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Old Posted Apr 20, 2017, 10:00 PM
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Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood finally gets a library

Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood finally gets a library

'There's going to be a lot of books checked out here,' says mayor at opening
By Rafferty Baker, CBC News Posted: Apr 19, 2017 8:57 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 9:03 AM PT


Vancouver Public Library's newest branch, nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona, opened to the public on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

One of Vancouver's oldest inner-city neighbourhoods finally has a library.

"There's going to be a lot of books checked out here," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson at the grand opening on Wednesday.

Robertson noted that the people in this area have waited years for a library. The building also includes a much-need affordable housing complex, the mayor said.

"It's going to be a fantastic library for this community, for Strathcona," Robertson said.

The $28.5 million project on East Hastings Street at Heatley Avenue includes 21 units of affordable housing for single mothers and their children.

"They've waited many decades for their own library, and even more amazing to have housing on top — housing for moms with families who are at risk of homelessness," he said.

Includes housing complex

The new library features high ceilings, rows of computers, meeting rooms, plenty of books, magazines, DVDs, and an Indigenous name, nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona.

nə́c̓aʔmat means 'we are one' in the Musqueam language.


nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona, one of VPL's largest branches, opened its doors on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...anch-1.4076744
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2017, 10:43 PM
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That took forever to build. I went to the library yesterday, which turned out great. The architect nailed that bit.

I have a few gripes with it. Up first are the names, the Library's name you can't write (or remember). The social housing portion is grammatically incorrect "Cause We Care."

The other is the cost. The 21 housing units cost $10.2M, with $700K being an endowment for op-ex. How does a wood frame apartment block with zero land costs cost $450K per unit?

This is way more than what my mom's fairly luxurious 2 bedroom, concrete condo in New West cost with land costs included, with a heritage restoration. It's just utterly mind boggling.
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Old Posted Apr 20, 2017, 11:08 PM
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Carnegie isn't exactly far from Strathcona, though I'm not sure I'd want my kids going there alone. The city has a tacit policy making libraries daytime shelters for the homeless, I'm sure it won't be long before they discover this shiny new branch.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Alex Mackinnon View Post
That took forever to build. I went to the library yesterday, which turned out great. The architect nailed that bit.

I have a few gripes with it. Up first are the names, the Library's name you can't write (or remember). The social housing portion is grammatically incorrect "Cause We Care."

The other is the cost. The 21 housing units cost $10.2M, with $700K being an endowment for op-ex. How does a wood frame apartment block with zero land costs cost $450K per unit?

This is way more than what my mom's fairly luxurious 2 bedroom, concrete condo in New West cost with land costs included, with a heritage restoration. It's just utterly mind boggling.
The housing is family housing - not studios. The application said there is 24,000 sq ft of residential space (there's some amenity space, and a rooftop play area as well as the apartments). Building new for around $400 per sq ft doesn't seem particularly outrageous - especially as it's not a big building with 21 units, so it doesn't have the economies of scale that a 210 unit project can achieve.

I'm pretty certain the cheapest woodframe in New Westminster is around $500 per sq ft to buy today, and concrete is more like $600.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 1:42 AM
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Who on earth thought it was a good idea to call the library nə́c̓aʔmat ct ? Who can pronounce that? I mean if you want that Salish/Haida aesthetic you can do that but not make the words look like a cat walking on a Vietnamese keyboard. Maybe Neycamatick as an Anglicism. This is pretty much like writing 我恨你
in Chinese and expecting people to understand what it says.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 3:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BobLoblawsLawBlog View Post
Who on earth thought it was a good idea to call the library nə́c̓aʔmat ct ? Who can pronounce that? I mean if you want that Salish/Haida aesthetic you can do that but not make the words look like a cat walking on a Vietnamese keyboard. Maybe Neycamatick as an Anglicism. This is pretty much like writing 我恨你
in Chinese and expecting people to understand what it says.
Apparently, that motion brought up last month got passed.

But yeah, it should be "Nahtsamahtst," possibly with the Musqueam spelling as a subscript; same reason we have the Khatsalano festival instead of the Xats'alanexw.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 4:00 AM
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Carnegie isn't exactly far from Strathcona, though I'm not sure I'd want my kids going there alone. The city has a tacit policy making libraries daytime shelters for the homeless, I'm sure it won't be long before they discover this shiny new branch.
The manner in which the VPL accommodates homeless people is one of the few not worthy examples of successful community integration in this city. Not once has accommodating respectful homeless people impacted my experience with the VPL, of which I use the central branch on a weekly basis when I am in Vancouver.

