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Divehi or Dhivehi,
May peace prevail on earth, dude.
Gekoyo (aka Giguyu),
Maasai, (AKA Maa)
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
Rwanda-Rundi (see Kinyarwanda/Kirundi),
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
Serbian / Serbo-Croation,
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
(Lower on this page is its translation.)
and Animal Tracks.
Explanations of some Peace Pole Languages
Assamese is one of the languages of India. It is spoken mostly in the Indian state of Assam by about 15 million people.
“May peace prevail on earth” in Athabaskan is:
NIN’KO’ NEXISRUTS’ UDALZIN (with an acute accent over the X that I could not figure out how to make in ASCII).
Athabaskan is one of the largest North American Indian language families, consisting of about 38 languages including Navajo and the languages spoken by the Apache. It is spoken chiefly in three regions that are not connected to each other: the Pacific Coast, the interior of the southwestern United States, and the region that runs from central Alaska through northwestern Canada. Most of the languages in this family are in danger of becoming extinct.
Anishinaabe / Ojibway
Anishinabe (different sources have spelled it different ways) is spoken by 50,000 people in the northern United States and southern Canada. It is an Algonquian language often referred to as Ojibwe, Chippewa, Ojibwa or Ojibway by people who do not speak it. But the people who speak it call it either Anishinabe or Anishinaabemowin.
Anishinabe / Ojibway
MAH NOH TAH BISON TAM GOT-EMAH AHKEENG KOGNIK
Some languages are more difficult to translate for peace poles than others. Many of the smaller languages around the world do not have a word for Peace, at least not in the sense of its being the opposite of war. Some translations into this language have used words like:
Bangan (which means peace and quiet in nature),
Bizaani-ayaawin (peace and quiet as a concept), and/or
Words that mean “well-being” or “brotherhood” or “community” or “cooperation” are nice, but you can have those things while marching to destroy your enemy.
The translation that most accurately would reflect what Peace Poles are about would be one that found a way to express “anti-war” or “not-war.” All languages have a word for war making that possible.
This translation avoids the words listed above, but more work should be done on it. I’d especially like to communicate with native speakers of it. There are plenty out there. This is one of the healthiest native American languages in existence.
Burmese is the primary language most of the people in Myanmar (formerly was known as Burma) and is spoken by abour 40 million people.
In 1714 Catalonia surrendered to Spain and became part of it, much like the part of Basque that is Spanish. But they still speak their own language and occasionally try to break free. Other than in Catalonia Catalan is spoken in Andorra and some parts of France and Italy.
Chumash was a family of languages spoke mainly in Southern California. None still are spoken. The last speaker of a Chumash language spoke the Barbareno dialect but died in the 1960s.
Czech is similar to Slovakian and is spoken by about 13 million people.
Douala is a Bantu Language spoken in coastal Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea by fewer than 90,000 people.
Dzongkha is written in the Tibetan alphabet and is the official language of the Kingdom of Bhutan where is is spoken by half a million people.
Regnet Pax Onmen Per Terram
Latin is often referred to as an extinct language because no one speaks it as a native language today. At one time it was the native language of many people and became the foundation for the Romance Languages just as at one time people spoke Phoenician, but after that was extinct Latin, which rose from it, was widely spoken.
Sign Language on a peace pole
When deaf people read, they read English just like you are doing right now. They don’t read hand signs. So I thought that sign language on peace poles should be more than textbook sketches used to learn hand signs. This is a somewhat impressionistic interpretation in brushstrokes – something that teachers of sign language tend not to like, but speakers of it so far do.
Sign language is based on movement and facial expression as much as on finger configuration since normally it is used only to replace audible communication and is not used for written communication. With motion a single gesture can communicate a word or an entire phrase. Since the symbols on a peace pole cannot not move, the manual alphabet must be used to spell it out.
Each of these hand gestures signifies a letter of the alphabet. Sign language uses the same Roman alphabet that English uses, but has a different grammar. Its way of saying “May peace prevail on earth” is to say “Peace in the world.” Those four words can be discerned in the picture of the hand signs by finding the spaces between the groups of hand-signs.
There are 100,000 to 500,000 primary users of sign language around the world.
