Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within–Part 6 of 7 – countdown to The Big Why

This is the sixth of seven parts on disciplines/elements of Humanities that can be found in the Art of Storytelling. This is also a countdown to virtual “The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities” on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT.

Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within:

  • Part 1 – Archaeology – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Communication/Interpretation – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Cultural Studies – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Folklore/Folklife – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – History – REVEALED
  • Part 6 – Languages/Linguistics – TODAY
  • Part 7 – Philosophy/Ethics

Languages are verbal, written and/or visual ways for humans to communicate. Linguistics is exploring the unique aspects, nuances, and behaviors due to language expressed by humans.

Over 6,500 languages are spoken and used in the world today. Languages can come and go depending on how hard preservation and perpetuation is sought. Every language has a beauty and history to it. Though, you may be curious as to the 20 Most Spoken Languages in the World.

While we have offered American Sign Language interpretation since the beginning, there are at least 134 other sign languages. This blog post put together by Gemma Matheson compares several alphabet sign languages.

Story Crossroads has two storytelling academic series with one being called “Language of Story.” Each year, we have focused on a different language/culture and how it relates to oral storytelling. So far, we have explored American Sign Language (Dr. Dale H. Boam), Portuguese (Dr. De’bora Ferreira), German (Dr. Jeff Packer), and will do Hungarian in 2021 (Dr. Csenge Zalka).

As storytellers and story producers of events–or no matter your background–we encourage more than one language to be featured. Look into bilingual or multi-lingual opportunities. Reach out to foreign language teachers and have youth develop pieces. See who learned English as a second language and inspire people to tell stories in their first language. Be creative.

Linguistics is fairly new as a discipline, emerging more in the early 1900s. Yet, linguistics as always existed and has had influence over a society that impacts from economics to politics to education and with cultural studies.

The Storytelling Masters Program at East Tennessee State University has a class entitled “Storytelling Linguistics” that used to be known as “READ 5190” when housed under the Education Department. While taking this course, classmates posted different linguistic situations. Though this was back in 2009, I was “wrestling with words” on what to call what has now been deemed “Story Crossroads.”

I have Karl Behling to thank on permission to use “Story Crossroads,” his fantastic idea at our inaugural Community Planning Meeting in June 2014 with 28 community leaders ranging from education to civics to the arts.

We will eventually be called “World Story Crossroads” for once every four years with the “off” years being “Story Crossroads.”This is when we are more global as a 6-day event representing the 6 major continents.

Discover the debates on what words to use and reasoning here. Note that I decided that “World Story ______________” was definite at that time.

At the end of this piece, I also explained some history of words: practice, rehearsal, premiere, festival, exposition (expo), conference, venue, stage, slam, and fringe.

Through the University of Luxembourg, a study was published involving bilingual children and how their oral and literary competency improved through storytelling. Though, the best results were when oral storytelling was practiced at the nursery school and at home. While not using the word “linguistics,” the teacher basically told her students to draw upon “their entire linguistic repertoire.” Discover more at the article “Storytelling at home and at the nursery school: A study of bilingual children’s literacy practices” by Claudine Kirsch.

So discover another language. Understand how language has evolved. See how you feel when one word, phrase, or language compared to another. Choose to celebrate the differences and what unifies us in the language of story.

We will be doing this 7-part Blog Series on Storytelling and connections with the Humanities as a countdown to our next adventure--join us on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. Our panelists, as pictured above, are: Dr. Caroliese Frink Reed, Sheila Arnold, Darci Tucker, and Brian “Fox” Ellis. We are grateful to funding from Utah Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.