#418 Mary Linn – Vital Voices: Endangered Languages in a Changing World

Mary Linn – Vital Voices: Endangered Languages in a Changing World

The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Art Of Living Series

Happy Holidays everyone. Welcome to The Not Old Better Show. I’m Paul Vogelzang and this is episode #418. As part of our Smithsonian Associates Art of Living Interview Series, our guest today is Mary Linn, Curator of Cultural and Linguistic Revitalization for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH). As a matter of fact, we’re listening to some Smithsonian Folkways Recordings of a Harvest Song, and the CFCH Music from South New Guinea series. Mary Linn discusses with us how indigenous languages are linked to health, education, and employment, as well as the vital connection they provide to the continuity of knowledge and cultural practices. Mary Linn also tells us how speakers of endangered and minoritized languages are engaged in innovative efforts to reclaim them, thus revitalizing, and drawing on examples from several resilient communities, including unwritten languages.

 

One of the examples of an unwritten language that we’ll discuss is the language of Chuukese. Mary Linn will hear some Chuukese spoken to her by my son, Avery Vogelzang, which we’ll also do during our interview, and now, just to give you a sense of this language. I will tell you, too, that Chuukese isn’t a language that Mary Linn is focused on, however, it is one of the languages that could easily be in need of linguistic revitalization, as it is spoken by a very small population in the Federated State of Micronesia. That, of course, is my son, Avery Vogelzang, speaking a brief bit of Chuukese, but we’ll now be joined by Mary Linn, Curator of Cultural and Linguistic Revitalization for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Please check out the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage: https://folklife.si.edu

Written by Paul Vogelzang

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