Hear the Brazilian Metal Band Singing in–and Trying to Save–Their Native Language of Tupi-Guarani

The indigenous languages spoken in Brazil number around 170, a testament to the survival of tribal communities nearly wiped out by colonialism and commerce. Yet 40 of those languages have fewer than 100 speakers, and many more are declining rapidly. For linguists, “it’s a fight against time,” Luisi Destri writes at Pesquisa. Researchers estimate most, if not all, of these languages could disappear within 50 to 100 years, and some believe 30 percent might fade in the next 15 years.

“Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation,” says Luciano Storto, professor of linguistics at the University of São Paulo, “mainly through narratives told by the oldest and most experienced to the community’s youngest members.” What happens when those younger generations are uprooted and leave home. When their elders die without passing on their knowledge? (What happens to language in general as the linguistic gene pool shrinks?) These questions weighed on Zhândio Aquino in 2004 when he founded Brazilian metal band Arandu Arakuaa.




Aquino has a degree in pedagogy and his band has been invited to play in schools and lecture at universities. But they do not use indigenous instrumentation and sing in an indigenous Tupi-Guarani language as a purely academic exercise. Raised in the northern state of Tocantins and descended from a Guarani-speaking tribe, the guitarist and singer says, “I [had] very close contact with indigenous culture because of my grandmother and classmates. When I [began] playing in bands, it just felt natural to put my background on it.”

When he moved to Brasilia in 2004, Aquino searched for like-minded musicians and formed what may be the country’s first folk metal band. While folk metal as a category is hardly new (metal has always incorporated elements of folk music, from its earliest incarnations in Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to the bleakest of Scandinavian black metal bands), most folk metal has been European (and Pagan or Viking or Pirate), and some of it has allied, sadly, with the same fascist movements that threaten indigenous existence.

While Arandu Arakuaa — the name translates to “cosmos knowledge” — may be one of the first folk metal bands in Brazil, it isn’t the only one. Along with bands like Aclla, Armahda, and Tamuya Thrash Tribe, the band is part of a movement called the Levante do Metal Nativo, or Native Metal Uprising, a collection of musicians using native instruments, themes, and languages — or all three in the case of Arandu Arakuaa, who incorporate maracas and the guitar-like viola caipira.

How do acoustic indigenous folk and the electric crunch and growl of metal come together? Hear for yourself in the videos here. Aquino knows Arandu Arakuaa doesn’t win everyone over at first. “People are not indifferent to our music,” he says. “They will love it or hate it. Most people think it’s strange at first and then we have to prove that we are good.”

While intelligible lyrics are hardly necessary in metal, the language barrier may turn some listeners away. But subtitled videos help. Arandu Arakuaa might seem to have a different focus than most metal bands, but in songs like “Red People,” we hear the rage and the resistance to war and depredation that bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica — all influences on the Brazilian band –have channeled in their music:

Some of us ran away, we hide in the forest
We still fight
The red people still resisting, while there is land, while there is forest
Everything became different
Our spirits are called demons
Each day less trees, less animals, less histories, less songs…

Related Content: 

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

They Might Be Giants’ John Linnell Releases an EP of Songs in Latin

Those who know Latin know Wheelock’s Latin as the time-honored resource for learning the language of the Caesars. They also know how many years of intensive study and practice goes into translating the textbook’s hefty classical passages. Reading Latin is one thing — writing in the language is quite another: something very few people do for any reason, other than a perverse kind of enjoyment that is most definitely a niche affair.

What about songwriting in Latin? Professor Wheelock doesn’t offer any specific instructions for composing pop music in the dead language, though classics teacher and former British Labour Party MP Eddie O’Hara once translated Beatles songs (see “O Teneum Manum” and “Dei Duri Nox” here). For a more casual approach, one could turn to a resource more in line with contemporary teaching methods — Duolingo, where you can “learn a language for free. Forever.”




