Foundation for Endangered Languages

Home | Manifesto | Membership details | Proceedings | Grant Applications | Newsletter | Links | Bibliography


6. Overheard on the Web

Endangered Languages: an active approach - Thailand and China

David Bradley, Linguistics, La Trobe University,

Language death is the most urgent problem confronting linguistics. In longitudinal studies starting in the mid-1970s, we have been observing the process of language death in various settings. This has led to various theoretical observations on how language death differs from creolisation/ decreolisation (Thomason/Kaufman 1988) and other kinds of language change. It also suggests various practical strategies for assisting communities in language maintenance.

Examples will be given from speech communities in Thailand and China. These will be contrasted with the situation in speech communities who are being successful in language maintenance, and some conclusions and inferences will be drawn. In a team project with three local colleagues and various overseas partners we will be refining these strategies in the future.

Australian Linguistic Society (July 1998) abstract from
Wanted: Translations of the Slovene National Anthem into Many Different Languages

Fri, 11 Sep 1998 23:00:25 -0600

This is not a plug for the Slovene nationalism!

Rather, the national poet of Slovenia, France Presheren, is having two important anniversaries soon: 1999 is the 150th aniversary of his death, 2000 the 200th anniversary of his birth. Among his works is a poem, "Zdravljica," = "A Toast", and the seventh verse was adopted by the young Slovene nation a few years ago, after independence, as its national anthem.

In honour of Presheren's anniversaries, a small booklet will be published next year in Kranj, the city in Slovenia nearest his native village; the booklet will contain the original of this verse, plus translations into many other languages.

My own translation of the seventh verse is as follows:



Let's drink that every nation
will live to see that bright day's birth
when 'neath the sun's rotation
dissent is banished from the earth,
all will be
kinfolk free
with neighbours none in enmity.

Which is a rather more acceptable anthem than some I could name . . .

Translations exist so far into some well-known European languages - French, German, Russian, English, Italian and so on - but not many others. This is an opportunity, perhaps, for *your* endangered language to get some publicity and to hob-nob with some of the so-called major languages of the world.

If any readers of this list are interested in contributing a translation in an 'endangered' language, I will forward it to the editor of the booklet. If you can imitate the rhythm and rhyme-scheme of the original, so much the better; but in some languages this will not be possible. The deadline is November 30, 1998. The editor's decision will be final, not mine; but he earnestly wants to collect many, many translations, so I don't think that he will try to check yours.

If any 'endangered' language-translations are sent in and accepted, I will recommend to the editor that he include as footnotes or endnotes a few basic bits of information about the languages - where spoken, and so on.

If you think that you may be interested, let me know and I will with pleasure send you (a) the original, (b) a version marked for stressed syllables so that you will appreciate the rhythm, (c) a "literal" translation and (d) versions in French, German, and Russian - whichever you wish.

* Tom Priestly
* Slavic & East European Studies
* Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
* University of Alberta
* Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E6

* telephone: +1-403 - 492 - 0789
* fax: +1-403 - 492 - 9106
* email: tom.priestly(at)