Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

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iguanamon
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Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby iguanamon » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:49 pm

Gottscheerish is a language I had never heard of until I saw a tweet today from @languageismusic- Susanna Zaraysky. She tweeted about an article in National Geographic- The Race to Save the World's Disappearing Languages. Gottscheerish is a germanic language related to Bavarian/Alpine dialects of German that was spoken in Slovenia prior to World War II. The National Geographic article has a video of two of the few remaining native-speakers speaking to each other in the language which I can't embed here.

Wikitongues estimates that between 50% and 90% of the worlds app. 7,099 languages will disappear in the next 100 years. While all can't be saved, the forces in the world are what they are, they can at least be documented. Wikitongues is working to do that right now.
National Geographic wrote:...Knowing they wouldn’t be able to record, or even locate, the majority these languages themselves, Wikitongues has enlisted a network of volunteers in 40 countries to film native speakers talking in the past, present, and future tenses of their mother tongue. To get a range of tones and emotions, they’re asked to reminisce about childhood, talk about romance, and discuss their hopes and goals.
One volunteer in the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu recorded a language that had never before been studied by linguists. Another tracked down a speaker of Ainu, a rare indigenous language in Japan that is an “isolate,” meaning it bears no relation to any other known language.
Wikitongues isn’t the only initiative working to document rare languages. National Geographic Society’s Enduring Voices project supported the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in their effort to build Talking Dictionaries comprised of definitions, audio files, and images. Someone looking to learn Tuvan, a Turkic language spoken in Siberia, can download the app to their phone.
Starting this year, Wikitongue’s collections will be stored at the American Folklife Center through a partnership with the Library of Congress. But their goals stretch past documentation—the founders also plan to provide a way to learn languages long after they’ve gone extinct. An app they’re building called Poly allows people to create language dictionaries using text, audio, and video. ...
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby eido » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 am

It'd be so chill to be one of those volunteers. It's crazy important work, and you'd get to learn so much. The memories would be with you for a lifetime. Sign me up! ...she says even though she hasn't mastered a second language yet. :roll:
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby CarlyD » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:06 am

My family spoke Gottscheerish when they came to the US from Slovenia (then the Austrian Empire) around 1900. My grandfather was made fun of in school by the teacher for speaking "wrong" German, so he never taught his kids. When he used to teach me German as a child, he was teaching me the German he learned in high school, not Gottscheerish.

There's active Gotschee-heritage groups on Facebook and a Gotschee Association in Ridgewood, NY that tries to keep the language alive--a bit, anyway. There's a number of Youtube videos of events--picnics, etc.--where they've recorded people chatting in Gottscheerish.

The language seems really odd to me. One of the members posted something in Gottscheerish and German, side-by-side, and it was much more different than I'd expect a dialect to be, but I read once that Gottscheerish was version of "pure" German from the 1600s so maybe that was part of it.

I'm proud of my Gottschee/Slovene heritage, but I'm still learning regular German. :D
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby nooj » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:08 am

Short video recordings like this is fun but linguistically not of much use to linguists. I'm not sure how wikitongues works, but for it to be useful, this needs to be accessible in audio and video format for acoustic analysis if need be, transcribed in any case, with the possibility of interlinear parsing, and definitely far far far more material needs to be recorded for any kind of work to be done. 5 min videos are nothing. Unless they have a lot more data they're not putting up online in their YT page.

University lead projects or private efforts with serious funding behind them are more useful for documentation. I basically consider Wikitongues to be a way to conscientise the general public to the presence or existence of language diversity.
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby Iversen » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:15 am

Having an extensive and systematically done collection of records (and if possible: writings) in a moribund language at your disposal would certainly be nice, but in the meantime even a more modest attempt to preserve at least something should be praised - especially since even an hour or so of recordings should be enough to make a scientific description of the pronunciation - if you can find a linguist who is willing to spend his/her time on the task, that is. And that may be a problem now that some linguists think that they don't need to know more than one language to study them.

I'm more worried about the preservation of words and (in particular) expressions, both because you need far more text to get around the nooks and crannies of a language, but also because the language of the last remaining speakers already may be corrupt and permeated by elements from the language that is going to replace it. Like English in the case of Irish or High German in the case of Low German.
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby Whodathunkitz » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:01 am

Iversen wrote:I'm more worried about the preservation of words and (in particular) expressions, both because you need far more text to get around the nooks and crannies of a language, but also because the language of the last remaining speakers already may be corrupt and permeated by elements from the language that is going to replace it. Like English in the case of Irish or High German in the case of Low German.


I hope someone can "sort it". Important to mind the gaps as well.

As regards Wikitongues - I didn't really get it. I made an account and will check back - I'm always seeking Cebuano resources, but even tatoeba has very little.
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby Saim » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:46 am

CarlyD wrote:but I read once that Gottscheerish was version of "pure" German from the 1600s so maybe that was part of it.


No modern language is a pure version of anything from the 1600s.

The reason why Gottscheerish seems "more different than a dialect would be" is because it is a peripheral variety of Austro-Bavarian, not of Standard German.
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby Chung » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:00 pm

Saim wrote:
CarlyD wrote:but I read once that Gottscheerish was version of "pure" German from the 1600s so maybe that was part of it.


No modern language is a pure version of anything from the 1600s.

The reason why Gottscheerish seems "more different than a dialect would be" is because it is a peripheral variety of Austro-Bavarian, not of Standard German.


Not to mention that it's been borrowing from the neighbouring Slavs when comparing the lexicon with modern Kajkavian dialects/Slovenian.

The link between presumed antiquity of some language or its attestations with linguistic "purity" is indeed deceptive.
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Re: Gottscheerish; Wikitongues documents yet another disappearing language

Postby dedalus66 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:22 am

I really enjoy the videos produced by Wikitongues. It is fascinating to be able to see some of the lesser known languages in the world being used and appreciated. For certain languages, when one google searches them, the most common hit is a Wikitongues video.
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