Languages, Minorities and Social Psychology

ORHELIA and anthropology research team member Roza Laptander shares the following from a conference she presented at:

The 13 International Conference on Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP), is an initiative of the International Association of Language and Social Psychology (IALSP), which was organized in conjunction with Mercator, European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. The conference was last week in Leeuwarden, the capital city of the Friesland (the Netherlands).

Roza Laptander presenting in the Netherlands

On the Conference participants from different parts of the World discussed the present situation of minority languages. How to safe languages and how to make people to speak them again is an urgent question. There were different presentations about the Linguistic Landscape, Communication, Multilinguasm, Teaching Minority languages, Ethnic Minorities and Tourism.
My presentation was about history and modernization of the educational system for indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation. In the Yamal peninsula there are over 14,000 nomadic people with an indigenous Status in the Russian Federation.

Obdorsk (Salekhard) missionary school – beginning of the XX century. Father Irinarkhus with his pupils. Western Siberia, Russia

The indigenous population of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District are Nenets, Khanty, and Selkups. Many of them live according to their traditional way of life fishing and working with reindeer. Their pre-school age children stay with them and older children are brought up in boarding schools, at a distance from their families and traditional culture. This situation is one of the main reasons of indigenous language loss among the young generation.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century the state education for indigenous people was very poor. Only missionaries provided formal education for indigenous people.

The educational system of the Yamalo-Nenetskij district can not ignore the culture and lifestyle of the people, who are reindeer herders, hunters and fishermen.

Children from the boarding school. Yamal.
Photo R. Laptander, 2012

Their children, studying and living in boarding schools, are separated from their parents, ethnic background for the whole school year time. This 13-th ISCLAP conference was fruitful, productive and connected together scholars from different disciplines who explore language and communication in their social context.

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One Response to Languages, Minorities and Social Psychology

  1. fstammle says:

    The following was submitted by somebody from the US, Petr Jandacek:

    Do you realize that the European Arctic STALLO and the American Arctic TSONOQUA are one and the same
    Why are the words for ELEPHANT
    so similar across EURASIA ??
    (Keep in mind that S, Z, K, G, are interchangeable as in Caesar, Kaiser, TZar, Císař, and Know & Gnostic.)

    Amharic (Horn of Africa)……. ZehONa (ዝሆን)
    fits into the EURASIAN mosaic of lexemes.
    Georgian ..kartuli……………….. SP I’ LO (სპილო)
    contains Semitic PIL as well as Slavic SLOn
    Some linguists speculate that Kartulian languages are the foundation of Semitic, Ural-Altaic and Indo-European language families.)
    Chinese …………………………..SeeAHNg (sδaŋ)
    Hakka (south China) …………. SiONg (sδoŋ)
    Tocharian A ……………. onKaLAM
    Tocharian B……………… onKoLMo
    Tocharian words for ELEPHANT “onKOLMo” & “onKOLaM”may have been derived from
    Tibetan GLAN or from Slavic OKEL / KEL = TUSK.
    Latvian …………………….. … ZiLONus
    Saami/Lapp …………………… SLONN
    Tibetan………………………….. GLAN
    Slavic (MANY languages!)….. SLON (слон)
    Polish (Slavic variant) ………. S”u”ON (Słon)
    Vietnamese …………………… CON voi
    Mongol………………………….. ZaAN
    Japanese ……………………….. ZOsAN
    Laotian …………………………….SANg (Saŋ)
    Thai ……………………………….CHANg (Čaŋ)
    Roma(in Slovenia)…………… SLONO
    Kalderaš………………woroSLANo, SLONo, ilifanto
    Additional evidence in words for tooth, tusk and ivory.

