ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Suzette Haden Elgin has passed away. You can read about her work online.  She will be sorely missed in this world, and dearly welcomed in another.

Some time ago I posted a poem about her, "The Languagewoman," summarizing my interactions and her accomplishments.

Here is a new elegy...


"Soulsounds"
-- an elegy for Suzette Haden Elgin (November 18, 1936 – January 27, 2015)


The soul is not substance but sound,
a self made of speech and song.

Birth is the opening of a throat
to cry out in discovery.

Death is the sliding of a voice
from one chorus to another.

When angels weep, mortals rejoice;
and when mortals weep, angels rejoice;

but in God's ear it is all one sublime symphony,
and the Great Conductor never loses track of a single note.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
There is an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a bilingual anthology, Castles in Spain / Castillos en el aire. It aims to bring the speculative fiction stories that have served as milestones in Spain to English-language readers.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "toys" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Danso & Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Learn the seasons, days of the week, and times of day in Lakota.  I am pleased that my very small grasp of this language is growing enough for me to recognize different word roots as I see them in new contexts. :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
"Frontera!" is an animated video which runs about twenty minutes, on the topic of Pueblo history in America and Mexico, told from an indigenous perspective.  It spans at least three languages (English, Spanish, and Tema).  It features multiple styles of art and music, sometimes serious and other times hilarious.  The story presented is much more accurate and nuanced than that typically found in history books.  This is the kind of stuff I grew up on, and I love it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... with any ten books or similar cultural items from history, including lost ones.  [personal profile] dialecticdreamer is offering readers a chance to make a cache in the Heliodrax world.  I've already posted mine.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came from the October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "vandals" square in my 9-11-14 card for the Halloween Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some languages connect to others through translation.  English is by the far the strongest in this regard.  Russian, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese also make good hubs.  That gives these languages more global influence.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Sung and played, it's very pretty.

According to my farmemory, this is a credible rendition of the court/temple style, you know, classical stuff.  The popular music was, um ... earthier.  Louder, faster, ooga-chaka stuff.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was thrilled to find this post about holiday carols in Native American languages.  

"Jingle Bells" in Woodland Cree has the lyrics written out as well as the singing.  "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in Ojibwe has no lyrics, but a lovely photo collection of native creche scenes.  "Little Drummer Boy" in Navajo has the lyrics written out, and you should look at them closely -- it's not a colloquial version, but a linguistic version, and it shows some of the differences between the languages.  This sounds to me like a really great translation because it captures the Navajo culture; for instance "beautifully" instead of "I play my best" evokes the Blessingway Ceremony.  "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee just has random graphics.  "Silent Night" in Arapaho has the artist's album cover throughout.  

Of course, I am most fascinated by the ones with lyrics included.  The more information a recording contains, the more useful it is for learning, using, and transmitting a heritage language.  If I had made these, I would've wanted to include both native and English lines for comparison -- but that's my linguist instinct talking.  I can see why people would want to have just the native lyrics, and that is fine.

If you play any of these to the end, look and you'll find more links to other native language videos.
ysabetwordsmith: Jump gate showing diamond ring of light (blueshift)
This poem came out of the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user Kelkyag. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. This poem belongs to The Blueshift Troupers project.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is a gorgeous piece of activist animation, complete with Haida language and culture, reminding people to protect the waters so that our descendants can live.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... apparently stays there even if the language is discontinued.

I think the weirdest effect I've gotten is that the Spanish in my brain kept growing  after I stopped studying it.  I can parse things now that I know we never studied in class.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Rhodielady_47. It also fills "the mind's eye" square of my 7-30-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo  fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] chanter_greenie, Anthony and Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Note: This poem is written in dialect using references for Grenadian Creole English.  The unfamiliar grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are not mistakes but rather follow rules different than those of mainland American English.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Steven Pinker is a favorite linguist of mine, and here's a piece about his views on grammar. Link courtesy of my partner Doug.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)

This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by discussion with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer about her character Aidan.  It also fills the "Wild Card: Daily Rituals" square in my 6-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest.  It has been selected in an audience poll for the general fund.  This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

The following is a morning/evening prayer that Aidan uses, from his childhood, which is thousands of years ago.  It's bilingual in a version of Proto-Indo-European and English.  The cool thing about PIE is that it's primarily a set of word bones with a few grammatical guesses.  So if you want to extrapolate what a historic tribe might have been speaking, you can pick and choose among the variables until you get something you like.  Several linguists have done this for our world; listen to an example here.  (I can actually parse words out of that.)  Here's one for Terramagne.
 

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