Endangered Languages in Museum

Lena Terhart lena.terhart at GMX.DE
Fri Aug 30 10:54:12 UTC 2013

you may be right that a coffin is not very creative nor very sensitive towards speakers of endangered languages, especially the ones who take effort to revitalise their languages, BUT
- the whole exhibition is about language and not language endangerment or language diversity, it is mostly based on German word plays, rhymes etc.
- and I suppose that 99.9% of the visitors have never ever heard about endangered languages
- therefore, we need one strong metaphor that is understandable for children from 5 years on without too much explaining text
Language revitalisation is definitely worth mentioning and representing, but it is only a consequence of languages dying or languages that cease to be spoken if you prefer to put it like that.
Robert Amery proposed to exhibit a phoenix together with the coffin to represent language revitalisation. I like that idea and will propose it to the ones in charge of the exhibition. I am also open to other ideas, but the final conception of the exhibition is planned for next week already.

Am 30.08.2013 um 06:56 schrieb Peter Austin:

> Will there be a day when this death and dying metaphor can be put to rest? A coffin? My goodness, can't we be a little bit more creative? And a little bit more sensitive?
> How about sharing some lessons from communities working to revitalise their languages? There are lots of games, apps and other fun interactive things for kids to do that are freely available on the internet now. Put a nice package of them together and sensitise the kids to how languages are threatened but communities are responding to strengthen their languages. You could start by looking at www.firstvoices.com and moving on from there.
> That's my 2p worth.
> Peter Austin
> On Friday, 30 August 2013, Lena Terhart <lena.terhart at gmx.de> wrote:
> > Dear Colleagues,
> >
> > the UNIKATUM children's museum in Leipzig, Germany, is preparing an exhibition on language (http://www.kindermuseum-unikatum.de/papperlapapp.html in German). I thought it would be nice to present language endangerment as part of the exhibition and together with the responsible people of the museum, we are now thinking about one exhibit, probably a coffin that shall be filled with words that may die out.
> >
> > In order to present a big variety of endangered languages, I would like to ask you to contribute with
> > - a list of max. 5 words in the endangered language (basic vocabulary, something that may be interesting for children, e.g. animals, plants, natural phenomena, or maybe also simple verbs)
> > - in the orthographic convention you use
> > - together with a translation
> > - and some basic info about the geographic location and number and age of speakers or alternatively a link to your website where I can find the information
> >
> > Additionally, photographs of the speakers and/or environment could be very nice, and ideally also recordings of the words (MP3), but that is not a requisite - I know that the search for individual words and cutting process may be too time-consuming.
> >
> > The mounting of the exhibition will start on the 16th of september already so that I need the word lists until the 13th latest.
> >
> > Thanks!
> > Lena
> >
> -- 
> Prof Peter K. Austin
> Marit Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics
> Director, Endangered Languages Academic Programme
> Research Tutor and PhD Convenor
> Department of Linguistics, SOAS
> Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
> London WC1H 0XG
> United Kingdom
> web: http://www.hrelp.org/aboutus/staff/index.php?cd=pa

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