German speaking Linguists/History/SL5B

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At the monthly meeting of June in 2008, the German speaking Linguists (GsL) decided to apply for an exhibition at Second Life's 5th Birthday (known as SL5B). It was planned to have a cooperation with the German Mentors group. This plan failed since the group name (German speaking Linguists) was to long for the application form, which led to a delay in the registration process. In the end, GsL and German Mentors had disconnected parcels and build independent exhibitions.

The application was accepted two weeks later and the GsL started the planning. Instead of the requested 1,024m² parcel, they received a 2,112m² parcel at the temporary Sim SL5B Dwell (96,158). The difference in size wasn't noticed at first, but greately appreciated later.

The goal of the exhibition was, to show in a creative way what linguists are doing and why they are needed. There was also the hope to find more linguists willing to participate in the group. Though sadly, comparisons of the membercount before and after the exhibition showed no difference.


The rectangular parcel was surrounded by a small moat. Two sculpty bridges with the GsL logo on top were inviting people to the parcel. It was meant to show that Linguists are bridging over a gap, be it cultural or linguistic. The ground showed a worldmap with places marked where people are speaking German. It was decorated with flowers and a sculpty tree, including a park bench with a scripted book, which led to Project Gutenberg when clicked.

Two scripted boards on the side showed so called false friends, which are words that sound or look similar in different languages, while they got a different meaning. The boards showed words in either German or English on one side. When clicked, the prim containing the word flipped and showed the actual meaning of the word, as well as the right translation. The following terms were used:

English Term German Translation Description
sympathy Mitleid German term Sympathie means "affection" in English
roman Römer German term Roman means "novel" in English
pregnant schwanger German term prägnant means "concise" in English
gift Geschenk German term Gift means "poison" in English.
mist Nebel German term Mist means "dung" in English
ordinary normal German term ordinär means "vulgar" in English
herb Kraut German term herb means "bitter" in English
hose Schlauch German term Hose means "pants" in English
brave tapfer, mutig German term brav means "good, well-behaved" in English

German Term English Translation Description
Brief letter The English term brief means "kurz" in German.
winken to wave The English term to wink means "zwinkern" in German.
Wand wall The English term wand means "Zauberstab" in German.
Meinung opinion The English term meaning means "Bedeutung" in German.
Sekt sparkling wine The English term sect means "Sekte" in German.
tasten to touch The English term taste means "schmecken" in German.
Mappe folder The English term map means "Karte" in German.
breit wide The English term bright means "hell" in German.
Art kind The English term art means "Kunst" in German.

The false friends were supposed to show how tricky (and interesting!) language can be.

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Another bridge was leading to a small island. This bridge was blocked by a physical language barrier. Bricks had the words "Language Barrier" in one of 12 different languages written on them. By bumping into the barrier, it's parts broke apart and opened up the way to the island. This was a supposed to provide an illustration on how linguists are breaking a language barrier in order to bridge a gap. The GsL mascott with hammer and hat explained the procedure on a texture. After about 1 minute, the barrier restored itself. This was meant to show that, when we're not actively trying to break it down - over and over again -, the barrier will return.

On the island were parts of a traditional German brickhouse, with the GsL mascot inviting people to Join the German speaking Linguists. The mascot gave the link to the groups Wiki page on click.

There were also two posters hanging on the wall of the brickhouse, which were supposed to show the (dis)abilities of automatted translation programs, such as Babel Fish. Two short phrases were taken and translated from English to German and back to English again (and German to English to German respectively). It illustrated that algorithms currently aren't able to replace linguists.

German -> English -> German
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English -> German -> English
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