Endangered Languages Week 2008
School of Oriental and African Studies
30 April to 8 May 2008
UK Premiere 7pm, May 7 2008
Khalili Lecture, SOAS
Free admission · turn up early · booking not required
A Documentary by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy
Newberger. Official Selection 2008 Sundance Film Festival
This screening is free and open to all. David
Harrison, featured in the film, will introduce it and
answer questions from the audience after the show. Seats
are limited and available on a first-come first-served
Researchers estimate that there are 7,000 languages spoken
across the world, and half are threatened with extinction
by the end of this century. On average, one language disappears
every two weeks.
THE LINGUISTS follows David Harrison and Gregory Anderson,
scientists racing to document languages on the verge of
extinction. David and Greg’s round-the-world journey
takes them deep into the heart of the cultures, knowledge,
and communities at stake.
In Siberia, David and Greg seek to record the Chulym language,
which hasn’t been heard by outsiders for more than thirty
years. The linguists encounter remnants of the racist Soviet
regime that may have silenced Chulym for good.
In India, tribal children attend boarding schools, where
they learn Hindi and English, a trade, and the pointlessness
of their native tongues. Similar boarding schools for tribal
children existed in the US through most of the twentieth century.
David and Greg travel to the children’s villages, where
economic unrest has stirred a violent Maoist insurgency. The
linguists witness the fear and poverty that have driven youth
from their native communities.
In Bolivia, the Kallawaya language has survived for centuries
with fewer than one hundred speakers. David and Greg trek
high into the Andes to unlock its secret.
THE LINGUISTS is a presentation of Ironbound Films,
Inc., produced and directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller,
and Jeremy Newberger.
Full programme of events