Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Resurrecting a dead language

I just read this article on MSN about resurrecting a lost language from Virginian Indians. Pretty cool stuff, and I'm sure the story could have been expanded into a even more engaging and in-depth feature. I'm always fascinated with language in general. Probably me biggest regret of my current life is that I have little chance to use my Spanish, and I'd love to add some lesser known languages to those I speak or understand. In college I taught myself a bit of Catalan, and got to use that in Spain, though valenciano in Denia is a bit different from official Catalan. I briefly tried teaching myself Welsh, I think it was--I don't even remember, so clearly I didn't get far. Old English would be fun too, and I've memorized bits at times (Faeder ure, thu the aert on heofonum as well as lines of Beowulf that I forget now), but not much. And though I'd love to understand Tolkien's languages and have toyed around with books and websites, I never reached that level of fanaticism.

Some time ago I was interested in an organization that promoted endangered languages, and one of the interesting ideas they promoted was comparing linguistic diversity to biological diversity. It's a topic well worth a far more detailed exploration than I'm ready to give this morning on my blog...but as it combines my interest in language with my interest in preserving the environment, it's easy to how it would appeal to me. It always saddens me to see the people of a distinct ethnic group that no longer know the language their grandparents spoke...but by that token I guess I ought to go out and learn Frisian.

Ah, here's the organization, after following links from other sites: Terralingua. Check it out!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. It is a really interesting topic!

I got some of the links on my blogger site to work, but I've still got to fix some of them. :)

Cheers,
Dana

Daniel Ausema said...

Yeah, I find it fascinating :)

(looks like the two links that aren't working you have an extra http:// in there--2 instead of 1)