Endangered Languages in Museum

Dr. MJ Hardman hardman at UFL.EDU
Sat Aug 31 14:04:38 UTC 2013

This one I like very much.  I assume my former student, who is 'awakening'
Siriya, a language of Taiwan, is on this list, but JIC, I am copying him.
His metaphor of 'awaken' could easily be put into this one.  I just told my
husband about it -- he likes it very much also, and says of 'reviving' the
tree -- from the seeds left (old folks, if any, old texts surviving, old
recordings (which we have for Jaqaru and Kawki), plus any other information
available), or even from buried dormant roots.  Some weeds do this
consistently, after one has removed them.  The garden metaphor can work so
very well in so many ways.  I have used to metaphor in lectures to replace
metaphors of violence in English & found it works very well for that as
well.  This new use is lovely & we will plan to use it in our work.  Thank
you very much Christian Chiarcos.  MJ

On 8/31/13 4:57 AM, "Christian Chiarcos" <christian.chiarcos at WEB.DE> wrote:

> But, an alternative way of presentation could be the plant/garden
> metaphor. It is also used commercially, e.g., by busuu.com, and seems to
> be intuitively understandable:
> - a flourishing tree with words at its leaves and a few books beneath for
> something obviously vivid (for children in Germany, a joint presentation
> of German and, say, Turkish could be a good idea, and as an audio
> component, one may add a record of playing kids),
> - a tree stump along with stones, ruins and bones for something long gone
> and forgotten (you could take Latin, but Celtic might make more sense, in
> large parts of Germany, it had been the major language before Roman
> conquest and Germanic immigration, it is poorly documented, and there
> seems to be some interest in reconstructed "Gaulish" as part of the
> general pop culture. On the Continental Celtic list, the band Eluveitie
> was discussed a while ago, and their song Brictom [see
> http://eluveitie.ch/discography] whose text originates from authentic
> epigraphic record seems to be appropriate for children.)
> - in between a drought-strucken tree with words at its leaves, plus a pile
> of words fallen down already, maybe presented together with some
> culture-specific items, pictures and audio snippets. So, basically, the
> tree replaces the coffin.
> Of course, three installations require more space than one coffin (I guess
> the drought-strucken tree in isolation won't work), but they (or, at
> least, the other two) could be realized symbolically in small show cases,
> depending on your budget and space constraints.
> All the best,
> Christian
> NB: I guess Native American languages and cultures such as Margaret's
> Ojibwe data might work particularly well in Germany. If you are looking
> for an individual language that your audience will emphasize with
> immediately, you might be interested to know that the apparent mother
> tongue of Karl May's Winnetou, Mescalero-Chiricahua Apache is critically
> endangered  
> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mescalero-Chiricahua_Apache_language].
> On Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:35:25 +0200, Margaret Ann Noodin <noodin at uwm.edu>
> wrote:
>> Ah!  What a relief to hear others find the coffin scary.  I can see the
>> power of the metaphor but if this display is for children at your museum
>> I hope coffins are not familiar to them (as they might be for some
>> children in the world right now).
>> Have you considered the metaphor of the children themselves?  Or of
>> something comforting?  Maybe a rocking chair with words painted all over
>> it?  Or a swing with words entwined in the ropes that hold it up?  Or a
>> rocket ship to the stars built of panels with different phrases from
>> earth?
>> For any of those I would be happy to contribute something in
>> Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe).
>> Here is a poem of mine which is also a song. Feel free to use words,
>> lines or the entire poem. Let me know if you would like an MP3 of the
>> audio.
>> No matter what you do - keep us posted and thanks for sharing a concern
>> for languages with the public!
>> Waawaatese by Margaret Noodin
>> Aanii ezhi pagozi dibikgiizis? / How does moonlight taste?
>> Aanii ezhi noodin pagwad / How much does the wind weigh?
>> Aanii ezhi ezhichigeyaamba / What do I need to do
>> Ji-nsostaawaag waawaateseg / to understand the fireflies?
>> Jiimaanan ina n'ga pagadanan giizhigong / Throw kisses or canoes to
>> heaven?
>> Maage mikzhaweyaanh gdo'wiikweodenong / Or row to a heart's shore?
>> N'wii bodewaadiz gonemaa / Perhaps I will set myself alight
>> Miidash tonaanan shkodensan shpemsigong / then place the flames in the
>> sky
>> Anongziibike minajiwong dibikong / making a river flowing through night
>> Miidash wii baashkaazoying dibishko / where explosions echo
>> Zaagigaabaag ziigwaning. / the bursting leaves of Spring.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Peter Austin" <pa2 at SOAS.AC.UK>
>> Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:56:21 PM
>> Subject: Re: Endangered Languages in Museum
>> 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

Dr. MJ Hardman
Professor Emeritus
Linguistics, Anthropology and Latin American Studies
University of Florida
Doctora Honoris Causa UNMSM, Lima, PerĂº
website:  http://clas.ufl.edu/users/hardman/ 

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