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An exhibition of carved Vermont maple boards depicting many of the world's endangered forms of writing.
An exhibition of carved Vermont maple boards depicting many of the world's endangered forms of writing.
533 backers pledged $17,881 to help bring this project to life.

Progress, thanks, and a new reward

A joyful, novel event: a schoolgirl in the Chittagong Hill Tracts writing her own name in her own language. This would be unthinkable outside the schools we're helping, and this is why we're raising the funds to publish a dictionary in her language.
A joyful, novel event: a schoolgirl in the Chittagong Hill Tracts writing her own name in her own language. This would be unthinkable outside the schools we're helping, and this is why we're raising the funds to publish a dictionary in her language.

   A fine few days on the fundraising front, thanks to Omar Khan, Ann Sprayregen, Ted Laskaris, Ivan Brenes, Michele Kupersmith, Johnny Powell, John Tollefsen, mflgrmp, Kim Wilson, and Darren Cameron. Things are moving along so nicely we may be able to fund the first expansion of the original 100-word edition of the dictionary. Thanks so much to you all.

And with thanks in mind, I've created a new reward: one of my carvings--actually three of my carvings--featuring a very Zen-like proverb from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, written in the Marma language and alphabet: "It is only the pupils who become the masters." I suspect these will be snapped up quickly, so please support us right away at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict!

Thanks again, everyone.

Heartfelt thanks, news from our game, and we need a $500 day!

I can't say it any more clearly than this photo does: kids from the Chittagong Hill Tracts entranced by a book created and published by the partnership of the Endangered Alphabets Project, Our Golden Hour, and the Champlain College Publishing class.
I can't say it any more clearly than this photo does: kids from the Chittagong Hill Tracts entranced by a book created and published by the partnership of the Endangered Alphabets Project, Our Golden Hour, and the Champlain College Publishing class.

First, some very good news. Our current Kickstarter campaign has picked up momentum again, thanks to support from Jill Chase, Nicholas Doiron, Jackson Greer, Kim Hinson, Linda Schiffer, Giustina Selvelli, and Bob Twomey. I don't know which makes me feel more grateful--those who are backing us for the first time, or those who have backed us yet again. The link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict.

Now, some fun news. To highlight our project and to stay sane at this stressful time, I sent out a challenge inviting people to send me the word "dictionary" in as many different languages as possible. I'm going to print them out and stick them to my daughter's bedroom door. (She's studying in Paris, and these are a playful take on the Wall of Languages in Montmartre.) You can see the progress of this game and send your own submissions by finding and friending me on Facebook. So far my favorite translation of "dictionary" is "D@NearPalm-PalmDown-OpenB@CenterChesthigh-PalmUp."

Finally, the urgent news: in order to stay on track WE NEED TO RAISE AT LEAST $500 IN PLEDGES IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. Please take this seriously. Rally your friends. Copy and paste this appeal to your blog, or to a language blog you know, or in an email to colleagues. Print it out and post it up in your library. The only way we're going to make this goal is by recruiting an ever-expanding range of supporters.

Thanks, everyone.

Tim

Part of the Wall of Languages in Montmartre
Part of the Wall of Languages in Montmartre

 

A small but significant advance, and an invitation to play a language game

The famous language wall in Montmartre
The famous language wall in Montmartre

Phew! We finally broke through the $1,000 mark, thanks to help from Evan Rattner and Kim Hinson. We still have a very long way to go, but the first thousand, as they say, is the hardest.

While you're pondering your pledge (you can make it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict), I've started a game, or a challenge, for us all. 

For fun, and as a way of distracting myself from the anxiety that inevitably goes with running a Kickstarter, my challenge to linguists all over the world, with the help of that amazing polyglot Naoki Watanabe, is to ask you to send me the word "dictionary" translated into as many languages and scripts as you can. 

Let's start with 100, as Kickstarter is running this #Make100 campaign. I'm going to create something like the famous wall of languages in Montmartre: I'm going to print out what you send me and paste them all on the door of my daughter's bedroom (she's studying in Paris, becoming a linguist herself, bit by bit) and every day I'll post a photo of the door. 

My only condition for taking part: PLEASE support my current Kickstarter, either by making a pledge or by sharing these posts. Or by sending me the word "dictionary" in a language I've never seen! 

Oh, and make sure you snd me not only the word but the language you've translated it into. I know SO much less than I seem to. Now go for it!

Next: creating a children's endangered-language dictionary!

 Hey, everyone! Our new Kickstarter campaign has raced through the approval process and has already officially launched! 

Our goal: to raise $10,000 so we can publish children's pictorial dictionaries in several of the endangered languages of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. 

Our partner non-profit, Our Golden Hour, will then use them in schools in which instruction takes place in these indigenous languages. 

Check it all out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict, and PLEASE SUPPORT US!

Special gift offers--for Kickstarter supporters only!

"Sunrise"
"Sunrise"

 

What better gift for friends and family than something they have never seen in any catalogue or store?

As a special pre-Christmas offer to you, my faithful Kickstarter supporters, I'm putting two of my most popular carvings on sale at 50% off. Above, "Sunrise" (classic Mongolian script on distressed maple), for sale at the recent Open House for $1,000, now on sale for $500.

Below, "I love you" (traditional Javanese script on cherry), reduced from $950 to $400.

"I love you" in traditional Javanese script
"I love you" in traditional Javanese script

Prices include Priority Mail shipping within the U.S.; contact me for a price on overseas shipping and timing.

And speaking of timing--hurry! There is only one of each of these in the world, and besides, the rate at which Christmas is approaching is not going to slow down.

While you're at it, consider two other gifts: We're trying to sell 20 Endangered Alphabets T-shirts over the next two days at https://teespring.com/shop/endangeredalphabets, and 10 copies of my book Endangered Alphabets (the new expanded second edition, available at www.endangeredalphabets.com) by Christmas. Please help!

All profits support the registered non-profit Endangered Alphabets Project in our work to support minority and indigenous cultures worldwide. Tell your friends!

Thanks again.

Tim