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To accompany the current Allusionist miniseries Survival, about minority languages facing suppression and extinction, we're revisiting this double bill of The Key episodes about why languages die and how they can be resuscitated.
The Rosetta Stone and its modern equivalent the Rosetta Disk preserve writing systems to be read by future generations. But how do those generations decipher text that wasn't written with the expectation of requiring decipherment?
Features mild scenes of linguistic apocalypse.
Check the original posts - Part 1: Rosetta and Part 2: Vestiges - for links to the Rosetta Stone and Disk and for extra reading matter on these subjects. Since I visited the Long Now Foundation, the first mini wearable Rosetta Disks have been made; click here to read about them and find out how you might be able to buy one of the next batch.
There's a transcript of this episode at theallusionist.org/transcripts/survival-key.
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Come to see me perform live, on the Radiotopia East Coast USA tour and Bugle shows in May, and Allusionists in Australia in June: theallusionist.org/events. More gigs will be added to that page when tickets go on sale.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Laura Welcher is the director of the Rosetta Project at the Long Now Foundation, based in the Interval in the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco.
- Ilona Regulski is the curator for Egyptian culture at the British Museum.
- Nick Zair's book about Oscan is Oscan in the Greek Alphabet. Learn more about his work in the Oscan-translating project at greekinitaly.wordpress.com.
- Irving Finkel is a curator in the Middle East department at the British Museumand the author of The Ark before Noah. He also founded The Great Diary Project.
- Julie Tetel Andresen is a linguistic historiographer and author; her website is julietetelandresen.com.
- Thanks to Sian Toogood and Nick Harris from the British Museum, and Avery Trufelman.
- The music is all by Martin Austwick, who writes and sings songs as Pale Bird. One of the pieces in this episode was recorded by hitting a pen onto a lamp!
- Find me on the socials: facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/helenzaltzman and instagram.com/helenzaltzman.