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LINGUIST List 19.1463

Thu May 01 2008

FYI: Opening Day of the National Museum of Language

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <mattlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Jill Robbins, Opening Day of the National Museum of Language


Message 1: Opening Day of the National Museum of Language
Date: 30-Apr-2008
From: Jill Robbins <jillrobbinsgmail.com>
Subject: Opening Day of the National Museum of Language
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The National Museum of Language in College Park, Maryland
http://languagemuseum.org/ opened yesterday to an enthusiastic crowd of
students and VIPS from the language community in the Washington, DC area.
The topic of the first exhibition is ''Writing Language: Passing it on''
and two major types of writing systems are presented, Alphabetic and
Logographic.

This was the special “sneak preview” for a group of students and invited
guests. An Arabic-speaking reporter and a photographer from the Associated
Press came; their report will be shown on Kuwait TV news. The reporter
said we were the only museum she knew of treating Arabic. They filmed the
morning session in which we had a group of 10 sixth graders visit. The
quote of the day is from a little boy who said, ''This is so fun! This is
better than recess!'' The students enjoyed learning to do Chinese and
Japanese calligraphy on the 'magic paper' on which they drew with bamboo
brushes and water. They represented many different heritage language
backgrounds - Punjabi, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic among others. So they
could add to our explanations of the writing systems of the various languages.

There was a sign outside near the sidewalk, and the Chief of Police of
University Park came in right after we opened to inquire. He stayed for the
whole morning session with the kids, and said he was going to inform the
University Park Mayor, which he did. The Mayor came to the afternoon
session and the Chief came with him. The Mayor is of Swedish background,
speaks Swedish, and Chief Wynnik, of Ukrainian background, knows just a
little Ukrainian.

We had between 50 and 60 attendees. A group of the founders of the Museum
were in attendance, and pleased to see the results of their ten years of
efforts working toward this event. There were many of the leading lights of
the area language world there, so it was very gratifying to meet them and
hear their comments. Marty Abbott and Bret Lovejoy of ACTFL were there; and
Jerry Lampe of the National Foreign Language Center visited, as did
professors and department heads from the University of Maryland. Bill
Bremmer and Marjorie Cook of SIL were there to see the work that their
colleagues from the JAARS Museum of the Alphabet in Waxhaw, NC, contributed.

We are looking forward now to the grand opening to the public this
Saturday. Download your personal invitation here:
http://languagemuseum.org/images/May3_NML_Invitation.pdf

The mission of The National Museum of Language http://languagemuseum.org/
is to enhance understanding of all aspects of language in history,
contemporary affairs, and the future. By fostering the study of the nature
of language, its development, and its role and importance in society, and
by exploring linguistic problems and ways of overcoming them, the Museum
will serve as a resource for people in all walks of life, and will
contribute to better understanding and communication among individuals and
among the peoples of the world.

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Writing Systems

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