This project is a partnership between Dr. Craig Stone (Director of the American Indian Studies Program) and the Department of Linguistics ( initiated and promoted by our late colleague, Dr. Alexandra Jaffe). It is intended to increase knowledge of and respect for the linguistic and cultural diversity of faculty, students and staff.
The project was born out of Stone’s participation in the CSU Ethnic Studies Task Force, which reinforced the urgency for campuses to take concrete action to make all members of a community feel appreciated and respected. This was coupled with Jaffe’s interest in “Linguistic Landscaping”—how written language in public places reflects and shapes the cultural climate and Stone’s expertise in public art.
The project is thus focused on promoting mutual knowledge and empathy across different groups and is the first collaborative effort of the Puvungna Arts Empathy Production Project.
As the videos and recordings below illustrate, speakers of different languages and dialects are recorded saying a sentence that expresses appreciation and respect.
The phrase (a translation or adaptation of “I appreciate and respect you”) is printed on a laminated poster that has a QR barcode (see an example below). Viewers who capture the code on a smartphone camera are led to this page (or a similar page on the AIS website) where they can listen to sound files and view videos of the speaker or signer on the poster. These posters are put up around the campus–either as roving exhibits or individually (on office doors or walls, for example), thus serving as a visible notice of sometimes invisible linguistic diversity attached to a positive message of intergroup relations.