It is nice to see a large library space in the community, Carnegie was never a full sized branch and having a large, inviting, and modern equipped branch in community is a huge net positive.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the indigenous name, it's important to accommodate and respect the community the branch is located in, however, outright use of non-latin characters within the branch's official name makes the effort of using the indigenous language name polarizing and rather un-inclusive.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 4:55 AM
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If you need help pronouncing it.

Quote:
Pronunciation guide for nə́c̓aʔmat ct

There are a large number of sounds in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ that aren’t in English. To represent them accurately, the standardized symbols of the North American Phonetic Alphabet (NAPA) are used.

The following is a pronunciation guide to facilitate your engagement with the words

nə́c̓aʔmat ct
We are one

The first syllable nə́c̓ is pronounced in a way that is very similar to the English word nuts

The unstressed ʔa is identical to the underlined vowel in but

The “a” in the last syllable is the same as the underlined vowel in father

-“mat” also rhymes with the name Mott as in Mott’s Clamato juice

The two letters at the end sound like “tst”



Pronunciation guide for hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓

hən̓q̓
rhymes with the English word hunk* but the q̓ is pronounced a bit farther down the throat than the k

əm is like the sound you might make when you’re thinking about something and you say “uhm”
i is identical to the underlined vowel in pizza
n̓əm̓ sounds very much like the word numb
* letters with corresponding apostrophes are glottalized
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 4:55 AM
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IIRC there was an older "Strathcona Library" tucked into a small outbuilding at Strathcona elementary school. You would have no idea a VPL branch was there unless you took the time to hunt it down and find it.

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Originally Posted by gillty View Post
I'm not quite sure what to make of the indigenous name, it's important to accommodate and respect the community the branch is located in, however, outright use of non-latin characters within the branch's official name makes the effort of using the indigenous language name polarizing and rather un-inclusive.
I don't mind it. Just reading about the story of the name I learned a lot about salish languages. And if you unsure about the pronunciation I'm sure you can call it the strathcona library still. ( "nə́c̓aʔmat ct " = "naht-sah-mahtst" )
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 5:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
I don't mind it. Just reading about the story of the name I learned a lot about salish languages. And if you unsure about the pronunciation I'm sure you can call it the strathcona library still. ( "nə́c̓aʔmat ct " = "naht-sah-mahtst" )
Well it actually is officially called "nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch library" so basically Strathcona will be what it will end up being called by most people.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 5:12 AM
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Again, just Latinize it into "Naht-sah-mahtst" and the problem solves itself.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 5:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post
Again, just Latinize it into "Naht-sah-mahtst" and the problem solves itself.
But who is it a problem for? I'm no expert but the salish orthography communicates proper stress and tone of the words in unicode, which is lost with anglicization of the words, ie, what is the "correct" spelling of the words? how would you transmit pronunciation etc for posterity?

If the musqeum decide that this is the "correct" way to display these words who am i as a non-musquem to say no, another way easier and better and better for me?

even if names are anglisized, salish as a language will still be severely threatened. IMO anglicising the names win the short game, but going for a more complex written language (compared to english) aims for the long game.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:13 AM
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If the musqeum decide that this is the "correct" way to display these words who am i as a non-musquem to say no, another way easier and better and better for me?

even if names are anglisized, salish as a language will still be severely threatened. IMO anglicising the names win the short game, but going for a more complex written language (compared to english) aims for the long game.
What "long game?" Are we expecting these signs to increase fluency in Salish? If so, then go for it.

Otherwise, Canada's a Western country with Western phonics, used by both English and French speakers. The benefit of Romanization, a common phonetic alphabet for understanding, pronouncing, or at least guessing a word/name, outweighs any beauty or special sounds lost in conversion; there's a reason why it's Tchaikovsky, not Чайковский, and Sun Yat Sen, not 孫中山 or 孫逸仙.

Ditto August Jack Khatsahlano. That's the name we use for him, and for the neighbourhood named after him (albeit bastardized), and for the music festival... rather than his proper Squamish name: Xats'alanexw.

See the difference? Try advertising the "Xats'alanexw Street Party" and see how many people figure it out without help, much less say it right. We're trying to integrate First Nations culture into Vancouver (and rightly so), but we should do it with the existing phonetic system that the First Nations, locals, tourists, and immigrants alike are familiar with.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:27 AM
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Go here to hear a sound clip of the name.
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post
What "long game?" Are we expecting these signs to increase fluency in Salish? If so, then go for it.
long game, as in trying to teach future generations of salish their own language, who would likely be the only people wanting to learn this language earnestly.