For some reason, John Linnell, one of the two Johns in 90s alt-rock band They Might Be Giants, decided on the Duolingo approach while hunkered down at home during the pandemic, and — because he’s a songwriter, and a right good one, at that — he decided to compose some catchy pop songs in Latin. Catchy, he could do (I’m still singing the chorus of “Birdhouse in Your Soul” thirty-two years later.) But the Latin, not so much.

After taking a short course, Linnell writes, “I figured I could write a few songs… I was soon disabused of the notion. I can barely string two words together in Latin, and to borrow from Mark Twain, I would rather decline two drinks than one Latin noun.” A career Latinist and childhood friend Linnell calls “Schoolmaster Smith” came to his aid, translating his English lyrics into Latin for him. “All credit for any success in this project is due to him,” he avers, “and any mistakes and failures are entirely mine.”

Trapped at home with his son Henry, who played guitar on the 4-track EP, Linnell recorded and released Roman Songs (along with a t-shirt!). Why? “All I can tell you,” he shrugs, “is that I’m deeply jealous of people who are fluent in a second language and can apply that skill to their creative work in a way that doesn’t seem like cultural appropriation of the most offensive and embarrassing kind.”

No ancient Romans around to accuse Linnell of stealing their culture, but they’d be hard pressed to recognize if they were. “HAEC QVOQVE EST RES” (“This is Also the Case”) and “TECVM CIRCVMAMBVLARE NOLO” (“I Don’t Want to Walk Around with You”) sound like classic They Might Be Giants tunes. (The other John, Mr. Flansburgh, “strongly encouraged this project and art directed the package,” Linnell writes.)

In fact, they sound so much like They Might Be Giants songs, I almost wish they were in English, but as a lover of Latin I have to admit, it’s fun to learn these phrases and melodies and walk around singing them like a Roman pop star. Linnell may be a little in the dark about his motivations, but I say, good on him: if there’s any way to make Latin live again, this may be it. Now we just need someone talented and really bored to step up and deliver classical raps to keep momentum going…. Pick up Linnell’s Roman Songs EP here.

via Boing Boing

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Learn Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, Classical Greek & Other Ancient Languages in 10 Lessons

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Who Decides What Words Get Into the Dictionary?

DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Once upon a time, we were made to believe that words could never acquire sticks and stones’ capacity to wound.

Talk about a maxim no longer worth the paper it was printed on!

Language is organic. Definitions, usage, and our response to particular words evolve over time.

Lexicographer Ilan Stavans’ TED-Ed lesson, Who Decides What’s in the Dictionary?, rolls the clock back to 1604, when schoolmaster Robert Cawdrey assembled the first English language dictionary “for the benefit of Ladies, Gentlewomen, and other unskilled folk.”




Other English dictionaries soon followed, expanding on the 2,543 words Cawdrey had seen fit to include. His fellow authors shared Cawdrey’s prescriptive goal of educating the rabble, to keep them from butchering the high-minded tongue the self-appointed guardian considered it his duty to protect.

Wordsmith Samuel Johnson, the primary author of 1775’s massive A Dictionary of the English Language, described his mission as one in which “the pronunciation of our language may be fixed, and its attainment facilitated; by which its purity may be preserved, its use ascertained, and its duration lengthened.”

Lest we think Johnson overly impressed with the importance of his lofty mission, he submitted the following gently self-mocking definition of Lexicographer:

A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.

150 years later, Ambrose Bierce offered an opposing view in his delightfully wicked dictionary:

LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods.

Stavans points to brothers George and Charles Merriam’s acquisition of the rights to Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) as a moment when our concept of what a dictionary should be began to shift.

Webster, working by himself, set out to collect and document English as it was used on these shores.

The Merriams engaged a group of language experts to curate subsequent editions, striking a blow for the idiom by including slang and regional variants.

A good start, though they excluded anything they found unfit for the general consumption at the time, including expressions born in the Black community.

Their editorializing was of a piece with prevailing views — see “wife.”

But humans, like language, evolve.

These days, lexicographers monitor the Internet for new words to be considered for upcoming editions, including profanity and racial slurs.

