[meteorite-list] Meteorite in World Languages seeking help with another 168 languages

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 00:12:06 -0600
Message-ID: <15d301c834aa$44442360$4b29e146_at_ATARIENGINE>


    As the old saying has it, "I only know what I read
in the newspapers," or in this case the Wikipedia. The
Wiki URL quotes a set of accusations made in a recent
book and presents SIL's reply to those accusations as
well. I know no more about it than that, and I mentioned
it only in the interests of maintaining balance as those
accusations are not trivial ones.

    But I know no more about it than that. Since there are
only 450 or so languages with 1000 speakers or more,
SIL's goal, of course, involves the many thousands of
unique languages of smaller groups, essentially remote
tribal peoples. This wealth of languages is being lost at
a rapid rate, and who knows what clues to history is
being lost with them?

    The reconstruction of the relationships of the Indo-
European languages opened a window onto the historical
period from about 7000 BC to 2000 BC that is accessible
no other way than through the evolution of these languages,
and the same is true for many other language groups.

    By all means, ask them about meteorite terms. I suspect that
a crucial factor is whether SIL translators regard the Hebrew
word "barad" as meaning "hail" or meaning "stone" (in the
sense of a meteorite). All other possible references to meteors
and meteorites in the Bible are allusions rather than a direct
name. If they think "barad" means "meteorite," then there would
be a compelling reason for them to find a corresponding word
in the target language of the translation. Otherwise... it doesn't
come up often in talking about everyday affairs.

    By an odd coincidence, I heard an NPR story today about
a nearly extinct native language in Mexico. There are only two
speakers of the language left alive, both very elderly, and they
aren't talking to each other. I mean, they're mad at each other
and have refused to speak to each other for a number of years
now, thus depriving their respective families the chance to learn
and preserve the language.

    I don't see a way out of that extinction dilemma.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas Webb
To: Sterling K. Webb ; meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 10:28 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Meteorite in World Languages
seekinghelpwithanother 168 languages

Sterling wrote:
Rather than being an academic product, it is published
by SIL International, an organization that attempts
to translate The Bible into every language of man.
Despite their considerable linguistic efforts, the group
has generated considerable controversy as well:

Sterling and list,
I find very little controversy involved with SIL and their sister
organization Wycliffe. I have allowed their aviation enabling arm (JAARS)
to train their new pilots in a field I own for several years now and have
found them to be one of the best groups of people as well as the most
competent pilots that I have ever met. Each pilot is also an airframe and
power-plant mechanic. They use short take-off and landing airplanes which
allows them to get into and out of my 20 acre field which is ringed with
trees. This field is to their liking because it allows them to simulate to
their trainees the type of flying that will be required in many remote areas
around the world where they are doing translation work. They don't ask for
money but many Churches and other organizations give them support and they
seem to get enough to do the work.
To make this relate to meteorites, this group has asked me to speak to
their trainees on meteorites and show them some examples on several
occasions and I have complied. It is always gratifying to see how
interested they are in the subject. They're primarily concerned with
translating the Bible, but I'll question them to see if they know how many
of these languages might have reference to meteorites in them.
Thanks and
My best,
Thomas H. Webb

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Received on Sun 02 Dec 2007 01:12:06 AM PST

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