Meg Miller reports on what sounds like an interesting exhibit:
The acrylic mural of a Queens map that greets visitors to the Queens Museum, in New York, is enormous, abstract, and angular, rendering the borough in a colorful array of polygons. Inside the shapes is the word for “tongue” in each of the endangered languages still spoken in Queens, by residents the artist Mariam Ghani refers to as people with “forked tongues.” There are 59 such languages in total.
“Migrants and the multilingual are constantly speaking with forked tongues, slipping from one language to another,” Ghani writes in her description of her project The Garden of the Forked Tongues, which is part of the exhibition Nonstop Metropolis, a collaborative show based around the work of author Rebecca Solnit and geographer Josh Jelly-Schapiro. […]
Queens has been called “one of the most diverse places on Earth.” The evidence is in the languages. According to the Endangered Language Alliance, whose data Ghani used to create the mural as well as an accompanying interactive graphic, an estimated 500 languages are currently spoken in Queens. The 59 languages depicted in the map are the ones endangered, which means that Queens residents are some of the last people on Earth who know the language that they speak. Given that there are a total of 574 “critically endangered” languages worldwide, according to UNESCO, 59 is a pretty remarkable number to have just in one borough.
Bukhori (Tajiki: бухорӣ – buxorī, Hebrew script: בוכארי buxori), also known as Bukhari and Bukharian, is a dialect of the Tajiki language spoken in Central Asia (and in the diaspora) by Bukharian Jews.
Spoken in: Kew Gardens, Queens
alternate name(s): Bukharian
word for tongue: זבאן/zabon
language family: Indo-Iranian (West)
place(s) of origin: Uzbekistan, Turkestan, Tajikistan
worldwide speaker population: 110000
And it’s got a video of an elderly gentleman speaking the language, which is so much like Persian/Farsi I could understand chunks of it even though my studies of the latter are a couple of decades in the past — in fact, I wouldn’t have guessed it was a different language. Thanks, Trevor!
(Warning: the “interactive graphic” link didn’t work the last time I tried it; I just got a blank page. Don’t know if there’s a site problem; maybe wait a day and try again.)