So when you give someone a name, you’re giving them part of your soul. And when you accept a name, you’re both accepting the soul given and you’re giving part of your own. So you’re connected in ways that are profound and meaningful and communicated by the very word which the English translation ‘namesake’ doesn’t really cover.
—David Treuer, an author and translator who spoke to Krista for our show, “Language and Meaning, an Ojibwe Story”
Trent Gilliss, online editor
News Surrounding Languages
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer
A couple of interesting items as we approach the show on languages, in which we speak to novelist David Treuer about his efforts at the revitalization of Ojibwe.
What’s the Ojibwe Word for Beep?
“An Ojibwe Language Society Calendar” (photo: Hanson Dates/flickr)
Rob McGinley Myers, Associate Producer
Working on an upcoming SOF show about endangered languages, I called a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University to get recordings of Ojibwe speakers for the radio program and website. His answering machine message was delivered first in Ojibwe and then in English. Then this week I called someone who works at an Ojibwe immersion school in Wisconsin, and his answering machine message was Ojibwe only.
It was a little disorienting but also inspiring to hear the language in this modern context, especially considering that Ojibwe is one of only a handful of Native American languages now spoken in the United States and Canada that is expected to survive beyond 2050.