Off topic: You are what you speak...
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Feb 20, 2007

This is not really off topic at all, but it's way off the boring contract I'm translating...

... and the usual instructions about how to watch paint dry.

There's food for thought here if you have the time and patience to read it!

-- sorry, everyone - I forgot this was not one of the free articles.
It discusses how different languages focus on different things like the age and gender of teh speaker and person being spoken to, the form and material of artefacts and tools, and what happens when you read books, stories and newspaper reports in translation.

I'm afraid it would be an infringement of copyright to cut and paste the whole thing here.

There's a shorter article here:

So keep working at all your wonderful languages, folks, and don't just go over to global English!

And just imagine trying to programme CATs for all those languages

[Edited at 2007-02-20 15:04]

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:26
German to English
+ ...
Vanishing Voices by David Nettle Feb 20, 2007

I read a book about this subject once - I believe it was Vanishing Voices by David Nettle. Another good one is Spoken Here by Mark Abley, although he doesn't focus specifically on the ecological aspect.

Again, this was a while ago, but in one of these books the impact of losing Australian languages on knowledge of plants and animals was discussed. The latter book also covers Native American languages, including one that has a men's language and a women's language. Very interesting. I have often thought that in the future a valuable use of my retirement years would be to work on preserving a dying language.

[Edited at 2007-02-20 19:52]

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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:26
English to French
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Thanks very much Feb 20, 2007

I found it interesting!

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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:26
English to Hungarian
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Interesting aspect of language disappearance Feb 24, 2007

It reminded me of a few volumes of books my father used to have a long time ago, - dedicated to the vocabulary of various ancient country activities, fishing, animal husbandry, various trades, etc. with illustrations. They were fascinating.
I dare say, 80% of those words have disappeared from use within a hundred years or so, in spite of the language in question is still alive and kicking, enriched by the language of the late 20th and early 21st century's preoccupations.
So it is not only the imminently endangered languages, with which this loss is irreversible.

Made me think a lot, but I am not going to bore you with it all.

Thanks, Christine, for giving me this insight.

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