Archive for the ‘media’ 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.

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Renata Flores sings pop music in Quechua

18 August 2015

Renata Flores Rivera sings Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and the Animals’s “The House of the Rising Sun” in Quechua (que):


Also, see her YouTube page at Renata Flores Rivera and subscribe.

Pali in opera

19 May 2013

Siddhārtha Gautama, the most well known buddha, lived around the fifth century BCE. It is believed that he spoke an Indo-Aryan dialect, such as Pali (pli). Pali is also the language of many early Buddhist scriptures and the Ethnologue says there are nine second-language speakers of Pali.

In the mid-nineteenth century, opera great Richard Wagner discovered Buddhism and began work on “Die Sieger,” which incorporated Buddhist legends.

Next month, an opera titled “Wagner Dream,” an opera by Jonathan Harvey about the last day in the life of Wagner and “Die Sieger.”

While the character Wagner and other Europeans will perform in German, the Buddhist characters will sing in Pali, the words having been translated from English.

Read more in “Wagner opera to be revived in a dead language.”

Cree broadcast wins journalism award

11 May 2013

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, has dozens of locations in Canada and around the world, including CBC North, which provides TV and radio broadcasts in languages such as Chipewyan (chp), Cree (cre), Dogrib (dgr), Gwich’in (gwi), Inuktitut (ike), Inuvialuk (ikt), North Slavey (scs) and South Slavey (xsl).

This past weekend, the Canadian Association of Journalists held their annual conference, including an awards ceremony. Among the winners was the episode “Breaking the mold,” broadcast on the Cree-language Maamuitaau program.

Learn more in the article “Serving Canada’s north – excellence in 8 aboriginal languages” on the Editor’s Blog of CBC News.

May you walk with great power – Navajo and “Star Wars”

9 May 2013

The 1977 hit movie “Star Wars” is set to debut in Navajo (nav) on July 4.

In a collaboration between the Navajo Nation Museum and Lucasfilm, the new release will include English subtitles.

Translating popular films to Native American languages is rare, though it has happened with the “Berenstain Bears” (Lakota (lkt)) and “Bambi” (Arapaho (arp)).

Read more about this exciting development in “Luke Skywalker goes Navajo: ‘Star Wars’ gets a new translation.”

Reviving Barngarla from 19th century dictionary

7 May 2013

Once spoken in South Australia, Barngarla (bjb) is making a comeback from written records and elders’ memories.

The awakening of the language is being led by the Chair of Endangered Languages at Adelaide University, Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who has vowed to make Adelaide a center of language revitalization.

The primary source for words is a dictionary written in the 1840s. Read more about the reawakening of Barngarla in “Pride and identity: Reviving Indigenous languages” and “Australia’s unspeakable indigenous tragedy.” Read about Ghil’ad Zuckermann in “Endangered languages have a new champion.”

Soillse researcher seeks Gaelic speakers

26 April 2013

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (wiki) is a university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees using Scottish Gaelic (gla) as the language of instruction. Located on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was founded in 1971 and hosts Soillse, a research network for the maintenance and revitalization of Gaelic.

As a Soillse researcher, Cassie Smith-Christmas is tracing the path of the language as it developed during the 1940s and 50s, when migration occurred due to evacuation and boarding-out. She is seeking people who can speak with her about the language aspects of that period. To find out more about her project and for her contact information, see “Global Gaelic explored through evacuee experiences.”

Interview with Alexa Little

25 April 2013

Last November, Valerie Richardson of radio station WPKN interviewed Alexa Little, an undergraduate at Yale University who has been intensely interested in endangered languages for years. She is currently an undergraduate at Yale University where she works with Mark Turin, director of the World Oral Literature Project.

Read more about Alexa Little on this blog in the article “Two Tales of Endangered Language Passion.”

Video by Dana Corn

24 April 2013

Dana Corn makes the case for revitalizing languages in the video “Endangered Language Project” and includes mention of the Endangered Languages Project.

App for collecting oral literature

24 April 2013

If you have enough of a source language and accompanying translation, you can piece back together vital parts of a language if a time comes when it is no longer spoken. Collecting that data can be hard work, however.

To address the difficulties of collecting oral language, Language Preservation 2.0 (lp20) has created Aikuma, a free app for Android smartphones that linguists and community members themselves can use to record language with a function to stop along the way and provide a translation.

Read more about the app, and about Tembé/Tenetehára (tqb) and Usarufa (usa), in the article “Recording the world’s vanishing voices.”