LINGUIST List 19.1463

Thu May 01 2008

FYI: Opening Day of the National Museum of Language

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <>

        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 <>
Subject: Opening Day of the National Museum of Language
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The National Museum of Language in College Park, Maryland opened yesterday to an enthusiastic crowd ofstudents 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 andLogographic.

This was the special “sneak preview” for a group of students and invitedguests. An Arabic-speaking reporter and a photographer from the AssociatedPress came; their report will be shown on Kuwait TV news. The reportersaid we were the only museum she knew of treating Arabic. They filmed themorning session in which we had a group of 10 sixth graders visit. Thequote of the day is from a little boy who said, ''This is so fun! This isbetter than recess!'' The students enjoyed learning to do Chinese andJapanese calligraphy on the 'magic paper' on which they drew with bamboobrushes and water. They represented many different heritage languagebackgrounds - Punjabi, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic among others. So theycould 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 ofUniversity Park came in right after we opened to inquire. He stayed for thewhole morning session with the kids, and said he was going to inform theUniversity Park Mayor, which he did. The Mayor came to the afternoonsession and the Chief came with him. The Mayor is of Swedish background,speaks Swedish, and Chief Wynnik, of Ukrainian background, knows just alittle Ukrainian.

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

We are looking forward now to the grand opening to the public thisSaturday. Download your personal invitation here:

The mission of The National Museum of Language to enhance understanding of all aspects of language in history,contemporary affairs, and the future. By fostering the study of the natureof language, its development, and its role and importance in society, andby exploring linguistic problems and ways of overcoming them, the Museumwill serve as a resource for people in all walks of life, and willcontribute to better understanding and communication among individuals andamong the peoples of the world.

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