Tracker Pixel for Entry

Mama : The First Word

by James Osborne | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | May 11th, 2017

Ad Litteram is a new podcast series on words brought to you by HPR. What better way to begin a series on words than with the first human word?

The episode begins with the story of Joe Medicine Crow, a member of the Crow tribe of Montana. Joe was the first Crow to attend college, earning a master’s degree in anthropology in 1939. And while working on his doctorate a few years later, World War Two broke out.

Joe joined the army and fought with the 103rd Infantry Division. While in combat, Joe wore the traditional Crow warrior paint under his uniform and carried a sacred pink eagle feather for protection.

Joe tells the story about one encounter he had with a German soldier during a raid. They were in the middle of a siege and Joe was running down a back alley when he literally ran into the German soldier.

The two began fighting and Joe managed to get his hands around the guy’s neck, squeezing tighter and tighter, and as the German soldier was taking his last breath, he yelled this word: “Mama!”

Joe stopped, loosened his grip, and let the guy go. He said it was the moment the soldier said that word that he decided to let him live.

It’s not too surprising that Germans speakers call their mothers what English speakers call theirs, because they aren’t too far off linguistically, they’re pretty close. But, “mama” is “mama” in a shocking number of disparate languages (Mandarin, Somali, Russian, Sanskrit etc.) that have no historical relationship whatsoever.

Linguist Roman Jakobson’s belief is that through breastfeeding, the word transcends eras and cultures and may be one of the first words humans ever spoke. Was the soldier using his last breath to comfort himself or was he inadvertently communicating with Joe on an intrinsically human level?

Listen to Ad Litteram at hpr1.com or adlitteram.org The next podcast episode covers the word "Millennial." Readers can call 315-967-3763 and leave a message which may be included in that episode.

Recently in:

FARGO – Nearly half of the Walmart employees claiming discrimination from management at the world’s largest retail chain came before Fargo’s Human Relations Commission Thursday, to appeal for help, and the commission…

Culture

​Gaming and Steam

by Chuck Solly

I have hesitated in the past to ride into the gaming world with my guns blazing and my hair blowing in the wind. My reasons are many and varied.In my own personal case, I don’t play online or offline games because it is a huge…

Artist reception: Saturday, February 17, 6pmKaddatz Galleries, 111 W Lincoln Ave, Fergus Falls MNFirst regional solo photo exhibition for the Bemidji native, documentary filmmaker and photojournalist, featuring rural, marginalized,…

Editorial

​Savoring local flavor

by Sabrina Hornung

What draws people to a particular area? Food? Culture? Nostalgia? It’s hard to speak on behalf of the populace but we obviously know what draws us in as individuals.Here’s another question: What makes an area thrive and what…

Do we finally have ‘beauteous mankind in a brave new world?’British philosopher and writer Aldous Huxley used a line of Miranda’s speech in Shakespeare’s play "The Tempest" as the title for his book about the future…

This year’s Cocktail Showdown yielded a mixture of familiar and fresh faces to compete in the Fifth Annual Bartenders Battle when it returns to the Holiday Inn on Sunday February 18th. With a bright and colorful Tiki theme, we…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Melissamartincounselor@live.com Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…

Whoever said rock n’roll ain’t pretty must have never had the opportunity to speak with Wanda Jackson, often referred to as “the queen of rockabilly” and even the “first lady of rock n’ roll.” The Oklahoma native just…

Given the film’s somewhat odd marriage of style -- the personality-driven presence of chatty neophyte documentarian Bryan Fogel -- and substance -- the ugly realities of the longtime Russian doping program for Olympic competitors…

The Red Raven had their annual opening party for the Erotic Art Show last week, drawing in a sizeable crowd that got to take home free condoms, lubricant, chapstick, and Planned Parenthood pins and brochures.The red candles at each…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.eduThe ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas; the class which is the ruling material force in society is at the same time the ruling intellectual force.- Karl Marx and Friedrich…