Treasure language

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A talk at Charles Darwin University by Steven Bird:

With thousands of languages in danger of disappearing, should we redouble our efforts to "save" them? Or could we open ourselves to the stories, lives, and world views of the people who speak the smaller languages around us? Steven Bird, computer scientist and linguist, draws on unconventional sources of wisdom to suggest concrete actions for us to take, and inspires us to believe we can alter the future course of language evolution.

Steven has journeyed to some of the remotest places in Africa, Melanesia, Central Asia, and Amazonia to record speakers of the world's treasure languages. He is visiting Darwin, a hot spot of linguistic diversity and language endangerment, to explore new ways to keep languages strong. Steven has held academic positions at the universities of Edinburgh, Pennsylvania, Melbourne, and Berkeley. He is currently a visiting professor at Charles Darwin University.



12 Comments

  1. Coby Lubliner said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 9:02 am

    Is there a transcript of this talk available? I could barely hear it.

  2. Bart said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 9:57 am

    Even apart from audibility a transcript is much more convenient than a video of a lecture

  3. Keith said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 6:11 pm

    Minor correction: it is Charles Darwin University, not Darwin University.

  4. Cynic said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 8:03 pm

    It is instructive to look at the adjacent article on the Chinese creating digital versions of hitherto undigitised characters. The comments below that article are largely hostile.

    The message apprears to be that language preservation efforts are fine provided the language being preserved is not Chinese.

  5. David Marjanović said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

    The message apprears to be that language preservation efforts are fine provided the language being preserved is not Chinese.

    I recommend the post right before this one.

    Also, it appears that you've confused language and script…

  6. flow said,

    October 28, 2016 @ 6:58 am

    @the two posts above—but it's right, the weather over at the other article is unbecoming. It is far from being a friendly and fair discussion.

  7. Ellen Kozisek said,

    October 28, 2016 @ 11:18 am

    @Cynic
    I would argue that preserving a language and preserving a writing system are not the same thing.

  8. J.P.Elou said,

    October 28, 2016 @ 6:11 pm

    "I would argue that preserving a language and preserving a writing system are not the same thing."

    So if every "treasure language" loses its writing system and moves to using Ge'ez as it's script, nothing is lost ?

  9. Bathrobe said,

    October 29, 2016 @ 12:51 am

    I find Bird's talk inspiring in the way it dares the listener to break away from monolingualism, something that seems difficult to conceive of in modern nation states with their powerful state-sponsored languages and satisfaction with the status quo.

    It's a pity the comments have been hijacked by people unhappy about the other thread. I don't think they have much in common.

  10. Ellen K. said,

    October 29, 2016 @ 9:07 am

    @J.P.Elou
    No, not what I said or implied.

  11. Rodger C said,

    October 29, 2016 @ 10:47 am

    Actually everybody should be using 'Phags-pa.

  12. Graeme said,

    November 3, 2016 @ 8:51 am

    Old meets new, in desperation. (From Australia's Northern Territory)

    https://www.sbs.com.au/mygrandmotherslingo/

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