Archive for the ‘language modernization’ Category

A YouTube Channel as Part of an Ecosystem – Old English

2 November 2015

Old English (ang) is the oldest form of English (eng), one that developed when Germanic tribes settled in Great Britain around the fifth century. As a convenience, OE is considered to have given way to Middle English (enm) in 1066 when William the Conqueror successfully invaded Great Britain, making French (fra) the language of the rulers and resulting in a mixture of French and OE. (There are scholars who take the view that Middle English derives instead from Scandinavian languages resulting from the Viking incursions.)

Although the grammar is very different from Modern English, because many of the core words are the same or similar, Old English is relatively easy for English speakers today to learn, and interest in OE has grown in recent years.

Among the resources available are an OE version of Wikipedia, which includes terms for modern concepts and things created to fit the OE vocabulary. For example, Modern English is called “Nīwenglisc” and an automobile is called a “selffērende wægn.” Also, among the thousands (or tens of thousands) of vocabulary sets on Memrise (a computer flash card website/mobile app) is an Old English set of 86 words with sound.

Another resource is YouTube channels, where a channel is a sub-webpage on YouTube providing videos, playlists, discussion and other information. One is Leornende Eald Englisc (Learning Old English), a channel created by Kevin with nearly 700 subscribers. Although his channel is now dormant, his subscribers have left messages encouraging him to come back when his alternative reality (real life) is less stressful.

With more than a year of videos posted, Kevin has created playlists, which are groupings of videos classified by topic such as pronunciation and discussion. Creating videos can be labor-intensive due to the preparation and editing required, which often discourages YouTubers. Many of Kevin’s videos, however, such as those in the Old English Pronunciation Guide and Old English Pronunciation guides are merely three or four seconds, which shows how easy it can be to make useful additions to a video collection without a lot of work.

Another of his playlists is Discussion, which has three videos on: whether OE is Scandinavian, how Kevin became interested in OE, and reviving OE as a living language.

YouTube also provides links to other OE YouTube channels, and Kevin has links to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

Kevin’s project shows how videos can provide information, and how playlists can make it easy to develop a number of areas of linguistic interest, creating a node in a linguistic revival ecosystem with crosslinks to build the community.

Development of a Māori-English dictionary of legal terms

13 July 2012

Te Kaupapa Reo-a-Ture or the Legal Māori Project was established in 2008 to develop a glossary of legal terms in Māori (mri) and English to aid Māori speakers. The dictionary is scheduled to be issued at the end of this year.

During the term of the project, an interesting turn in New Zealand linguaculture has occurred: The  Waitangi Tribunal of New Zealand announced that the Crown has become Māori, a “reality” that must be grasped.

Read more in “Making a Legal Dictionary for an Indigenous Language: The Legal Maori Dictionary.”

Literature and vocabulary development in Zulu

8 May 2012

Zulu (zul), or isiZulu as the language is known in Zulu, is by no means endangered. With more than 10 million speakers and status as an official language of South Africa, Zulu is a vibrant, thriving language. Indeed, in November 2010, a Zulu edition of South Africa’s Daily Times was launched (“Sunday Times to print Zulu edition“).

But to Oxford graduate and contributors to the Zulu edition, Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi, Zulu lacks an adequate literature. He has launched Mbuyazi Publishing to rectify that and has three books so far (either published in the publishing process).

In addition to writing those three books, Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi has also developed an alternative numbering system for Zulu and introduced some 450 words to the language.

News on Indigenous Tweets blog

18 May 2011

In addition to helping people finding tweeters in lesser-used languages on Indigenous Tweets, Kevin Scannell has a blog by the same name. (A tweet is a very short message sent out instantaneously to subscribers’ cell phones and posted on the web.)

According to “Interviews Coming Soon,” Indigenous Tweets has added 11 languages, bringing the total to 82. Some of those include languages recently discussed here, namely, Adyghe (ady), Delaware (del) and Yiddish (yid).

Another exciting post is “Not dead yet: John Gillingham on the Cornish Language.” As noted, Cornish (cor) is a language spoken in southwest England, and despite being one of the first victims to the expansion of English, Cornish has nevertheless survived.

The post is primarily an interview of John Gillingham, a student of the decline of Cornish who tweets in the language. He says that there are a couple dozen children raised in Cornish and discusses how disagreements about orthography (spelling) hindered the Cornish revitalization movement in the past.

Another topic discussed is the modernization of Cornish. In order to maintain the interest of particularly younger people, words have been developed for modern technology, and are spread through various media such as books, dictionaries, magazines and radio.