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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Sneaking in a Quick Entry 

The panic is starting to set in about this next contract publishing job and my regular issue, the deadlines for both of which are crashing rather loudly all around me.

That said, here are a few interesting reads I ran across while surfing during lunch:

Irish language classes at the University of Montana (from The Montana Kaimin), which started with a visiting professor but have been continued by a group of students who are now studying on their own.
In the beginning, [David] Emmons studied the language because he wanted to read a book by Irish author Mickey McGowan [Micí Mac Gabhann], who lived in the 1800s. He'd read the English translation but felt it was poor. In Irish, the title of the book was "The Great Wheel of Life" [Rotha Mór an tSaoil], which described McGowan's journey to the gold mining country of Montana and back to Ireland again. When Emmons saw the English title of the book was "The Hard Road to Klondike," he wondered what else was lost in translation, he said.
Also interesting in the story is the mention of one student who is blind and who had to take notes and to read Irish materials using Braille. (There also was a brite on WNDU-TV about Notre Dame students learning Irish.)

And, back in Malta, the debate over the new language law continues as The Malta Independent covers Partit Laburista MP Jose Herrera's speech outlining the historical fight to get Maltese recognised as the official language of the nation. Herrera noted that when the Knights ruled the archipelago, Italian was the official language, but in 1813 Sir Thomas Maitland became governor of Malta and
He wanted to introduce the use of English and to do away with Italian and what he believed to be an Arab dialect (the Maltese language).

Sigismondo Savona and Lord Strickland insisted that English should be used, but that Maltese must be given equal importance.

In 1926 the Compact was signed between the Labour Party and the Constitutional Party insisting that Maltese and English should have the same rights. The Nationalist Party, on the other hand, insisted that English and Italian should have equal importance. The August 1927 election saw the Compact parties win.
Back in the States, the Native American Times has a brief article about a New Mexico anthropologist who is creating a festival to showcase First Nations writing and languages:
"I can't teach people to teach a language to their kids," [Gordon] Bronitsky said. "Navajo weavers know they will make money from the work they do-but writers don’t have that. I wanted to create a festival to promote them and help them get paid. Maybe some kid on some reservation will see this and say 'Wow. Someone got paid for speaking my grandmother's language'".
Up in Canada, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Katimajiit, the group charged with incorporating Inuit culture and values into the government of Nunavut wants to change its name (from CBC North). The name means "the traditional knowledge council," but Council Vice Chair Kananginak Pootoogook said "the term Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is misleading since traditional knowledge doesn't easily fit into today's more modern times, and the name is not up-to-date."

And, finally, the BBC is reporting that researchers at Université Bordeaux are identifying small marks on animal bones from between 1.4 million and 1.2 million years ago as evidence of symbolic thought among an early Homo species, possibly Homo erectus.
"These lines were not from butchering; in this place (on the animal) there is nothing to cut. It can't be anything else than symbolism," Dr. Jean-Luc Guadelli, of the University of Bordeaux, France, told BBC News Online.

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