Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Comment?

President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , spoke at Columbia University and the U.N. a few days ago. Last night he spoke with Charlie Rose.

Tonight the president of Bolivia was discussing the reforms he has led in his country.

This appeared September 19 in the LA Times about dying languages.

Over the past few days I'm hearing more and more about languages. Something I've never been taught with relation to journalism is how to handle a translator. I think I would be inclined to speak to the translator and not the interviewee. During Charlie Rose's conversation, he was persistent in trying to get the president to answer the question he asked, not the question Ahmadinejad wanted to answer. The beauty of a translated interview is one of the parties could feign misunderstanding. Perhaps something got lost in translation.

The L.A. Times piece is pretty interesting and thought provoking. K. David Harrison is the associate director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.
"When we lose a language, we lose centuries of thinking about time, seasons, sea creatures, reindeer, edible flowers, mathematics, landscapes, myths, music, the unknown and the everyday," he said.
In my limited study of French, langue d'amour, I found that knowing another language, even in three word phrases, changed the way I thought and the way I described things. It did get me a date, but my poor command of the language didn't get a second date. I knew I should have taken Italian or aller a un restaurant fran├žais. So I suppose the note cards with scribbled french verb conjugations had their value.

Harrison discussed the dying languages on The Colbert Report. He said how in some places there is only one person who still speaks the soon-to-be-extinct language. Which makes me wonder: if a man is the only person who speaks a language and there's no one to talk with, who does he complain to? Do his complaints and conversations fall on deaf ears?
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Listening to: Ray Brown Jimmy Rowles - That's All
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