Yaygirr, an aboriginal language previously considered extinct, has been documented in a new dictionary and grammar guide which elders hope will revive the language.
The Muurrbay Aboriginal Language Centre in New South Wales has been working with Yaegl elders for six years, documenting and researching the language. The book includes a comprehensive listing of almost 100o words with recommended spelling and phonetic assistance, as well as a guide to the grammar.
Yaegl man and TAFE teacher David Prosser would like to see language classes at the North Coast TAFE Maclean campus, and develop students into teachers so the language is passed on and continues.
Listen to Yaygirr here.
At Jungle Island Zoo, in Miami, orangutans are learning how to communicate with zookeepers via iPads. The devices are used by the orangutans to demonstrate what they want to eat for lunch. Pictures are shown to them on the screen and they point to the food they want to order.
Zookeeper Linda Jacobs said:
“They have all the intelligence they need to communicate with us. But what they don’t have is developed vocal chords and voiceboxes. This gives them a voice.”
Keepers also test the apes by asking them to point to a certain fruit or vegetable. They are then rewarded with a treat for a correct answer.
Despite the controversy of zoos, this shows that learning more about animal intelligence and developing ways of communication like this would not be as easy without them.
The Endangered Languages Project was launched today. The project is a collaboration between Google and the Indigenous Language Institute, as well as other members of the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, and aims to provide an online resource to preserve endangered languages through sharing and allowing users to upload text and audio or video clips.
You can do your part to ensure your language is preserved by visiting the website for the project, www.endangeredlanguages.com, which has a map on its landing page with markers on each country for each endangered language. The UK, for example, has Polari listed, which is not a language in itself, but a form of slang used within English. New Zealand has only Maori listed as endangered. Australia, meanwhile, has a lot of red hotspots for endangered languages. When you click on a spot, the name of the language pops up, and when you click on this, you are taken to the homepage of that language, where you can submit and share documents and samples of the language.
The first Inuit Bible is to be published in Canada. It has taken 34 years for a team of Inuk Anglican ministers to translate the text into Inuktitut.
A statement from the Canadian Bible Society, which launched the project in association with the Anglican church, says:
“For the first time in Canada, the entire translation was done by mother tongue speakers of the language rather than by missionaries.”
A lot of words could not be translated at all, as there is no Inuktitut equivalent. Words such as “camel” and “pomegranate” remain in English. Where the Bible refers to different species of tree, the generic term for “tree” was used in Inuktitut. Reverend Canon Jonas Allooloo, one of the translators, explains,
“It’s just like you have one word for snow but we have many words for snow.”
He added that the most difficult words were “peace” and “grace.” These concepts have no Inuit equivalent terms. Instead, translators had to convey the meaning using more liberal translation.
Whilst the New Testament, which was completed by the Inuk translators first, was published in 1992; the complete edition will be launched officially in a ceremony next month at the igloo shaped St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral in the capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit.
Want to see your Twitter homepage in another language?
Twitter.com, with the help of 13,000 volunteers, has just launched in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and Hebrew. Work started on the project on January 25th. This is the first time that Twitter has been available in right-to-left languages. Right-to-left languages previously caused problems, especially with tweets that contained both left to right and right to left content, and to overcome this problem, Twitter’s tech team have had to build special tools to make sure tweets, retweets, hashtags and numbers appear properly.
Twitter’s first foreign language launch was Japanese in April 2008. Although users have long been able to tweet in different languages, not all languages are supported on the homepage. You can now tweet in 28 different languages, with more planned additions this year.
You can file a language request if your language isn’t already supported on Twitter.
Twitter is currently looking for translators for nearly 20 languages. You can apply via Twitter’s Translation Center.