Conscious Stewardship vs. FAPs

Konrad Lorenz demonstrates FAPs

One of the hallmarks of a community that maintains sustainable stewardship practices is that the community is made up of a higher than average number of individuals who make conscious rational decisions. Community stewardship is thus advanced when members of the community become conscious of their innate Fixed Action Patterns, or FAPs. Fixed action patterns are those patterns which cause humans to behave in predictable, less than rational ways. When people make good financial decisions, resources are kept in their community. Today, it is difficult not to fall victim to marketing tactics used to sell us things we can’t use, don’t need, or don’t help our families or communities out in some way. Therefore, I believe it is helpful for us to promote a better understanding of “tricks” used which frequently drain the resources of small towns while providing little return, so as to immunize members of our community against irrational spending and promote optimal spending.

Empirical research has documented that humans unconsciously behave in predictable ways when confronted by an individual promoting a cause or selling an item. Research has identified the following 6 tactics for getting someone to say “yes” to something that circumvents the rational deliberation process. There are o

1. Reciprocation

2. Commitment and consistency

3. Social Proof

4. Liking (people who also like whatever it is you are promoting)

5. Authority

6. Scarcity

Examples of FAPs that we exhibit

1. Reciprocation-if a car salesman gives someone a cup of coffee, buyers will frequently not negotiate the best price for their car. The coffee isn’t even worth a dollar. The buyer might spend $2000 more on the car if he is given a cup of coffee by the nice salesman.

2. Commitment and consistency—if you get someone to start saying yes to things they agree with, you can eventually show that donating to a cause is consistent with what they already believe.

3. Social Proof—if you preface your survey by saying “9 out of 10 people believe X”, do you also believe X, most people will believe X.

4. Liking (people who also like whatever it is you are promoting)—If you show an attractive or likeable person likes X, most people will also like X, even if they know nothing about X.

5. Authority—if you state that the Powers-That-Be like X, most people will also like X.

6. Scarcity—if you say that something will not be available soon, many people will feel compelled to buy that thing right now.

Aart Stravaganza Begins Oct. 24th

AartStravaganza Begins October 24
(See attached Photo )
An event of epic proportion occurs at the Spring Grove Cinema Sunday, October 24 from 1:00 until 3 PM. It is sponsored by the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center and Sons of Norway.    Although the tickets are free, it is necessary to have one to be admitted.  Reserve tickets by calling 203.858.7730, or by email at <> , or pick up tickets at the Ballard House on West Main Street.  Seating is limited and a free will offering will be accepted at the performance.  There is an opportunity to meet Aarseth and buy autographed copies of his books at the Ballard House from 3:00 until 4:00.
Famous Artist Travels to Spring Grove

This past May the Norwegian Crown awarded to Sigmund Aarseth the St Olav Medal of Culture as the premier painter of Norway. Aarseth has an international reputation for both fine art and rosemaling. In recent years he has focused on fine arts, but earlier projects varied from sign and banner painting to interior decoration, restoration, rosemaling and architectural drawing.

As a young man, he was inspired by old decorated interiors where rosemaling has its roots, and in his opinion “it is now time for painters to return to the interior, and for experienced American rosemalers, that is where the future lies.”

In the early years his interior work was dominated by the traditional Norwegian Rosemaling style. Since then he has developed a range of decorative styles derived from Rosemaling and other traditional decorative painting techniques.

Sigmund is best known as a landscape painter in his native Norway. He prefers to paint directly from life, so throughout spring, summer and fall he spends the majority of his time outdoors, capturing the ever-changing light and seasons of Norway on canvas.

Sigmund has exhibited all over Norway, as well as in Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Spain and the U.S.

His colleague in the US, Sallie Haugen DeReus of Leheigh, Iowa, began studying rosemaling with Sigmund Aarseth at Vesterheim in the late 1960s, and is a Gold Medalist in the museum’s annual national competition. Her work is in Vesterheim’s permanent collection. Much of the accent stenciling and rosemaling throughout Vesterheim’s Amdal-Odland Heritage Center is by Sallie.

She was selected to help decorate the Norwegian Pavilion at the Epcot Center in Florida. Her degree is in Applied Art from Iowa State University. Sallie is the immediate past president of the Pella Historical Museum.

All of Sallie’s Norwegian immigrant relatives settled north of Decorah around Hesper and many years ago Sallie’s parents lived near Dorchester and were members of Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church. They attended Sons of Norway meetings in Spring Grove.

Sigmund and Song on Sunday

Sigmund has a love of music, and it is his style to paint while listening to music. The audience on the 24th will experience this phenomenal person of exuberant joy painting a canvas that measures 5 by 15 feet.  Being in the audience is to experience a Norwegian treat to the eyes and even to the soul.  His passion for life is contagious.

