20 February, 2021

Civilization, or, Humans Are Equal?

Posted by Socrates in 'Native Americans', America, America as a 'melting pot', America as Wonderland, America-the-sitcom, egalitarianism, human equality, Navajo, Socrates at 12:10 pm | Permanent Link

One of the key features of a civilization is: having a written language.

A state government agency sent me an unwanted letter (i.e, the letter contained no money, heh-heh). It mentioned that, if I needed it, the agency could provide language translations for me in some 20 different languages, including: Korean, Chinese, Persian/Farsi, American Negro, San Francisco Feminist, East L.A. Wetback, Apache and Navajo. Gee, thanks.

What country do they think this is???

Speaking of Navajo: The Navajo Indians (of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico) had no written language until circa 1937, when a White man (Robert W. Young) created one for them [1]; to make the new written language, he had to create spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, etc. He worked in partnership with a Navajo man (a friend of his) on the project to create the written language (which was sort of difficult because Navajo is tonal, like Chinese, and many words sound alike, also like Chinese). That’s just plain sad. It never occurred to the Navajo people to have a language that could be written down if needed??? Like: Wife: “Honey, I left you a message on the big rock near the front door!” Husband: “Well, we don’t have a written language so I didn’t get the message, did I?? I only saw 3 pebbles and a stick!” Wife: “Yes, doofus! That means ‘I’ll be back at sundown tomorrow, be sure to stop at the store and bring home a gallon of milk, and feed the dog!'” Husband: “Oh, I thought that meant ‘keep your hands off of the cute neighbor next door or I’ll murder you in your sleep!'”

The Navajo people do make some neat jewelry, though.

.

[1] Young (1912-2007) was a professor of linguistics at the University of New Mexico


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