December 17, 2007

Coming to a theater near you?

Earlier this year I told you about the publication of the book When Languages Die by K. David Harrison, then I told you about some of the media coverage of the work behind the book, and then I told you about Harrison's appearance on The Colbert Report. I'm now happy to report to the Language Log readership that an NSF-supported documentary starring Harrison and his colleague Greg Anderson is scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January!

The documentary, produced by Ironbound Films, is simply called The Linguists (follow the link for a preview). Here's a brief synopsis, copied from this LINGUIST List announcement [update: modified here] from the producers:

It is estimated that of 7,000 languages in the world, half will be gone by the end of this century. THE LINGUISTS follows David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, scientists racing to document languages on the verge of extinction. In Siberia, India, and Bolivia, the linguists' resolve is tested by the very forces silencing languages: institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. David and Greg's journey takes them deep into the heart of the cultures, knowledge, and communities at risk when a language dies.

This is the first time that an NSF-supported documentary has made it to Sundance. Congrats and kudos to David and Greg, to Ironbound Films, and to the NSF for supporting the work in the first place. Let's hope it leads at the very least to increased awareness of the dangers facing the diversity of language and culture, and to more work being done by more people to manage those dangers and that diversity wisely.

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at December 17, 2007 04:16 PM