Kikuyu is also known as Giguyu, Gekoyo, and Agekoyo. The Kikuyu translation of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is
Thayú viyvre thiine wa thi yothe
(with acute accents over the 2 letters v)
They are the largest ethnic group in Kenya. They are the 4.5 million people who call themselves Gekoyo or Agekoyo but who are referred to by others as Kikuyu. An alternate spelling of the translation is: THAYU UIYURE THIINE WA THI YOTHE
Tangnefedd ar y ddaear
“Tangnefedd” means not only the absence of war, but also social harmony, inner tranquillity and spiritual peace. For the Welsh it has a meaning deeper than merely the absence of armed conflict.
In speech “Tangnefedd” possibly could be used as a greeting, but most definitely can be used as a farewell.
One speaker of it said that Mohawk isn’t just a form of speech. It is a holistic relationship to the cosmos.
SKÉN:NEN KENHAD NÉ OHWENTSÅ:KE
Speaking Mohawk can require the memory of a bard and the lungs of a singer. It has compound words longer than German. To make it even harder, they are not necessarily pronounced the way they are written. For instance, tabotenonhwarori’taksen’skwe’tsherakabrbateniaa’tonhaitie is a word meaning “the fool comes tumbling down the hill.”
Noun roots are modified by adjectival prefixes sometimes as short as the letter “h.” Burying someone is expressed by saying that you wrapped his body with the blanket of our Mother Earth. If you father a child you “lend him your life.” The word “I” never stands alone. It always is part of a relationship. You don’t say that you are sick. You say that the sickness has come upon you.
Mohawk also has a mood something like the subjunctive of Kurdish, Albanian, Navajo, Sanskrit and ancient Greek.
Alexander Graham Bell loved the sound of Mohawk and was made an honorary chief after creating an orthography of it.
There are about 25,000 people in North American who identify themselves as Mohawk. Only about 15% of them speak Mohawk fluently, but some children are now texting in it and immersion classes are available for studying it.
The Mohawk are recognized as one of the tribes present before first contact with Europeans. They were feared for their ferocity, but held in check by a matriarchal government that required consensus. Much of upstate New York and the land to the north and east into Canada used to be their territory. But they sided with the British during the revolutionary war and lost.
Telugu has the third largest number of native speakers in India. According the census there were 74 million speakers of Telugu in 2001.
In the Ethnologue list of the most-spoken languages around the world it is 13th.
Telugu is known as the “Italian of the East” since every word in Italian and every word in Telugu ends with a vowel.
Saying “Tai-Kadai languages” is like saying “Romance languages.” Among the Romance languages are Italian, French, Spanish and English with English being the most widely spoken.
There are 92 Tai-Kadai languages of which Thai (see below) is the most widely spoken and is the one usually used to represent the Tai-Kadai family of languages.
Thai is spoken by about 65 million people mainly in Thailand.
Sanskrit is the language of ceremony that some regard as sacred.
Norway was occupied by Denmark for 400 years and so their languages are nearly the same (see note a few paragraphs down).
Danish translation of
“May Peace Prevail on Earth”
Må fred herske på Jorden
Old Norsk Version of Norwegian translation of
“Maybe Peace Prevail on Earth”
Måtte det være fred på jorden
When their Majesties the King and Queen of Norway were going to be present for a ceremony dedicating a peace pole to them, the languages were carefully vetted. A photograph of a peace pole in Norway was gotten for me so that I could see the translation that Norwegians use for their own language. It turned out to be the translation that I was using for Danish.
I explained that to a Minnesota Supreme Court judge who had been ordering plaques from me, was ordering more and had proved to be a careful researcher. He said that the Norwegian Royal Family’s roots go back to the Danish Royal Family that sat on Norway’s throne, and so they may tilt toward the Danish. He ran it by people in Norway who said that both are correct now. The judge said he preferred the Old Norsk version that I originally had been using for Norwegian.
They can be used interchangeably, but if they both are on the same peace pole, their differences distinguish them.
In both languages, Fred is the word for Peace.
During the centuries that Denmark occupied Norway, Danish was the official language for every formal occasion and process. Eventually the Norwegian language was being used only in rural areas and was dying. But a man began a campaign to travel to those rural areas and collect the Norwegian words that still were being used. He published them as New Norwegian. It really only was rediscovering Old Norwegian, but it re-established traces of the language
Se pou lape simaye toupatou sou latè
I also have Haitian Creole if you ask for it.