Sigmund and Sallie Decorate Ballard House

Mindful of the architectural and historic details and through the magic of their brushes Sigmund and Sallie will be applying their interpretation of the Spring Grove immigrant experiences to the interior rooms as part of the restoration project of the Ballard House.

Mike Schmidt, Vice-President of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center Board, is the manager of the restoration project.

AartStravaganza Continues October 30

Another event, one of epic ambience occurs October 30 when we celebrate the decorating of the Ballard House by Sigmund and Sallie, the opening of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, and local treasure Georgia Rosendahl, our historian and genealogist. Ruth Hampton of Decorah is catering the gourmet dinner to be held in the Ballard House.  Tickets for this gala will be for sale on October 24.

Celebration of Restoration

Restoration and Celebration in Spring Grove October 30
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove has been renovating a historic building at 163 West Main and is ready to reveal all the changes accomplished to date on Saturday, October 30 beginning at 6:45PM.
A gala celebration with valet parking, a string quartet from Luther College, and a gourmet meal lend themselves well to a program honoring Georgia Rosendahl, local historian and genealogist.   Georgia is a very modest, retired dairy farmer who now is able to work just as hard on an avocation, researching genealogy and recording history.
Her father Oscar Kroshus, and her neighbor, Percival Narveson were the historians who first kindled Georgia’s passion of learning who people’s families were.  They kept newspaper accounts of people in the area, and Georgia too started pasting obituaries and articles into scrapbooks.
Later when the computer age came along, Georgia shifted to storing information electronically and has worn the letters off four keyboards, “filled up” those computers with so much genealogical info that it made them crash.  She currently has 40,059 names in her latest working computer. People call and E-mail her on a regular basis from around this country and the world seeking information about people in their family trees who have connections to Spring Grove.  It is surprising how much information she is able to recall without looking data up in the computer.  It seems she uses the technology only to verify what she remembers, and to be able to share it in a usable format.  One of her greatest pleasures is to hear or read expressions of joy and gratitude from those she assists.
She maintains a very large library as well, and some years ago purchased a huge bookcase from a Main Street business in Spring Grove, and then built an office large enough to accommodate the bookcase.  Some of the reference books belonged to Percival Narveson, and the rest she has collected at farm auctions and estate sales, and by purchasing new genealogical resource books as they are printed.
Authors such as Kathy Stokker and Chad Muller seek out Georgia as a resource when they write books about Spring Grove’s people, history and traditions.
Georgia is a very active member of the Houston County Historical Society’s Board of Directors and also the Sons of Norway Lodge in Spring Grove.  She has gone around the Midwest presenting programs on Ola and Per who were created by her father-in-law, Peter J. Rosendahl.  Ola and Per is the longest continually running comic strip in the United States.
Giants of the Earth recognizes what a national treasure Georgia is, and she will be the first Honoree of this organization at a dinner in the newly restored room of the Ballard House on October 30. 
The room has been painted this past week by a painter from Norway, Sigmund Aarseth who received the King Olav Medal this year from the Crown, and his American collaborator, Sallie Haugen DeReus, a Gold Medalist rosemaler in the annual Vesterheim competition.  The walls around the room show their interpretation of the areas of Norway from which immigrants of this area came, the bunads of those areas, and historic aspects of life in Spring Grove through time.
For more information concerning the festivities of October 30, please call 498.5617, or read more on the Aart Stravaganza post.

Årt Stravaganza Poster

Click on Image for Printable PDF

Update: The 24th was a smashing success with hundreds of people attending!

The October 30th Gourmet dinner has been so popular that it is filled up and there is a waiting list for seats. Call immediately to get on the waiting list, just in case seats open up for this extravagant Spring Grove event.

