"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." Samuel P. Huntington

maandag, november 28, 2005

When a Language Dies

"Cuando muere una lengua,
estrellas, sol y luna,
las cosas humanas,
pensar y sentir,
no se reflejan en eso espejo."

"When a language dies,
the divine things,
stars, sun and moon,
the human things.
to think and to feel,
are no longer reflected in this mirror."

"Cuando muere una lengua
todo lo que hay en el mundo,
mares y rios,
animales y plantas,
ni se piensen, ni se pronuncian
con atisbos, con sonidos,
que no existan ya."

"When a language dies,
all that there is in this world,
oceans and rivers,
animals and plants,
do not think of them,
do not pronounce their names,
they do not exist now."

"Cuando muere una lengua,
sus palabras de amor,
entonacion de dolor y querencias,
tal vez viejos cantos,
relatos, discursos, plegarias,
nadie, cual fueran,
alcanzara a repetir."

"When a language dies,
its words of love,
intonations of pain and caring,
perhaps the old songs,
the old stories, the speeches, the prayers,
no one no matter whom
will be able to repeat them again."

"Cuando muere una lengua,
ya mucho han muerto,
and mucho mas pueden morir,
espejos para siempre quebrados,
sombras de voces
siempre acalladas,
la humanidad se empobreze
Cuando muere una lengua"

"When a language dies,
then many have died,
and many more will die soon,
mirrors forever broken,
shadows of voices
forever silenced,
humanity grows poorer
when a language dies."

- "When a Language Dies", translated from the Aztec by Miguel Leon Portillo (English translation: John Ross)

The planet upon which we dwell is no longer the Tower of Babel it once was. Like bio-diversity, linguistic diversity is drying up at an alarming rate. Of 6000 known human languages, half are in imminent danger of disappearing, and 90% could be erased forever within a century, according to dire UNESCO reports. One language system is lost every two weeks, the United Nations cultural agency warns.