Creole is a word used to describe languages formed as a result of speakers of different languages creating a means of communication that draw on all the languages known between them, sometimes none of which are European. In the USA the word is used mostly to refer to the languages created when African languages mixed with French. Which variety of Creole that turned out to be depended on which African languages mixed with French. The two Creoles I have available for peace poles are the one just called Creole (sometimes referred to as French Creole, but they both are French) and another called Haitian Creole. Haitian Creole is the only Creole for which competency in it is worth bonus points on the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute exam. That might be only because they value only languages that are valuable in Foreign Service, since that is their domain, and have less interest in domestic languages like the first Creole, which might be more important within our own borders.
Except for two additional characters in the Persian (aka Farsi), Dari and Persian are the same in these translations of May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Persian / Farsi
Persian is the official language of Iran where it usually is called Farsi. The US State Department refers to it as “Persian-Iranian (Farsi).” Two versions of it, known as Dari and Tajik, are among the official languages in Afghanistan and Tajikistan (although Tajik has a different alphabet). Dari is referred to by The US State Department as “Persian-Afghan (Dari).”
The name Persia means Iran, but no one calls their language Iranian. Persian is spoken there but often referred to as Farsi. If you go to Tajikistan and ask people what language they speak, they say Farsi not Tajiki. The same in Afghanistan and Tehran where they speak other languages. Everyone refers to their own language as Farsi.
Dari and Tajik are different dialects of the Persian language. Kurdish and Sughdian are different languages, but still in the Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian languages. And while calling their own languages Farsi, native speakers discuss what to call all of them.
There are 87 Iranian languages. Persian has about 53 million native speakers, Pashto about 40 million, Kurdish about 26 million.
I have translations for Kurdish (Iraq), Pashto, and Tajiki.
Divehi or Dhivehi
Dhivehi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Maldives.
Toiko py ‘aguapy tenondete ko arapy rehe
4.6 million people in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil speak Guarani. It is the official language of Paraguay although after 4 centuries of Spanish rule it has picked up a lot of words from Spanish.
In Gujarat, a state in India, 56 million Gujarati speak Gujarati. Hindi and Punjabi are closely related languages.
If peace is achieved between the east and west, Turkey may be an important part of the reason.
Turkish is the 15th most widely spoken language in the world according to some lists. The first translation below is the one that is on most peace poles.However, this second translation was created by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.It is the motto of the Republic of Turkey and means “Peace at Home, Peace in the World.”
Both translations are available for your peace pole. If you do not specifiy one, I will use the second because of its author.
The Turkish language is written in the English (AKA Latin) alphabet because of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was the military leader and political visionary who changed the world in the first half of the 20th Century. First, as a military leader, he drove the occupiers out of Turkey. Then he ended six centuries of Ottoman dynasty rule and made Turkey a republic, in 1923, by creating a representative government responsive to the nation’s will. He also introduced a broad range of reforms in the political, social, legal, economic, and cultural spheres that were so dramatic and sweeping that their breadth and speed may never have been equaled in any other country.
One of his reforms was the alphabet. He saw how much higher the literacy rate was in countries using the English alphabet, rather than the much more difficult-to-learn symbols normal in Arabic languages, and adopted the English alphabet for Turkey. In the end, Turkey became an Arab country that understands western cultures.
Besides being a geographic crossroad for Europe and Asia, it also is a cultural, political and social crossroad. Whatever harmony and understanding may grow between the West and the East could have important roots in the reforms made by Atatürk, which used to warm our hearts when using his translation.
But now Turkey has been taken over by a strong-man. He has muzzled the news media, sent opponents to jail or exile, and purged the government bureaucracy of those who do not agree with his rule. Turkey’s time as a republic might be ending.
Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish political columnist, said that whether Erdogan gains more power or not, “I am afraid Turkey will have difficult years ahead. . . We should all think of ways to minimize the damage and keep up hope.”
Now using Kemal’s translation is an expression of hope.0 CommentsRussian7/9/20170 Comments The Russian translation traditionally used on peace poles has been this.Perhaps it was an attempt to create a word for word translation of the Engslish phrase, which is not usually the best approach in any language. Literally it says “Let there be peace for the humanity in the entire world.”
