April 11, 2012
Pizza and a (Language) Movie: The Human Language, Part 3: The Human Language Evolves “With and Without Words”
Why chimps can’t talk and we can. How language must be a biological phenomenon. How the human Larynx “fell” and we acquired new vowels. How we inherited body language, gestures, and facial expressions from our animal past, but only we have the most human thing there is about being human.
April 4, 2012
At a time when 31 states have passed “English Only” laws, four pioneering families put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly in a foreign language.
Speaking in Tongues follows four diverse kids on a journey to become bilingual. This charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need to succeed in the 21st century.
March 26, 2012
From World of Wonder Productions and filmmaker Billy Luther, whose own mother was crowned Miss Navajo 1966, the film reveals the inner beauty of the young women who compete in this celebration of womanhood. Not only must contestants exhibit poise and grace as those in typical pageants, they must also answer tough questions in Navajo and demonstrate proficiency in skills essential to daily tribal life: fry-bread making, rug weaving and sheep butchering.
The film follows the path of 21-year-old Crystal Frazier, a not-so-fluent Navajo speaker and self-professed introvert, as she undertakes the challenges of the pageant. It is through Crystal’s quiet perseverance that we see the strength and power of Navajo womanhood revealed. No matter who takes the crown, this is a journey that will change her life. Interspersed with pageant activities are interviews with former Miss Navajos, whose cheerful recollections of past pageants break the tension the current contestants are undergoing.
Their memories provide a glimpse into the varying roles Miss Navajo is called upon to perform: role model, teacher, advisor, and Goodwill Ambassador to the community and the world at large. For more than 50 years, Miss Navajo Nation has celebrated women and their traditional values, language and inner beauty.
As winners of the pageant, women are challenged to take on greater responsibility, becoming community leaders fluent in the Navajo language and knowledgeable about their culture and history. The film reveals the importance of cultural preservation, the role of women in continuing dying traditions and the surprising role that a beauty pageant can play.
March 14, 2012
The Human Language Series is made up of three films. We will show the first two,
Discovering the Human Language: “Colorless Green Ideas”
Noam Chomsky asks, “You meet somebody, say, at a bus stop, and you start having a conversation. How do you do it?” How does anyone know what word to say next? Program one is about words, sentences, and something unique to our species: syntax.
Acquiring the Human Language: “Playing the Language Game”
Are children wrong when they say “he drived” and “two gooses?” How does anyone know what a word really means? Do we inherit grammar? Program two is about how children “acquire” language without seeming to be taught.
February 22, 2012
Scientists estimate that of 7,000 languages in the world, half will be gone by the end of this century. On average, one language disappears every two weeks.
THE LINGUISTS joins 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.
THE LINGUISTS world premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The only film funded by the National Science Foundation ever at Sundance, THE LINGUISTS has since screened at more than thirty festivals worldwide.
February 8, 2012
One summer day in 1798, a naked boy eleven or twelve years of age (Jean-Pierre Cargol) is found in a forest in the rural district of Aveyron in southern France. A woman sees him, then runs off screaming. She finds some hunters and tells them that she saw a wild boy. They hunt him down with a pack of dogs (a Beauceron, a German Shepherd, an Airedale Terrier and an English Springer Spaniel). The dogs, upon picking up the boy’s scent, chase him up a tree. A branch breaks off, and the dogs attack him when he falls. He fights them off leaving one wounded, then continues to flee and hides in a hole. The dogs continue to follow his scent, eventually finding his hiding hole. The hunters arrive and force him out of the hole using smoke to cut off his air supply. After he emerges, the men grab him.
Living like a wild animal and unable to speak or understand language, the child has apparently grown up in solitude in the forest since an early age. He is brought to Paris and initially placed in a school for “deaf-mutes“. Dr. Jean Marc Gaspard Itard (François Truffaut) observes the boy and believes that he is neither deaf nor, as some of his colleagues believe, an “idiot“. Itard thinks the boy’s behavior is a result of his deprived environment, and that he can be educated.
Itard takes custody of the boy, whom he eventually names Victor, and removes him to his house on the outskirts of Paris. There, under the patient tutelage of the doctor and his housekeeper (Françoise Seigner), Victor gradually becomes socialized and acquires the rudiments of language.
There is a narrow margin between the laws of civilization in rough Parisian life and the brutal laws of life in nature. Victor finds a sort of equilibrium in the windows that mark the transition between the closed interiors and the world outside. But he gains his ability to have social relations by losing his capacity to live as a savage.
February 1, 2012
The theme for Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2012 is Language: How We Communicate. Experience a very unique form of communication when you join us for this extraordinary haunting 1980 documentary.
Poto and Cabengo were identical twins who used a language unknown to other people until the age of eight. These San Diego twins, with little exposure to the outside world, created a private form of communication. A caseworker advised speech therapy, where it was quickly discovered that the young twins had invented a complex language of their own.
Director Jean-Pierre Gorin’s investigation of this phenomenon looks at the family from a variety of angles, with the director taking on the role of a sort of sociological detective. It’s a delightful and absorbing study of words and faces, mass media and hauntingly personal isolation. The film is not rated.
January 18, 2012
The Wampanoag nation of southeastern Massachusetts ensured the survival of the Pilgrims in New England, and lived to regret it. We Still Live Here – Âs Nutayuneân tells the story of the return of the Wampanoag language, the first time a language with no native speakers for many generations has been revived in this country. Spurred on by an indomitable linguist named Jessie Little Doe, the Wampanoag are bringing their language and their culture back.
January 15, 2012
This year’s Read focuses on the book Born On A Blue Day: Inside The Mind Of An Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet – a journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today—guided by the owner himself. Gain insight into the mind of this extraordinary individual – one of the world’s 100 living geniuses – when you join us for this intriguing documentary, first broadcast in Britain in 2005. The Boy With The Incredible Brain is Daniel Tammet’s breathtaking story. A twenty-something with extraordinary mental abilities, he is one of the world’s few savants. He can do calculations to 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week.This documentary follows Daniel as he travels to America to meet the scientists who are convinced he may hold the key to unlocking similar abilities in everyone. He also meets the world’s most famous savant, the man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning film Rain Man.