As part of Pedal Powered Anthropology’s ongoing efforts to bridge sociocultural and scientific issues with the public understanding, the sights over here have been turned to language endangerment.
Language endangerment is a fairly horrifying phenomenon. It occurs for a variety of reasons, notably the effects of colonialism as well as the rising popularity of a regional language. Whether a colonial power effectively bans a given language, or a less-popular language is kind of displaced by a more-popular one, languages all over the world suffer from endangerment.
The Endangered Languages Project states that approximately 40% of the world’s 7,000 languages are “at risk of disappearing.”
Here at Pedal Powered Anthropology, work is being done to compile resources to learn individual endangered languages, as well as to build language revitalization projects.
Starting with Native Hawaiian, we are going to see how far this takes us.
We will be learning the language, the culture, and its history. We are building a community of people who are enthusiastic about learning and helping one another to learn. On a daily basis there is interaction in the facebook group where we set goals and share resources. I’ll be keeping a blog with “lessons” to help people move along through aspects of vocabulary and grammar that got me or some of us stuck.
I’ll be posting short video lessons where audio and video aspects will help with learning. The alphabet is a good example.
And lastly, Julie and I will be recording a podcast that reflects on what we’ve learned about the language and culture. Episodes will be posted monthly and will talk about the difficulties and surprises we’ve run into. The idea is to help smooth the way for new learners through showing our progress in real time.
Then, we can just pull the whole skeleton of the project out, and use it to put together revitalization materials for another language.
The ultimate goal?
Well I would absolutely love to build a small community of people who are enthusiastic about linguistics and language revitalization. I eventually want to be posting video content on general topics within anthropology in the Hawaiian language with English subtitles.
Over the next few years, I would like to do the same with two other languages, if not more. I’d also like to get others involved to spearhead their own revitalization projects.
This project may come as a bit of a departure to some of you. Those who assumed I was an Industrial historian seemed confused by Pedal for Pongo. But Pedal Powered Anthropology is a public anthropology platform that is greatly invested in all things four fields. Linguistics is just due up for a major project, and so here we go.
ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi —A brief introduction to Hawaiian history and the transition to a written language. This post covers the alphabet and a few grammatical rules.
The Weird World of Word Order—or—The Tip of the Iceberg —Some basic linguistic concepts help us understand the confusing word orders we run into when learning a new language.
He polalauahi i kēia lā—It’s Voggy Today.–Some new Hawaiian wound up teaching me some new English vocabulary, and what insights that gives us into how language shapes our understanding of the world around us.
Let’s Get Down to Business!!–A month in, it’s time to compile and share what we’ve learned.
Hawaiian Language Revitalization Project Introduction— The official welcome and thank you video for the language revitalization project. A brief overview of what language endangerment is, what language revitalization is, why we chose the Native Hawaiian language, and we hope to accomplish through this project. Follow the link or stream directly below.
The Hawaiian Alphabet—The first actually instructional video of the Anthrospin Hawaiian Language Revitalization Project, this short video goes over the Hawaiian alphabet (minus the diphthongs), including ‘okina and the kahakō. Click on the link or stream directly below.