Besides sounding odd to Russians, it is too long for me to cut in metal without exceeding the lengths of the surrounding translations by a large margin. And longer than desirable for engraving in stone. So I got a native speaker who works as a translator to work on a new one. This second translation means “Let there be peace on earth.” To be grammatically correct in Russian that sentence must be followed by an exclamation point as shown.
This second one sounds right to Russians and is the one I use on peace poles unless otherwise requested.
Yes, that Klingon. The Treky one. Here is my current translation:
jaj roj ché Dat
That translates as “May peace reign everywhere.” The Klingon would be concerned with peace reigning more places than just on earth, wouldn’t they? The translation above came from words looked up at https://tradukka.com/translate/en/tlh
There are fans of Star Trek who speak this language. Someone even is translating the Iliad into Klingon. No kidding – check out the Klingon Language Institute at: http://www.kli.org/
It also would be possible to get translations of other science fiction languages, like Vulcan. Witness the Vulcan Language Institute at: http://www.vli-online.org/vlif.htm
We suspect that a pole with such a language on it might get increased attention. It is the kind of thing that becomes known, remembered, and pointed out to visitors when a sense of humor is incorporated into a public monument. Imagine how it would keep the monument in the community’s consciousness on a school campus.
Just a thought.
Below is a Javanese translation. There are three different levels of Javanese, Formal, less formal, and least formal. The translator of this chose the less formal version.
Mugo-mugo ndonya tentrem terus
Javanese is the tenth or twelfth most widely spoken language in the world. It is the largest language without an official status. It is spoken or understood by approximately 100 million people. Malay is the official language in the region and most speakers of Javanese use that for commercial and official communication.
In spite of it having no official status, a generation ago the Indonesian department of education decided to stop teaching its many different dialects and instead promote Javanese as a national language so that people all over Indonesia would be better able to communicate. To that end they adopted the Latin (AKA English) alphabet as the standard for their language. Fluent speakers of it who are under about 60 years of age are not fluent enough in the old Javanese alphabet to provide translations of that and prefer seeing it translated as above.
In Japan it is traditional to use the font seen at left for the Japanese translation. In the USA it is traditional to use the version at right since that is in the handwriting of the founder of the peace pole movement.
The founder, Masahisa Goi, was Japanese and could not know that he was starting a movement when he wrote the version seen at right. Native Japanese speakers seeing it for the first time have told me that it is confusing. The first half looks like an attempt at calligraphy while the second half does not. You can see how the first half is complicated and intricate, but the second half is not. But it is the founder’s handwriting, so that became the tradition for peace poles in the USA.
There are times, like when cutting the text all the way through metal, that not enough metal is left to support the work when done in the handwritten version. When carved in stone even people who do not speak the language sometimes ask if some mistake has been made because the Japanese starts off so strong but then trails off so thinly.
I defer to what native speakers of Japanese use for the translation of their own language. The version at left is what I use unless someone requests that I use the one at right.
These are the translations I use for Lakota and Dakota unless otherwise requested:
Unci Maka akan wolakota unkagapi kte
Unci Maka akan wodakota unkagapi kte
The rest of this page is a diary showing how I work on translations. There are issues like the word “Prevail” not having a clear equivalent in many languages. And some languages not having a word either for Peace or Earth. People without a sense of the shape of the earth or its place among the stars had no need for a word to describe that. As was the case with Lakota and Dakota.
For decades peace poles were made with the translation below that was called Lakota Sioux. It was used for Lakota and Dakota.
Wo’ wa’hwa la ma’ka a’kan u’num’we
But then someone in Chicago, who was having me make a 7-sided copper peace pole with the Lakota translation on it, and was involved with the Lakota people, told me that they did not like being called Sioux. Sioux was not a name they ever called themselves. I did some research and learned that it was what the Ojibwa called them. The Ojibwa called them Nadouessioux, which means “enemies” and eventually it became shortened to Sioux. In addition, the Dakota were being lumped in with the Lakota and they did not like that. And there is another tribe that speaks Nakota and that doesn’t like being lumped in with them. Still, the term Sioux is used to refer to a large collection of tribes spreading over a great deal of North America.