If a word’s use is judged to be widespread, sustained and meaningful, in it goes… even though some might find it objectionable, or even, yes, hurtful.

Stavans wraps his lesson up by drawing our attention to Merriam-Webster’s tradition of anointing one entry to Word of the Year, drawn from statistical analysis of the words people look up in extremely high numbers.

“They” got the nod in 2019, a testament to how deeply non-binary gender expression has permeated the collective consciousness and national conversation.

The runner up?

Impeach.

Care to guess which word 2020 placed in the dictionary’s path?

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The Story of Elizebeth Friedman, the Pioneering Cryptologist Who Thwarted the Nazis & Got Burned by J. Edgar Hoover

Elizebeth S. Friedman: Suburban Mom or Ninja Nazi Hunter?

Both, though in her lifetime, the press was far more inclined to fixate on her ladylike aspect and homemaking duties than her career as a self-taught cryptoanalyst, with headlines such as “Pretty Woman Who Protects United States” and “Solved By Woman.”

The novelty of her gender led to a brief stint as America’s most recognizable codebreaker, more famous even than her fellow cryptologist, husband William Friedman, who was instrumental in the founding of the National Security Agency during the Cold War.

Renowned though she was, the highly classified nature of her work exposed her to a security threat in the person of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover credited the FBI, and by extension, himself, for deciphering some 50 Nazi radio circuits’ codes, at least two of them protected with Enigma machines.

He also rushed to raid South American sources in his zeal to make an impression and advance his career, scuppering Friedman’s mission by causing Berlin to put a stop to all transmissions to that area.

Too bad no one asked him to demonstrate the methods he’d used to crack these impossible nuts.

The German agents used the same codes and radio techniques as the Consolidated Exporters Corporation, a mob-backed rum-running operation whose codes and ciphers Elizebeth had translated as chief cryptologist for the U.S. Treasury Department during Prohibition.

As an expert witness in the criminal trial of international rumrunner Bert Morrison and his associates, she modestly asserted that it was “really quite simple to decode their messages if you know what to look for,” but the sample decryption she provided the jury made it plain that her work required tremendous skill. The Mob Museum’s Jeff Burbank sets the scene:

She read a sample message, referring to a brand of whiskey: “Out of Old Colonel in Pints.” She showed how the three “o” and “l” letters in “Colonel” had identical cipher code letters. From the cipher’s letters for “Colonel” she could figure out the letter the racketeers chose for “e,” the most frequently occurring letter in English, based on other brand names of liquor they mentioned in other messages. The “o” and “l” letters in “alcohol,” she said, had the same cipher letters as “Colonel.” 

Cinchy, right?

Elizebeth’s biographer, Jason Fagone, notes that in discovering the identity, codename and ciphers used by German spy network Operation Bolívar‘s leader, Johannes Siegfried Becker, she succeeded where “every other law enforcement agency and intelligence agency failed. She did what the FBI could not do.”

Sexism and Hoover were not the only enemies.

William Friedman’s criticism of the NSA for classifying documents he thought should be a matter of public record led to a rift resulting in the confiscation of dozens of papers from the couple’s home that documented their work.

This, together with the 50-year “TOP SECRET ULTRA” classification of her WWII records, ensured that Elizebeth’s life would end beneath “a vast dome of silence.”

Recognition is mounting, however.

Nearly 20 years after her 1980 death, she was inducted into the National Security Agency’s Cryptologic Hall of Honor as “a pioneer in code breaking.”

A National Security Agency building now bears both Friedmans’ names.

The U.S. Coast Guard will soon be adding a Legend Class Cutter named the USCGC Friedman to their fleet.

In addition to Fagone’s biography, a picture book, Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars, was published earlier this year.

As far as we know, there are no picture books dedicated to the pioneering work of J. Edgar Hoover….

