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Asking trees their names - Samantha Gillogly: Violinist, Violist, Composer

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March 7th, 2009

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10:17 pm - Asking trees their names
Found this last night in a book I'm currently reading, Vanishing Voices: the Extinction of the World's Languages by Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine. The concept of a language that's designed to grow with the ecosystem in which it is spoken just blew my mind. Made me think of something Tolkien's elves would have done:

"In the Native American language, Micmac, trees are named for the sound the wind makes when it blows through them during the autumn, about an hour after sunset when the wind always comes from a certain direction. Moreover, these names are not fixed but change as the sound changes. If an elder remembers, for example, that a certain stand of trees used to be called by a particular name 75 years ago but is now called by another, these terms can be seen as scientific markers for the effects of acid rain over that time period."

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