Since neither the Lakota nor the Dakota wanted to be referred to as Sioux, I got these translations for their languages.
Makasitomniya wolakota ni
Makasitomniya wodakota ni
Here is how these translations came about.
Since Lakota and Dakota are among the languages that do not have a word for Peace, even native speakers of these languages can have trouble choosing the correct words to represent it. Sometimes “not war” or “anti kill” is as close as they can get. If English did not have a word for water, would we translate it as lake, ocean, sea, river, brook, rain, creek, stream, dew, wave, white cap, or foam? All are correct in the right context.
For Lakota I had three translations for the word peace: wowahwa, wowanwa, and wolakota.
An online Lakota dictionary chose wowahwa as the Lakota word for peace. But searches on wowahwa do not produce hits indicating that it has much importance to speakers of that language.
A Russian mega linguist (his description of himself), with whom I was working at the time, originally had picked “wowanwa” which is almost the same.
The mega linguist located translations of bibles and compared passages in them with translations in other languages to see how many times various translators chose certain words to represent the word Peace in differing contexts. For Lakota he settled on “wowanwa,” which is a legitimate choice. Internet searches on that word show it printed on tee shirts as the Lakota word for peace. And some sites with Lakota vocabulary lists pick it as the Lakota word for peace.
However, there were no American Indians naming non-profit organizations “wowanawa” or establishing websites with that word in the URL, but there were for the word Wolakota. Wowanwa is a valid choice and is used by many people, but below is why I chose Wolakota.
These are two academic websites that list “wolakota” as their choice for the translation of the word Peace into Lakota.
And there are American Indians naming non-profit organizations “wolakota” and establishing websites with that word as part of the URL, like the two below:
That shows what the word means to people who speak it. So I started using Wolakota as the Lakota translation for the word Peace.
Dakota and Lakota are so similar that most linguists consider them dialects of the same language, like the difference between British and American English. But I suspected that using Wolakota for the Dakota translation might not be the best idea because the word “Lakota” is spelled out within it. In the absence of other information, I would have picked the “wowanwa” for Dakota as so many others have. But I wrote about the issue to a college that was ordering a peace pole with both Lakota and Dakota on it. They were in the region where the Dakota lived. People often choose languages that represent people in their area and so sometimes can be good sources for information about them.
They wrote back that their Native American ethnic student services director, who they believe is Dakota herself, said that in her opinion the best word for Peace in Lakota is “Wolakota” and, no surprise, that the equivalent word in Dakota is “Wodakota.” She described it as meaning something like “wellness of our people,” and community or harmony or unity for those nations, and also as a frame of mind, a way of living, a philosophy for life, the way they carry themselves – peace of mind.
She also said that there should be an accent over the first “o” in both translations. So their college got that translations with those accents.
Neither the Russian mega linguist nor I think that terms for well-being and unity and such like are good replacements for the word Peace. You can be marching to war and among yourselves have unity and well-being. I work to get people helping with translations to find words that specifically mean Peace. In some languages the best that can be done is to say “no war” or “no conflict.” So Wolakota does not translate exactly to Peace, but does appear to be the word chosen to mean Peace by the people who speak that language. For instance, at the link below they begin their definition of Wodakota with the word Peaceful.
A state supreme court judge was interested in the issue for a translation for his peace poles. He previously had proved to be an excellent locator of such information. Through a string of contacts he got feedback from a teacher of the Lakota language at the Red Cloud Indian School who said that to be correct it needed to have the “h” shortened and a hacheck (a shortened “v”) put over that “h,” which led to translations spelled with that character.
However, that teacher did not mention an accent over the “o.” Neither did anyone else. No one else ever mentioned the hacheck or the “h” under it either. Perhaps it is archaic. But since the websites created by Lakota people use neither the accent nor the hacheck when spelling wolakota, the general usage appears to include neither. That could be the result of the limitations of computer keyboards, but it still is what everyone is doing.
Then a group in Illinois produced the translation below for Lakota. It fit in with previous research and appeared to be the latest thinking about the translation. So now I use this one unless someone requests otherwise.
Unci Maka akan wolakota unkagapi kte
For Dakota the only word that changes is wolakota.
I spend as much time on translations as I do making peace poles.
