More audio for rare/rarish languages: Ossetic, Afrikaans, Low German, Ojibwe, etc.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Back in August I wrote a post on an account on YouTube that was great for listening to audio samples of rare languages, an account that is devoted to introducing the most common type of Christianity in North America (the "Western Branch of American Reformed Presbo-Lutheranism" as Simpsons put it), with videos in languages that I and you have never even heard of. The only downside to these videos is that most of them don't have a transcript, so it's a bit of a tease if you're studying a rare language and would like to have an audio sample along with text but have only found an audio sans text sample yet again.

Well, the other day I found something much better - this site. Instead of just 9-minute or so video clips this site has New Testaments in some 500 languages now, and most of them are not just one person recording the text but also a bit of drama and music as well, making it much more fun to follow along. Entire New Testaments can be downloaded, but it's very slow so if you simply want to sample some of the languages offered it's best to just stream a track or two using the player at the bottom. I've been listening to the Afrikaans version and it's great, especially considering how rare such content is in Afrikaans. This site has a lot of good music and a fair number of audio recordings, but with the entire New Testament (+ psalms and proverbs) that means a total of some 400+ tracks which is phenomenal. It's fun to hear it read in a large number of voices instead of just one as is usually the case, although Mary's voice in the beginning of Luke in Afrikaans is a bit weird. She sounds like she's somewhere in her 60s already even though she would have been somewhere around high school age as a young woman who had just gotten engaged.

Some of the languages they have that I'm interested in and have written about before:

  • Ossetian/Ossetic: drama version of the New Testament, a very rare find. Ossetic is one of the hardest languages to find content for, especially if you don't know Russian.
  • Armenian - has Western non-drama version, nothing yet for Eastern.
  • French - regular French, but also Canadian French! Both drama versions.
  • Ojibwe - drama version of the New Testament. I've never written about Ojibwe here before but as a native language it really stood out. Once again a very rare find.
  • Tok Pisin - drama version. No Bislama yet though.
  • Latvian, Lithuanian - non-drama versions.
  • Low German (plautdietsch) - non-drama version.
  • Estonian - nothing yet. Damn! *Shakes fist at the sky* I can never find good audio with text for Estonian.
  • Maltese - nothing here either.
  • Persian - drama version, a nice find.
  • Romanian - drama version, also a nice find.
  • Mongolian - nothing yet
  • Uzbek - drama version of 'nothern' Uzbek
  • Tatar - drama version

And many more. This group is focusing on rare languages and languages where literacy is low (hence the audio), and is aiming for 3000 language by 2016 so chances are languages like Maltese, Mongolian, Estonian etc. will be added on relatively soon, and I expect Eastern Armenian to show up sooner rather than later too.

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