Other Ways of Knowing

Since 1977 the Australian National University Press has published the Aboriginal History Journal. This yearly journal contains a wealth of historical and anthropological information. On page 343 of the 2010 edition – http://press.anu.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/whole51.pdf – there is a review by Iain Davidson (http://www.une.edu.au/staff-profiles/idavidso) of the book Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us by Nicholas Evans (https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/evans-nrd).

If the review is anything to go by this book is a must-read for anyone interested in endangered languages, language loss and why it is so important to retain different “ways of knowing”. I found Davidson’s penultimate sentence to be both poignant and hopeful.

“If it encourages only two people to venture into those lonely seats in the dust to help people record their knowledge of the world in language that no one will ever hear once they are gone, then he will have an adequate return on his investment.”

This book is certainly on my reading list.

Chris Langshaw

LING566 – Trimester 2, 2014

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