Filipino is one of the two National Languages of the Philippines. The other is English. Tagalog is the first language of a third of the population of the Philippines and the second language of most of the rest, so even though it is not one of the National Languages, it is an important language.
The difference between Filipino and Tagalog largely is Filipino’s greater inclusion of Spanish words picked up during the three centuries that they were occupied by Spain. The translation below is the same for both languages and is the one I use for Filipino.
(and Tagalog according to some modern translators)
Kapayapaan sa mundo
That translation was done by the brilliant people at www.worldtranslationcenter.com when I asked for a shorter translation than the one I previously used on peace poles.
However, I also asked for help from a community in Naperville, Illinois who speak Tagalog and who were ordering a peace pole. They provided several translations including the one below which now is the one I use for Tagalog because it doesn’t include any Spanish words and Tagalog traditionally is not supposed to.
Kapayapaan ay maghari sa daigdig
Previously I had used the translations below, but they have more characters and spaces than most other translations for peace poles and so required making the text smaller than other languages.
Sana’y Manatili ang Kapayapáan sa Mundo
Sana’y manatili ang kapayapáan sa daigdig
If you request it, in some cases I still can use either of those on your peace pole, but the greater number of letters requires making the letters a smaller size, which is a disadvantage when cutting metal or engraving stone. I show these translations so that people making their own peace poles can have that choice. And also so that people who might have been wondering if I didn’t know how to type an accent for the second to last “a” in kapayapáan can see that it is not an inability to type it. It is that they spell it without that accent now.
Some languages are the result of wars that forced one language on another. Chinook Jargon was created during peace to enable people to work together.
In the Chinook-Jargon translation of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” the super-script letters, the strike-throughs on the l’s, etc., all are part of how they spell it.
It was the Esperanto of the American Indians. Even European settlers and trappers spoke this language. Some second generation settlers spoke it as their first language. It was created by American Indians on the northwest coast of North America to enable them to trade with each other. It was derived from the languages of many isolated tribes native to the area, but originally from Chinook. As the settlers arrived English and French words were incorporated into it. The number of words in the language was only in the hundreds and its grammar was simple making it easy to learn and use. It spread quickly all the way to Alaska.
Using it in legal documents was routine. Therefore many documents created prior to the twentieth century on the northwest coast of North America contain at least vestiges of it (some say nearly all do). Cherokee often is the language of choice for American Indian ceremonies, but Chinook Jargon probably was more widely understood.
Chinese Translation of “May peace prevail on earth”
Mandarin is the language generally referred to as Chinese since more than a billion people speak it. It is the language of the ethnic Chinese, or Han, as ethnic Chinese call themselves.
However, on Ethnologue’s list of the 50 most widely spoken languages, there are 5 languages in China other than Mandarin that make the list. They are Wu, Yue, Min Nan, Xiang, and Gan. Together they add another 248 million speakers of Chinese languages, and there are other Chinese languages beyond those, like Hmong, which in my experience is the second most requested Chinese language for peace poles.
At right is the Mandarin translation normally put on peace poles. I use a different one though. A state supreme court judge showed the one at right to authorities in China who produced a different translation. Then that was refined by a group of Native Chinese Speakers in Florida. It now is the one I put on peace poles unless otherwise requested.
There are so many languages that are spoken by such large numbers of people in China because China still has much in common with colonial empires of the past like those of the Austrians, Turks and English. It has the longest land border in the world as a result of expanding its control into formerly autonomous regions. In a speech in 1956 Mao Zedong, the first Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said, “As a matter of fact, it is the Han nationality whose population is large and the minority nationalities whose territory is vast and whose resources are rich.”
Minorities in China can have populations larger than the total populations of many independent countries but be forbidden to be educated or work in their native tongues. News continues to trickle out about the tensions created by the minorities who, even after adopting the Mandarin language, cannot practice their religions or establish careers beyond menial jobs and who ruthlessly are oppressed if they complain.
The Manchus are an example of a group whose language, customs and culture now only are a distant memory. Tibetans and Uighurs are two of the groups fiercly resisting colonization (a word the Chinese government hates enough to bar you from traveling there if you use it).
The result is that Mandarin is spoken by more people than any other language in the world and so is put on almost every peace pole and referred to as Chinese even though it is not the only Chinese language. If you are able to create translations of any of the others, let me know and I will make them available here for people making peace poles.
