There's a really interesting piece in today's NYT
by John Noble Wilford about "endangered languages" --
Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists say, nearly half are in danger of extinction and likely to disappear in this century. In fact, one falls out of use about every two weeks.
So, this is not news, but the piece goes on to explore a project led by K. David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore --
Beginning what is expected to be a long-term project to identify and record endangered languages, Dr. Harrison has traveled to many parts of the world with Gregory D. S. Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute, in Salem, Ore., and Chris Rainier, a filmmaker with the National Geographic Society.
The researchers, focusing on distinct oral languages, not dialects, interviewed and made recordings of the few remaining speakers of a language and collected basic word lists. The individual projects, some lasting three to four years, involve hundreds of hours of recording speech, developing grammars and preparing children’s readers in the obscure language. The research has concentrated on preserving entire language families.
When I saw this story, my eyes zoomed in one one detail: it looks like Mr. Harrison, in the photo above at far left, is doing all that recording on the same device I use for audio recording. Link
to larger image, so you can see more clearly.
Unless I'm mistaken, that's a Marantz PMD660. Amazon link for purchase ($489-499, generally), and here's a super informative item about the device on transom.org.
The short version: it's not the smallest, it's not the lightest, it's not the cheapest, but it's a trusty workhorse capable of producing pro quality audio in a variety of formats. I began using it because it was standard-issue among NPR reporters, and audio engineers there showed me ways to get the most out of it. It's served me well in difficult sonic and environmental conditions, and I wouldn't readily trust another device. You got one shot at capturing something, you want to nail it. "Newest" isn't as important as "least likely to fail."
I'm planning a longer post sometime soon about the mics I use for field recording, and some of the smaller, more compact alternatives for recording units. (Hm, wonder what kind of mics they're using?)
Image: Chris Rainier/National Geographic.
I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside […]
Did you buy a useless $400 “smart” juicer and now feel the need to accessorize it with more extrusions from the Internet of Shit timeline? Then The Leaf from Teaforia is just the thing: it’s a tea-maker that uses DRM-locked tea-pods to brew tea in your kitchen so you don’t have to endure the hassle […]
A popular French blogger was killed after a pressurized whipped cream dispenser exploded and struck her in the chest. French media reported she had died of cardiac arrest after the incident, despite medical attention. The popular fitness and travel figure was well-known in France, with some 55,000 Facebook fans and 154,000 followers on Instagram. One […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]