Elizebeth Friedman, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch The Codebreaker, PBS’s American Experience biography of Elizebeth Friedman here.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her June 7 for a Necromancers of the Public Domain: The Periodical Cicada, a free virtual variety honoring the 17-Year Cicadas of Brood X. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A Short Animation Explores the Nature of Creativity & Invention, with Characters That Look Like Andrei Tarkovsky & Sergei Eisenstein

A gentleman goes to the movies, only to find a marquee full of retreads, reboots, sequels, and prequels. He demands to know why no one makes original films anymore, a reasonable question people often ask. But it seems he has run directly into a graduate student in critical theory behind the glass. The ticket-seller rattles off a theory of unoriginality that is difficult to refute but also, it turns out, only a word-for-word recitation of the Wikipedia page on “Plagiarism.”

This is one of the ironies in “Allergy to Originality” every English teacher will appreciate. In the short, animated New York Times Op-Doc by Drew Christie, an official Sundance selection in 2014, “two men discuss whether anything is truly original — especially in movies and books,” notes the Times. The question leads us to consider what we might mean by originality when every work is built from pieces of others. “In creating this Op-Doc animation,” Christie writes, “I copied well-known images and photographs, retraced innumerable drawings, then photocopied them as a way to underscore the un-originality of the entire process.”




From William Burroughs’ cut-ups to Roland Barthes’ “The Death of the Author,” moderns have only been re-discovering what ancients accepted with a shrug — no one can take credit for a story, not even the author. Barthes argued that “literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.”

In Christie’s short, the smartass theater employee continues quoting sources, now from the “Originality” Wikipedia, now from Mark Twain, who had many things to say about originality. Twain once wrote to Helen Keller, for example, outraged that she had been accused of plagiarism. He came to her defense with an earnest conviction: “The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterance — is plagiarism.”

Postmodern sophistry from Mark Twain? Maybe. We haven’t had much opportunity to verbally spar in public like this lately, unmasked and in search of entertainment in a public square. If you find yourself exasperated with the streaming choices on offer, if the books you’re reading all start to feel too familiar, consider the infinite number of creative possibilities inherent in the art of quotation — and remember that we’re always repeating, replaying, and remixing what came before, whether or not we cite our sources.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Download 280 Pictographs That Put Japanese Culture Into a New Visual Language: They’re Free for the Public to Use

“One of the biggest considerations when traveling to Japan is its inscrutable language,” writes Designboom’s Juliana Neira. But then, one might also consider making that language more scrutable — and making one’s experience in Japan much richer — by learning some of it. Kanji, the Chinese characters used in the written Japanese language, may at first look like small, often bewilderingly complex pictures, and many assume they visually evoke the meanings they express. In fact, to use the linguistic terms, they’re not pictograms, representations of thoughts or ideas, but logograms, representations of words or parts of words.

Resemble miniature works of art though they often do, kanji aren’t entirely unsystematic. This helps beginning learners get a handle on the first and most essential characters of the thousands they’ll eventually need to know.




So does the fact that some of them, in origin, really are pictographic — that is, they look like the meaning of the word they represent — or at least pictographic enough to make them teachable through images. The Japanese word for “mountain,” to cite an elementary example, is 山; “river” is 川; “tree” is 木. Alas, most of us who enjoy the 山, 川, and 木 of Japan — to say nothing of the 書店 and 喫茶店 in its cities — haven’t been able to visit them at all in this past pandemic year.

“After experiencing years of tourism growth, tourists to Japan are down over 95% due to the pandemic,” writes Spoon & Tamago’s Johnny Waldman. “Graphic designer Kenya Hara and his firm Nippon Design Center have self-initiated a project to release over 250 pictograms — free for anyone to use — in support of tourism in Japan from a visual design perspective.” Collectively bannered the Experience Japan Pictograms, these clear and evocative icons represent a wide range of the places and activities one can enjoy in the Land of the Rising Sun: skiing and surfing, calligraphy and open-air hot-spring bathing, Ginza and Asakusa, Tokyo’s Skytree and Osaka’s Tsūtenkaku Tower.