    sang-a
    “ivory” in Korean (similar to the Laotian word for “Elephant”)
    —————————————-
    zouge
    ivory in Japanese: (resembles some Bantu words for “Elephant”)
    —————————————-
    elefántcsont
    “ivory” in Hungarian
    —————————————-
    norsunluu
    “ivory” in Finnish
    ————————————————–
    norsu (u-SRON backwards)
    “elephant” in Finnish
    —————————————–
    ZAHN is the German word for TOOTH
    and quite similar to the Mongol word for Elephant = ZAAN.
    Often one can observe a similarity between Tooth/Ivory and ELEPHANT.
    ————————————————————————————————
    Stoßzahn is the German word for TUSK = means “Stab-Tooth”.
    ————————————————————————————————-
    In Kalderaš the words for IVORY are “ivorio” and “filo”. (filo is Semitic) (Ivorio is Indo-European)
    Roma and Karderaš words for Elephant and Ivory are significant because like nomadic hunters of mammoths the Romany peoples in the last few centuries were mobile and acquired loan-words from others.
    The SLONs continue to the Americas in MYTHS as TSONoquas…
    One should not expect Native Americans to have a word for “ELEPHANT”per se . MYTHOLOGY of Alaska and the North-West Coast has many stories of Cannibalistic Giants – Ogres with ELEPHANT-LIKE FEATURES, and names with phonemic elements like “SLON”:
    Tsunukwa (also spelled Dzunukwa, Dzoo-noo-qua, Dzoonokwa, Dsonoqua, Dzô’noqwa, Dzô’noq!wa, D’Sonoqua, and other ways): The Basket Ogress, a giant cannibal monster who catches human children and carries them off in her enormous pack basket.
    Franz Boas and other prominent anthropologists of the early 20th Century wrote of Mythologies about Cannibalistic GIANTS and OGRES in Alaska, North-West coast of North America, the Northern Rockies, and in Siberia. Others wrote about similar Mythological creatures in the cultures of the Saami of Lapland, Ancient Greeks, Wrangell Island, and even in Australia. Categorically, the Mythological Creatures which they describe are: 1. Very large. 2. Either male or female. 3. They have small, hollow, deep-set eyes and are almost blind. 4. Often they have only one eye. 5. They have copious bodily hair. 6. They have a siphon or a proboscis which they use to suck life (or blood)(or brains) out from people. 7. From their nose they blow out mucus (snots) at boys. 8. They have thick (pachyderm) skin which protects them from injury. 9. Humans dig pits and cover such with debris to create dead-fall traps (for creatures who have bulk rather than agility). 10. The Mythological creatures vocalize with whistle-like trumpeting sounds. 11. Females have large breasts (located – as on humans, in the thorax region). 12. They have a “Basket” on the upper back (hump for reserve?). 13. They have “Stones” on either side of the head (tusks?). 13. Very often the names of these Cannibalistic Ogres contain the phonemic clusters resembling the Chinese and/or Slavic words for “Elephant” = SIOŋ or SLON. 14. Note how TSONoqua, TSONerhwah, STALLO, CLOO-teekl… resemble the Chinese and/or Slavic words for “Elephant”. 15. The Giant Cannibals often have a LARGE CUTTING NOSE or GLASS BEAK. 16. The giants are drowsy and prone to lapse into catatonic sleep. 17. They have a mixture of human and quadruped features. 18. They go distances for water. 18. TSONoqua has magical treasure, she has supernatural power and she can return to life. 19. Described as a fat ugly woman. 20. Called: SPLIT PERSON (part human?) 20. These monsters Sit like a person. 21. As in Alaska and British Colombia (Canada) similar Cannibal Giantesses are in the Mythology of Koriaks and Chukchees. …in Siberia 22. Specifically, common to the Indian and Mongol-Turk tales a monster woman is described in the myths of the Bella Coola Indians as a cannibal who inserts her long snout in the ears of a man and sucks out his brain. 22. She is afterwards transformed into mosquitoes.
    With the detailed descriptions and tales of the OGRES provided above I was lead to the conclusion that these are in fact stories of ELEPHANTS and MAMMOTHS orally transmitted since the Upper Paleolithic. I was perplexed that Franz Boas (who is known as the Father of American Anthropology) did not make a similar leap of faith. Recently I had written two papers addressing the observation that the words for Elephant were very similar across Eurasia.

    Petr Jandacek, USA

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