Friday, May 25, 2012

Encounter with an Angry God

Wow, this is something I am really excited about:  there's going to be a movie about John Peabody Harrington.  If you don't know who he was, well, it's complicated.  He was a linguist (1884-1961) who was obsessed with recording the speech of every single California Indian he could find (and some who were from elsewhere too).  He was tremendously talented and tremendously paranoid, hiding his materials here and there in attics and other places around the state.  What has been found makes up an enormous (dare I say GInormous) treasure trove of recordings of languages most of which are no longer spoken.  There's a project on his materials at UC Davis - it says that he left behind about 500,000 pages of notes, of which approximately half are on CA languages.  Well, that's the number of pages we know about, anyway.

You can watch a trailer for the movie here - I gather it's still in production.  It looks like it'll be good (although I couldn't figure out why they had math symbols floating around in several scenes - no phonetic alphabet font???), and they also have a Facebook page.

Can't wait!

(Here are a couple of additional links where you can read about JPH:  link, link, link.)

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