Chichewa / Chinyanja / Chewa / Nyanja
Mtendere ukhale pa dziko la pansi
A language of the Bantu family widely spoken by 7 or 8 million people in south-central Africa. In Zambia and Mozambique it is known as Nyanja or Chinyanja.
Cherokee is the only known instance of an individual single-handedly creating an entirely new system of writing. It was created by the Cherokee man known as Sequoyah. He was born around 1770 near what is now Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, an English fur trader, and his mother, the daughter of a prominent Cherokee family, named him George Gist or George Guess. But on his own he adopted the name Sequoyah.
Sequoyah was illiterate when he watched his father communicating with white settlers by making marks on paper, that he called “talking leaves,” and recognized the power in being able to do that. Capturing that power for his people became his consuming ambition, so much so that one year he didn’t even take time to plant crops. His friends called him crazed. His wife thought it was the work of the devil and destroyed much of his early work. But he persisted and finally, near the end of his life, he and his daughter traveled to Arkansas where they presented his writing system to Cherokee leaders. It took months to make clear to them what he had accomplished. Eventually they understood and encouraged instruction in it among the Cherokee people.
This is the only known instance of a member of a pre-literate people creating an entire writing system, and he did it in spite of being surrounded by people who believed that writing either was sorcery or pretense.
Sequoyah’s invention of this writing system enabled rapid strides in the education and culture of one of the largest Native American populations.
When set in type his name is Sequoyah. When he wrote it by hand it was Ssiquoya. However, today the Cherokee spell it (browsers choked on it, I don’t know why) which are the letters that for them produce the pronunciation Se-quo-ya.
In his system of writing, each of the 85 sounds used in the spoken Cherokee language has its own symbol. Many of the characters resemble Roman, Cyrillic or Greek letters or Arabic numerals, but there does not appear to be any relation between the sounds those symbols stand for in their original languages and the sounds they stand for in Cherokee.
It sounds like legend to finish the story by saying that to honor him the tree, Sequoia, was named after him. But that giant tree was not seen by anyone of European descent until 1833. The earliest known written reference to it is in the diary of the explorer J. K. Leonard in that year. Leonard was leading an expedition of hunters who stumbled on the trees. But so many tall tales came back from the west back then that not much credence was given to it.
It was not until 1852 that the first documented sighting took place when another hunter stumbled on the giant trees. He reported them in a mining camp where he was not believed. So he led them to the site to confirm it.
Upon learning about that an English botanist, who had never seen the trees and never even been to California, named the trees Wellingtonia in honor of the Duke of Wellington. A non-America naming an American tree for another country’s royalty resulted in many articles and letters written and published arguing about that.
A deceased botanist from Austria named Stephan Endlicher, who specialized in conifers, previously had named the coast redwood Sequoya in honor of George Guess. Apparently that name was transferred to the tree we now call Sequoya. A search of Endlicher’s papers finds no instance of the word Sequoya or mention of the Cherokee system of writing, casting doubt on the validity of the story. However, it does appear that George Guess named himself Sequoya before that name was used to refer to a tree, which lends credibility to the tree’s having been named after him rather than the other way around. It sounds like the stuff of legend, but it might not be. And even if it is, the research on it uncovers a noticeable esteem in which he was held for his work by educated people of that era, and that is heartwarming in and of itself.
In Estonia over a hundred languages are spoken as people’s mother tongues, including Ukrainian, Belarussian, Finnish, Latvian and Lithuanian, but for 30% of the people there their mother tongue is Russian and for 67% of them it is Estonian.
Salama yachigaba aduniya
Hausa is the most important indigenous language in West and Central Africa, particularly Nigeria and Niger, but also in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan and Togo. It is spoken by 40 to 50 million people.
Above is a short translation done for me by a Nun familiar with the language. Below is a longer version of it done a long time ago.
Zaman lafiya ta tabbata a duniya
Spoken in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro
Their translation of “May peace prevail on earth” is
Neka mirzavlada na zemliji
On the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute exam, when listing which language competencies qualify for bonus points, when they list Serbo-Croatian they add “(All variants).”
Sesotho is a Bantu language spoken in South Africa by almost 4 million people.