The Experience Japan Pictograms hardly fail to include the glories of Japanese cuisine — sushi, tempura, soba, and even the Japanified hanbāgā — which piques so many foreigners’ interest in Japan to begin with. Click on any of them and you’ll see a brief cultural and historical explanation of the item, activity, place, or concept in question, along with the relevant Japanese term (in kanji where applicable) and its pronunciation. You can also download them in the color scheme of your choice and use them for any purposes you like, including commercial ones. The more widely adopted they are, the more convenient Japanese tourism will become for those who don’t read Japanese. Those who do can hardly deny the pleasure of having another Japanese language to learn — and a truly pictographic one at that.

via Spoon & Tamago

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

A Tour of U.S. Accents: Bostonian, Philadelphese, Gullah Creole & Other Intriguing Dialects

You don’t have an accent — or rather, everyone has an accent, but we don’t notice our own, especially if we associate mostly with people of similar cultural backgrounds. For however we might like to describe ourselves, the way we speak reveals who we are: as dialect coach Erik Singer puts it in the Wired video above, “Accent is identity.” Among the forces shaping that identity he names not just geography but socioeconomic background, generation, ethnicity and race, and other “individual factors.”  The result is that a large and varied continent like North America has given rise to a wide variety of accents in the English language alone.

In the video Singer and four other specialist language experts demonstrate a great many of these North American accents, identifying the most distinctive characteristics of each. The classic Boston accent, for example, is “non-rhotic,” referring to the dropping of “R” sounds that make possible such classic phrases as “pahk yah cah in Havahd Yard.” It differs in many ways from those common in places like Rhode Island and New York City, relatively close together though all three areas may seem: the diversity of accents on the U.S. east coast versus its more recently settled west coast underscores the fact that regional accents need time, usually a matter of generation upon generation, to emerge.




The way Philadelphians talk illustrates what Singer calls “the ‘on’ line,” north of which most pronounce “on” as if it rhymes with “don,” and south of which — Philly and below — most pronounce “on” as if rhymes with “dawn.” You don’t even have to cross the Pennsylvania border to find another unique accent. Only in Pittsburgh do people “smooth the ‘mouth’ dipthong,” a dipthong being a syllable composed of two distinct vowels — here, the “ou” in “mouth” — the “smoothing out” of which turns it into a single (and to non-Pittsburghers, unusual-sounding) vowel.

By the end of these 20 minutes, Singer and his crew have made it only as far as the “Piney Woods Belt” of the American south, whose accents bring to many of our minds the voice of Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois. They’ve also touched on such linguistic curiosities as Gullah creole; the Elizabethan inflection of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina,” previously featured here on Open Culture; and in some ways the most curious of all, the broadly designated “general American” speech that has emerged in recent decades. This is only the first video of a series [update: it’s now available below], so keep an eye on Wired‘s Youtube channel for the next installment of the linguistic journey — and keep an ear out for all the subtle varieties of English you can catch in the meantime.

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Why Do People Talk Funny in Old Movies?, or The Origin of the Mid-Atlantic Accent

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Watch 36 Short Animations That Tell the Origin Stories of Mexico’s Indigenous Peoples in Their Own Languages

In our efforts to preserve endangered species we seem to overlook something equally important. To me it is a sign of a deeply disturbed civilization where tree huggers and whale huggers in their weirdness are acceptable while no one embraces the last speakers of a language.

 – Werner Herzog, Encounters at the End of the World

Trees and whales aside, we suspect the ever quotable Herzog would warm to fellow director Gabriela Badillo’s 68 Voices, 68 Hearts, a series of one-minute animations that preserve indigenous Mexican stories with narration provided by native speakers.

“It was created in order to help foster pride, respect, and the use of indigenous Mexican languages between speakers and non-speakers, as well as to help reduce discrimination and foster a sense of pride towards all communities and cultures that are part of the cultural richness that makes up Mexico,” Badillo says in an interview with Awasqa.




The project stemmed from a realization in the wake of the death of her grandfather, a Maxcanu from Yucatan:

Aside from losing a loved one, I realized that an enormous wisdom had also been lost: a language, stories, traditions and customs, a whole world had dissolved with him.

