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The Little Prince in a 100 Languages
May 17, 2005 7:01 PM   Subscribe

If listening to sound of different languages is something you may be interested in, visit the multimedia language project website hosted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. It features the sound files of a small blurb from Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince read outloud in a 100 different languages. The blurbs are also textually transcribed. [See more inside]
posted by gregb1007 (22 comments total)

 
The front page link leads you to a map of the world, where you can click on a "magnifying glass" icon to zoom in on any of the continents and see a detailed map of that continent's languages. On that more detailed map, clicking on small icons in each geographical area will let you hear and read a translated blurb of little Prince into that locality's language. Of course, you probably will want to first hear the blurb in American English or in the original French before moving on to the other languages

The most interesting thing about this project is its spotlight on rarely spoken and died out languages. Some of the interesting languages that have died out include like Old English, Latin, Yiddish, and Old Greek

Some of the rarely used languages include minority Slavic languages like Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Macedonian, and the rather unique Swiss German

posted by gregb1007 at 7:11 PM on May 17, 2005


Speech Accent Archive – "This site examines the accented speech of speakers from many different language backgrounds reading the same sample paragraph [in English]."
posted by bitpart at 7:19 PM on May 17, 2005


bitpart, we've had that one noded before.
posted by gregb1007 at 7:22 PM on May 17, 2005


incidentally, I apologize for the mistake on the FPP, it should have said "If listening to the sounds of different languages .."
posted by gregb1007 at 7:22 PM on May 17, 2005


I know. It's just there for reference.
posted by bitpart at 7:23 PM on May 17, 2005


Must register joy that there was a version in Esperanto.
There's not too much good basic listening material, and this translation is actually fairly well written. (Yes, I evangelize for Esperanto, but only when it fits the occasion.)
posted by graymouser at 7:27 PM on May 17, 2005


Lovely. Thanks!
posted by homunculus at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2005


homounculus, for some reason Irish-Gaelic sounded like a middle-eastern language to me, maybe because of its heavy reliance on the Hs.
posted by gregb1007 at 7:51 PM on May 17, 2005


(Was back on Viewropa in November. Very cool idea.)
posted by shoepal at 8:25 PM on May 17, 2005


Very very cool. Thanks!
posted by vacapinta at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2005


This is wonderful! The Little Prince is my absolute favorite book of all time.
posted by absalom at 8:52 PM on May 17, 2005


That was way cool but sadly lacking in the Australasia area.

Also I was hoping for some native South American languages. Still, the different accents of Spanish and Portuguese were fun.
posted by nomis at 9:09 PM on May 17, 2005


I like the one in wolof, which I don't understand but my favorite music is in that language.
posted by mike3k at 9:47 PM on May 17, 2005


Thanks, Greg. As a sometimes German speaker, I appreciated the opportunity to hear various German dialects. But you're right, the really cool part is the dead languages.
posted by Gordon Smith at 11:39 PM on May 17, 2005


This was also said in the ViewRopa thread but I heard the Basque clip and it sounded like a Spanish speaker trying to speak another language! It actually made me sad to think that the older sounds/pronunciation of Basque may be lost already.
posted by vacapinta at 11:53 PM on May 17, 2005


Frisian, my native language spoken by >400,000 people, isn't shown.

For some reason Nord-Frisian, a far smaller minority language spoken in the North of Germany is, but not with the translated text shown, as that happens to be written in my kind of Frisian.
posted by ijsbrand at 1:01 AM on May 18, 2005


"Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur.
L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."

I expected that to be the quote. (C'est vrai.)
posted by exlotuseater at 3:59 AM on May 18, 2005


This is great, thanks. Though I admit I was hoping Georgian would be there.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:20 AM on May 18, 2005


Some of the interesting languages that have died out include like Old English, Latin, Yiddish, and Old Greek

Except for Yiddish, which isn't a dead language.
posted by oaf at 7:09 AM on May 18, 2005


What Wolfdog said (including about the Georgian). A great find.
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on May 18, 2005


This is a fantastic find, thanks so much. I sort of wish it was a different passage, but in a way, it highlights the fact that each bit of Exupery's work is able to be drawn out, and it just seems to still have meaning in all the different languages, even the ones I don't know. Fabulous.

(Though I do have to nitpick along with oaf that Yiddish isn't dead - I think it has about 3 million speakers still, no?)
posted by livii at 11:47 AM on May 18, 2005


It would be great if they expanded it even further. If I'm not mistaken two of the three American accents were variants of the Mid Atlantic region dialect. There are so many others that would be even more interesting. Of course, there were lots of dialects and languages I'd love to hear, but you can't have everything.

I listened to about 80 of these. My favorite was the two very distinct accents of Persian. THey were really beautiful, and sounded like completely different languages.

Thanks, gregb. This was a lot of fun.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:43 PM on May 18, 2005


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