Dear Friends of the Endangered Alphabets:
It’s now or never. We have less than 10 days to raise more than $5,000 in our current campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict), and the urgency level has just reached critical.
If you’ve been half-thinking of supporting us, please hesitate no longer.
So in order to help crank open those rusty floodgates, I’m throwing the kitchen sink at you in terms of rewards. (Apologies for the mixed plumbing metaphors, there. It’s a symptom of stress.)
FIRST NEW REWARD: THE ENDANGERED ALPHABETS TRAVEL MUG
Sturdy, handy, attractive, thermally insulated, the accessory every busy person needs. Featuring a still life photo by my daughter Zoe Brookes showing my work in progress.
SECOND NEW REWARD: THE MARMA PROVERB MUG
Carved live at the Smithsonian, this coffee mug displays a proverb in Marma, one of the languages we’ll be including in our children’s pictorial dictionary. I mean, who else will have a coffee mug like this?
THIRD NEW REWARD: THE MARMA NOTEBOOK
What better way to jot down your thoughts on language as you travel? An elegant, well-made and eminently practical notebook displaying the Marma proverb I carved at the Smithsonian.
FOURTH NEW REWARD: PRINT OF THE CHAKMA HUMAN RIGHTS CARVING IN PROGRESS
One of my first acts to support Our Golden Hour as they began developing the schools where indigenous children can be educated in their own mother tongues was to carve the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their languages, for display in the schools. This is the Chakma version in progress, showing the method to my method. Chakma is one of the languages that will be included in our children’s picture-book dictionary.
FIFTH NEW REWARD: MY ENDANGERED ALPHABETS BOOK
This is the book that tells the story of the Alphabets, from making Christmas presents on my dining-room table to getting emails from strangers in Ulan Baatar and Djakarta sending me pieces of text to carve. Lavishly illustrated, as they say. Expanded second edition with more photos, more alphabets, and the notoriously hard Endangered Alphabets Quiz.
If none of these rewards thrills you, suggest others! But whatever you do please back us at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict/, and please forward this link or this update to anyone who you think might be interested, nudging them gently but firmly.
As the deadline of our current Kickstarter approaches, we’re starting to gain some of the velocity we need to reach that $10,000 goal, thanks to Greta Bell, Kathy Leo-Nyquist, Josh Koehn, Paul Tacon, Tor Iver Wilhelmsen and Irina Wang. To all of you, sincere gratitude.
As one way of showing our thanks, we’re offering a new reward: anyone who pledges $20 or more at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict/ will have his or her name included in a special acknowledgments page in the dictionary. This includes everyone who has already pledged!
And the other new reward is in the photo at the head of this update: for anyone who pledges $350 or more, I’ll carve the iconic phrase “Mother tongue”–the right to speak, read and write in one’s own language that is at the heart of everything the Endangered Alphabets does–in cherrywood.
What better way to display your commitment to this children’s-dictionary project and the commitment to cultural diversity it represents?
Well, we succeeded in the Super Weekend $500 challenge, thanks to Laurie Price, Alec Julien and Chris McLaren. By the time the Patriots were mounting their comeback, these three had intercepted and sacked the $500, and it was lying defeated on the goal line.
Next goal: $10,000 in total pledges. At this point we’re hoping to reach our stretch goal of $15,000 by the campaign is over, which would enable us to print more copies of the dictionary and get it into not only the schools but the communities. But first we have to get to $10,000.
At the rate our supporters are coming forward, we should be able to get there by Friday, February 10th. So let’s set that as our aim: noon EST on Friday. Please back us at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496420787/100-words-for-a-childrens-endangered-language-dict/.
Ten thousand by the tenth. Let’s do it!
Thanks so much.
First, some very good news. Our 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. Make a pledge yourself. 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.
No Kickstarter campaign I’ve ever run or consulted on has received such overwhelming, widespread, heartfelt support and encouragement. We’ve had messages from all over the world wishing us luck, offering assistance, sharing the photos and video, validating the project.
Our 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!
Two carvings for my forthcoming exhibition at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, on International Mother Language Day.
Both say “mother tongue,” the top one in Thai Lanna, the lower one in Mandaean. The woods are monkey pod and olive respectively.
The exhibition will open the day before International Mother Language Day–namely, February 20th–and will be up for a couple of weeks. Stop by if you’re in the area and I’ll be happy to give you a guided tour.
Please share this with anyone who might be interested!
Back in time for Christmas and other holiday shopping–the beautiful and attention-getting Endangered Alphabets T-shirt!
Our first campaign, a couple of months ago, was successful, and now people across the United States and Europe are wearing their T-shirts or will be unwrapping them in a few weeks’ time.
We’re doing one last gift-season campaign, aiming to sell at least 20 shirts in the next six-and-a-bit days.
The design, by Alec Julien and Zoë Brookes, features the Manchu word for “sky” or “heaven.” Find the T-shirts at https://teespring.com/shop/endangeredalphabets.
And while we’re at it, don’t forget to order your language-loving friends and relatives copies of the new expanded edition of my book Endangered Alphabets, the link for which can be found on the home page of this website.
All profits support the registered non-profit Endangered Alphabets Project in our work to support minority and indigenous cultures worldwide.
Tell your friends!
Thanks, and best wishes.