Each animation involves collaboration with the National Institute of Indigenous Language and the community whose story is being shared. Community members choose the subject, then supply narration and translation. Their children draw scenes from the selected story, which steers the style of animation.

Prior to being released to the general public, each film is presented to its community of origin, along with a booklet of suggested educational activities for parents and teachers to use in conjunction with screenings. Boxes of postcards featuring artwork from the series are donated to the community school.

Some of the entries, like the above About Earthquakes and the Origin of Life on Earth, narrated in Ch’ol by Eugenia Cruz Montejo, pack a massive amount of story into the allotted minute:

They say many years ago Ch’ujtiat, the Heaven’s lord, created the Earth with 12 immortal men to carry it. And it is when they get tired that the Earth moves, provoking earthquakes.

At the same time he created the first men, who were ungrateful, so Ch’ujtiat sent the flood and turned the survivors into monkeys, and the innocent children into stars. He then created our first parents, na’al, Ixic y Xun’Ok, who multiplied and populated the Earth. 

That’s how life on Earth began.That’s how the Ch’oles tell it.

Variants of “that’s how we tell it” are a common refrain, as in the Cora (also known as Náayeri) story of how the Mother Goddess created earth (and other gods), narrated by Pedro Muñiz López.

Here is the written version, in Cora:

E’itɨ tiuséijre cháanaka

Yaapú ti’nyúukari tɨkɨn a’najpú ɨtyáj náimi ajnáana Náasisaa, Téijkame jemín ɨ cháanaka ajtá ɨ máxkɨrai, góutaaguaka’a ɨ tabóujsimua yaati’xáata tɨkɨn mata’a já guatéchaɨn majtá tyuipuán iyakúi cháanaka japuá.

Muxáj kɨmenpú góutaaguaka’a tɨ’kí nájkɨ’ta gojoutyájtua. Áuna me’séira aɨjme taboujsimua matákua’naxɨ.

Tɨ’kí aɨjna tanáana Náasisaa, ukɨpuapú guatákɨɨnitya’a, yán guajaikagua’xɨjre uyóujmua matɨ’jmí jetsán guatyáakɨ yán miye’ntiné tajapuá. Kapú aɨn jé’i, matákua’naxɨ máj akábibɨɨ yán juté’e, makaupɨxɨɨ ujetsé matɨ’jmí chuéj kɨj tentyóu metya’úrara, ajtá ɨ Taja’as xu’rabe’táana tiuɨrɨj tyautyájtua ajpúi tanáana Náasisaa tsíikɨri guatyákɨstaka ukɨpuá kɨmen. Japuanpú aɨjna chuéj utíajka tɨ’kí goutaíjte aɨjme tabóujsimua guatáijte máj atapa’tsaren metya’tanya’tɨkɨ’káa ayaapú tiutéjbe máj tiunéitan.

Ayaapú tiuséijre cháanaka. Ayáj tigua’nyúukari Náayeri.

Badillo’s educational mission is well served by one of our favorites, The Origin of the Mountains. In addition to mountains, this Cucapá story, narrated by Inocencia González Sainz, delves into the origin of oceans and the Colorado River, though fair warning—it may be difficult to restore classroom order once the students hear that testicles and earwax figure prominently.

To watch a playlist of the 36 animations completed so far with English subtitles, click here.

68 Voices, 68 Heart’s Kickstarter page has more information about this ongoing project. Contributions will go toward animating stories in the three languages that are at the highest risk of disappearing—AkatekoPopoloca, and Ku’ahl.

As Badillo writes:

When a language disappears, not only a sound, a way of writing, a letter or a word goes away. Something much deeper than just a form of communication disappears – a way of seeing and conceiving the world, stories, tales, a way of naming and relating to things, an enormous knowledge that we should relearn because of its deep respect with nature.

via Boing Boing

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She most recently appeared as a French Canadian bear who travels to New York City in search of food and meaning in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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