho.

Joseph Tomei
Hokkaido University,Institute of Language and Culture
S317 Kyoyobu, N17 W8, Kita-ku
Sapporo 001 JAPAN
fax: (81) 11-736-2861
jtomei at
"Anyone who isn't confused isn't well-informed."

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