This is not a German ‘lesson’ but still a video that should teach some lesson(s) (and it does involve German).
This video was created for a multimedia assignment in a Creative Writing paper. PLEASE COMMENT (on the video in youtube, not on this post if possible), let me know YOUR THOUGHTS – be PART of my assignment (I want it to be interactive!!)!!
Thanks for playing the guitar, Nicholas! Thanks to Nastassja and Goldie for ‘proof-watching’ it (so if there are still any (unintentional) ‘mistakes’ in it, you’re to blame! >P)!
If you don’t want to just watch it and interpret it your own way, but know what my intentions were, check out my notes below!
- the futuristic woman’s English is ‘different’ (mainly lacking articles), which is supposed to show that language change and language contact (German ‘und’ for ‘and’) may result in drastic changes
- the ‘fairy tale’ evokes expectations, just as the princess expects everyone to speak English, which fortunately isn’t the case because that would mean that many people would lose their jobs (e.g. translators), many cultures would die out, and the diversity of languages, dialects, accents and writing systems would disappear. Plus, fairy tales are entertaining and informative which allows them to persist. They may be designed for children (who are very important when it comes to language; they manage to acquire it in only a few years and are the ones who will end up being responsible for language change) but can transmit ‘hidden’ messages to adults, who like them just as much.
- The story brings up many issues in linguistics; miscommunication, ambiguity due to (no) intonation, visual cues, different writing systems, symbolism (how would we communicate if there was no language? With symbols? But how would we agree on their meanings?)… The effects of (the presence or absence of) voice (some voices appear ‘nicer’ to us), the advances in (language) technology (speech synthesis – is ‘standard’ best? Why do some people dislike dialects and accents? Similarly, writing on computers – do people end up making more spelling mistakes when they’re handwriting because they’re used to ‘letting computers correct them’?)
- I also threw in some ‘different’ issues; the environment (are technological advances really that great?), stereotypes (a black princess, a short prince (does he reflect the German stereotype?), what people think about blondes…)…
- The princess is found in the Pacific – life ‘began’ with water, which points to the origins and evolution of language
- The princess’ soul and heart are still ‘intact’, her brain and heart are still present in the skeleton. I made them of bubble wrap: her bubble bursts when her dream doesn’t come true (is anything (in life) ever perfect? I highly doubt it, and neither is language!!), and she commits suicide i.e. dies, which sheds light on the fact that more and more languages are dying out, which is to a great extent our fault – we’re somewhat committing language suicide
- Before the princess died she had lots of time to write down her ‘not so fairy fairy tale’, and took the book into her ‘grave’ – the evolution of history can mainly be studied through ancient documentation (e.g. Rosetta Stone). The book is in ‘unchronological’ order (from present to past – which you unfortunately can’t see but my tutor, who’s going to assess the assignment, will get as ‘hand in’ the ‘box with the dead princess and her book’ (visible in the very last seen)) – this ought to reflect how we go back in time to unfold stories, it’s not like we know what’s gonna happen in the future. Furthermore, the book has been somewhat destroyed (environmental influences) which evokes the topic of ‘language destruction’ (is the ‘youth’ ruining language, e.g. by abbreviations and so on?) and how environment shapes language
- The princess’ ‘skeleton’ is made of wire, as anatomically correct (because language is REAL) as I was able to put it together, to represents her cold, dead body that is empty of love as she believed to die that way, and because language is ‘hardwired’ into humans, it’s somewhat innate – at least according to some linguists (big debate – worth googling!)
- (As (not) visible in the last scene:) The princess is found and put in a coffin-like underwater boat in which the future people transport her to land – the letter ‘L’ is ‘written’ on it, denoting ‘language, love, life’ (or otherwise: language death, unrequited love, death)
- The ending is unusual and unhappy with the prospect for a happy ending after all; language is pretty much unpredictable, many languages die out, others develop, they all change, and new ones are created!