Quote:
hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ contains a wide variety of sounds. There are 36 consonants, 22 not appearing in English and some appearing in only a handful of languages around the world. Since a majority of these sounds do not appear in English there is no accurate way to write them with the English writing system (orthography). To capture these sounds Musqueam uses the North American Phonetic Alphabet (NAPA), a writing system which is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), where each sound is represented by a distinct symbol. Though it may appear foreign at first these symbols are used worldwide to represent language. You can even find them in your dictionary and encyclopedia entries as an aid in pronunciation.
http://www.musqueam.bc.ca/language

Look, I will likely call it "strathcona library" for the rest of my life. but if the VPL ignores musqueum orthography this renaming business is an empty gesture, even if it stymies regular use of place names by non-musquem.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 7:24 AM
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long game, as in trying to teach future generations of salish their own language, who would likely be the only people wanting to learn this language earnestly.
And they'll still be trying to learn it with or without one library name. They'd be better served with a dedicated First Nations literature shelf inside it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
Duly noted. But a similar situation exists with the Chinese dialects, and yet there's Pinyin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
Look, I will likely call it "strathcona library" for the rest of my life. but if the VPL ignores musqueum orthography this renaming business is an empty gesture, even if it stymies regular use of place names by non-musquem.
If everybody knows it as "Strathcona Library" and completely ignores the Musqueam name, then it's already an empty gesture.

Which is worse, everyone slightly mispronouncing it, or ten people pronouncing it correctly? One makes Salish commonplace, like "potlatch" or "skookum" or "chinook;" the other confines it to the same path as Hebrew or Norse or Ancient Greek...
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 2:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post


If everybody knows it as "Strathcona Library" and completely ignores the Musqueam name, then it's already an empty gesture.

Which is worse, everyone slightly mispronouncing it, or ten people pronouncing it correctly? One makes Salish commonplace, like "potlatch" or "skookum" or "chinook;" the other confines it to the same path as Hebrew or Norse or Ancient Greek...

It would not be an empty gesture because non-musquem would find the native name hard to pronounce and avoid using the name (that's why it's officially called the "Nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch library")

It would be an empty gesture because if the VPL impose an anglicized name they are saying the musquem have no ability to define who they are.

Quote:
Musquem: thanks for consulting us on the name of the new library. we would like to call it nə́c̓aʔmat ct.

VPL: hmm, that's hard for english speakers to pronounce. why not anglisize it and name it nahtsahmahtst

Musquem: there's a logic behind that. that's not standardiized language as we defined it. It's what we teach others at UBC in our language courses. you asked us for our choice and this is our choice.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
It would not be an empty gesture because non-musquem would find the native name hard to pronounce and avoid using the name (that's why it's officially called the "Nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch library")
So a meaningful gesture is one where only the Musqueam (and people with relevant PhDs) appreciate the name, and everybody else ignores it like a "Coloured Only" bathroom? I don't buy it - that just ostracizes them even further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
Musquem: there's a logic behind that. that's not standardiized language as we defined it. It's what we teach others at UBC in our language courses. you asked us for our choice and this is our choice.
But that conversation never happened. The VPL already decided on the name, and then they asked the Musqueam to spell it.

Also, fun fact: the North American Phonetic Alphabet isn't a Native invention. It was defined by European and American anthropologists and adopted later.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 8:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post
The VPL already decided on the name, and then they asked the Musqueam to spell it.
I agree - consult with the musquem on naming and language and orthography and let them have their say.

Why be angry about the native name if that is how the musqeum want it? I totally agree that the orthography makes it difficult for lay people to pronounce but would you want to take that decison out of Musquem hands? you and I will still likely call it 'strathcona library" and that's still cool.
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post
I agree - consult with the musquem on naming and language and orthography and let them have their say.

Why be angry about the native name if that is how the musqeum want it? I totally agree that the orthography makes it difficult for lay people to pronounce but would you want to take that decison out of Musquem hands? you and I will still likely call it 'strathcona library" and that's still cool.
If you want to head over to Southlands and ask them whether they'd prefer Romanized or NAPA, go for it.

But the idea behind naming/renaming Vancouver's buildings and landmarks is to promote a better understanding of the region's history, and to include the First Nations in the community.
So if we really want to educate Vancouver and integrate First Nations culture & history into it - rather than just a token renaming that everybody will ignore - it would help to use phonics that Vancouverites already know - we say Squamish, not Skwxwu7mesh, and Siwash, not Slhx̱i7lsh. Use the Romanized version and put the proper name in a subtext like with highway signs, rather than have everybody flat-out ignore it.

And it's Musqueam with an "A." I mean no harm, but preaching respect for the First Nations somewhat loses its point if you don't care about them enough to get the name right.
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