UffDa Fest 2010

by Jill Storlie

UffDa Fest Uff Da Fest Flier V1 Sept 24 2010 for Heritage Center events

On Saturday Oct. 2, choose from so many events in Spring Grove – in the Fest Building, Viking Park and Syttende Mai Hus, Bluff Country Gallery and more!
Visit for the full invitation and schedule and see the Spring Grove Herald.
In the mean time, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, your new area volunteer “non-profit educational institution, is dedicated to honoring, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the people from Spring Grove’s Norwegian Ridge in southeastern Minnesota.”   Check out our website at 
We are excited to bring more programs to the community.  Remember last spring we hosted Scott Wolters presentation on The Kensington Rune Stone and Hooked X Rune? and 17th Mai drawings for memberships and events and last year`s Uff Da Fest monkey fist knot typing sessions of kids? and always genealogy introduction and research.
Check out our attached schedule of events centered around Spring Grove`s Cinema (what a great screen for videos and speakers), SG Library, YOOH and The Ballard House -our new home (currently under interior 1st floor reconstruction and about to host Norwegian interior mural painter Sigmund Årseth).  The Sons of Norway, Valdres and the Viking Boat will join us to expand our kids activities, photo opportunities, and food options at Uff Da Fest on Saturday October 2.  Please print this attached schedule to choose from and join us in Spring Grove for the events of your choice.  Sign up for our drawing at the Cinema or Ballard House and bring your stories to the video sessions at the Library.  You and the kids can learn about the OLD OLD RUNES, or alphabet and how the letters reflected nature and had special meanings or learn the old chants you might sign up on the mountaint with the sheet and cattle in the summer where you connect with the universe and called the animals with your voice and staff (stav) or see the hilarious and challenging experience of a group of Americans in series where they explored their Nordic heritage.. for the first time.. and ate a sheep`s head as is the tradition in say, Voss. ugh.
If you like a festive day in the fall, Spring Grove is the place to be – rain or shine – you will end the day satisfied with your selections of fun, culture and food. 
Any changes will be posted at our website and available on the day. 
See you next SATURDAY
We welcome new support in the form or members, contributors, volunteers and promoters.  Please consider an individual or family membership of 35 and 50 dollars or even a philanthropic level!  We appreciate all your support and good will – that is what fuels our volunteer energies in this fast-moving and engaging project.
Watch for our fall events as well…
Oct 24th afternoon Sunday, Sigmund Årseth painting to music at the Cinema… An event you will not see anywhere else.  A 9 foot by 15 foot canvas painting in about an hour plus great music.
Oct 30 evening Saturday, Multicourse Dinner and Preview of Sigmund`s work on the Ballard House, Heritage Center Walls
Nov 13 all day Saturday beginning and review ROSEMALING course
Nov 18 evening Thursday, with Sons of Norway presentation by Roar Moe of Litle Færøy, Sogn og Fjordane… Friluftliv, Coastal Culture and Nature life history preservation and student programs in Norway, a multimedia presentation on the big screen at Spring Grove Cinema.
Nov. x,  grand opening of Heritage Center at the Ballard House Historic Hotel, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center new digs.

Envisioning the Heritage Center

Envisioning an Interactive, Personalized Heritage Center

About a year ago, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center purchased the Historic Ballard House for use as the Heritage Center. The renovation of the Ballard House into the Heritage Center took part in several phases. Phase 1 involved primarily preparing the main room for the visit of the internationally known painter, Sigmund Aarseth. The painter arrived on October 12, 2010. He painted numerous large murals on the walls of the main room. The community rallied behind the effort with large donations.

Recently, the Northwest room was turned into a gift shop extension of Vesterheim. A room for videotaping oral history stories has been set up in the room south of Giants Hall. Genealogy research, including advanced genetic genealogy reasearch is currently on Wednesdays from 10-3:15, followed by Hootenanny. The room itself is gorgeous, and is the perfect place for gatherings such as family reunions, where our genealogical services will be right there so people can find out how everyone is related. Further, groups of people at the family reunion can take 15 minutes to have their treasured family stories recorded by our video specialists, so that these stories can be preserved and shared for future generations of your family.

Mimickery is for unimaginative technicians–Artists are Entrepeneurs by definition

In the rush to set up our Heritage Center, there is a lot of inertia to mimick what has been done elsewhere. This seems to arise out of confusion about the difference between technicians and technology. Everyone likes to think of themselves as artists and not as technicians. If we are not aware of the etymological roots of artists and technicians, we may ourselves mistakenly refer to all people who works with technology as technicians. Because of this there is some resistance to using highly interactive technology that would put monitors and touch screens on the walls. But etymologically, an artist is one poetically creates something new, especially in new mediums. A technician, by contrast, is one who mimicks what has already been done, without ever utilizing his paradigm-smashing imagination. Thus, one who entrepeneurs is actually an artist, even if he or she uses technology to entrepeneur. One who imitates, even if he uses paint, clay, or some other medium that was once used by an artist, is a technician. Another objection might be that technology is intimidating. This need not be the case, if we are willing to work to make the visitor’s interface completely user friendly and if have someone ready at all time to assist older individuals who might not know how to use a mouse or a touchscreen. 

A crucial junction

History has proven that inertia is the stewardship principle of those who miss opportunities. We are at a crucial junction which requires that we set aside time from our frenzied activities for reflection. The extent to which we seize unique opportunities presented by the latest computer technology will make all the difference when people ask themselves 10 years from now whether or not our center kept “in touch” with people and empowered our local and online communities to be poets and create something truly new. Do we want our open community center to revert into another cluttered “musaleum”, complete with kitschy gift shop? Do we want to fill up our welcoming open space with items designed to advance a particular historicist narrative? Or do we want to make it an interactive center that puts each member in the driver’s seat? By putting people in the drivers seat rather than pretending to be some objective historical intercessor, we can facilitate their realization that although no one else will live their lives, love their families, or leave their legacies for them, what they do, or don’t do, profoundly effects the quality of life of others for generations.

