Endangered Languages in Museum

Brookes, Tim brookes at CHAMPLAIN.EDU
Sat Aug 31 21:11:57 UTC 2013

Dear Colleagues,
This is a very interesting discussion. To see a slightly different
approach to creating a visual embodiment of language erosion, you may want
to check out my work at http://www.endangeredalphabets.com. I'm always
open to comments and suggestions.
Tim Brookes

On 8/31/13 5:18 AM, "Anne Dykstra" <dykstraanne at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Hi there,
>There is a monument to dead languages at Vilnius University. Maybe you
>could use that for your museum?
>Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPad
>Op 31 aug. 2013 om 10:36 heeft "King, Dr Alexander D."
><a.king at ABDN.AC.UK> het volgende geschreven:
>> I find the coffin metaphor repulsive and offensive. I know that many of
>>my Koryak friends share that opinion because I have been talking to them
>>a lot about "language death" metaphors  versus shift and other terms. I
>>know other Koryaks, though, would agree that the language is "dying",
>>but those people tend to be purists, whose attitude does nothing to help
>>revitalization efforts.
>> Now is the time for those people in control of the terms of discourse,
>>such as this exhibition curator, to work harder to come up with more
>>imaginative metaphors to create a wider and more sophisticated public
>>discussion about language shift, revitalization and indigenous peoples.
>> Just getting the word out to ignorant elites in western Europe is not
>>food enough. It is bad politics.
>> Sincerely,
>> Alex King
>> (just back from Kamchatka, Russia)
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Aug 30, 2013, at 18:17, "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
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> --
>>> 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
>> The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No

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