We want to be true to our pioneering ancestors, whose principled inflexible committment to the future of their children moved them to break new ground and to continually ask themselves if they were spending the resources entrusted to them in the best way to accomplish their goals. They maintained an absolute committment to fundamental things and a relative committment to that which was relative. We have to ask ourselves–is our job to become what we believe grantgivers want? Is our job to jump through hoops on forms created to evaluate museums created 50-100 years ago to appeal to audiences using the latest technologies available back then? Or is our job to manifest the same principled inflexible committment to future generations in a pioneering way and let them change their forms to catch up with our lead? We have to ask ourselves, before we fill up our space with display cases and “representative” physical items, can we do better? For if we don’t ask this question, we will quickly supplant our unique opportunity to be pioneers in personalized history, because we can’t supply MOTS (more of the same) and still pioneer an interactive heritage center. Doesn’t the world have enough cookie cutter museums and gift shops? We have in our power the ability to make the Heritage Center a community resource and an online international center that pioneers a new type of experience for members and visitors.

The New Paradigm is Personalized Heritage which refuses to merely preach to the choir

What would our “personalized” history entail? Our personalized approach would begin by asking each visitor what they are interested in and allowing them to discover more about that by interacting and contributing to our enormous database. There is a simple rule, keep it fun and welcoming if you want it to grow. We want to welcome visitors by starting out with the premise that they had ancestors who were important. We want to learn with them about their ancestors’ activities and how they fit into our community tree. In a matter of half an hour, we can make a personal connection between them and historical events or people that they never realized they had a connection to.

With the advent of the internet and access to massive databases, we can make our’s both a collaborative and an inclusive historical narrative. Rather than melt everyone together into some generic Spring Grove or Midwest pioneer everyman, who never actually existed, or choose one “representative” or “prominent” person, we can capture every person’s story.  This type of historical preservation and presentation was not feasible prior to the development of contemporary technology. Using this technology we can upload, store, link, and retrieve instantly any of billions of pictures and even videos through the internet. With older technology that stored the actual physical documents or artifacts only, curators were forced to selectively choose what information could be presented and preserved and throw out the rest. This gave immense and inevitably revisionist winnowing power to museum curators to “cherry pick.” Curators at privately funded museums had to effectively say to most people, “Sorry, your grandparents weren’t important enough to merit a place in our museum. Instead of learning about your grandparents, you should come here and learn about so and so’s grandparents, who were important [because their grandchildren donated money to keep this museum running].” Even more dangerous, publicly funded museum curators, in contrast, were given license to create the “everyman” generalizations that were subject to the particular politics and interests of the curator. Fortunately, thanks to today’s technology, we can throw away both of these elitist and generationalist paradigms and preserve the pictures, stories, actual writings, and legacies of all the people who live or have lived in our community.

Personalized Heritage Technology will usher in new types of family reunions

The identity we have, principally with our surnames only, is somewhat outdated: Surprisingly, people who share a surname are frequently less related in Spring Grove than people who don’t share a surname. You might be a second cousin to someone with a different last name and a fourth cousin to someone with the same last name, yet many people don’t even know who their second cousins are if they don’t have the same last name as them. At the center and online, we can now, in an instant, pull up the nearly complete family tree of most of the members of our community, and we can then be reminded of all the relationships that each of us have from all of our maternal sides. Invitations to family reunions at our Heritage Center can be sent out by email or facebook to those who are related to the host or hostess within 3 or 4 degrees of separation, for example, or in many other creative ways designed to remind people how interconnected we all are, rather than grouping people as “Johnsons”, or “Hagens”, or some other last name.

Oral Histories

Many of us in Spring Grove treasure the stories we would hear from the elders in our family or the elders in our community. They would tell us about growing up in the early part of the century. These would include detailed stories, such as how one’s great grandfather would go out and hold the reindeer for Santa on Christmas Eve, so that Santa would come  into the house while “Pa” was outside “holding the reindeer.”  These great stories of our deceased loved ones we wished we had videotaped, because we will never be able to go back and do it again. We certainly could never tell those stories as well as they could. Collectively, we can capture these stories while they are still being told, if community members resolve to continue to support this project with their donations that help us preserve stories for their grandchildren that they will then be able sit down on the couch someday in their homes or at our center and watch with their grandchildren. We want our organization to stay ahead of the curve by reaffirming the worth of all of our members and their family’s stories. We have already videotaped 60 hours of histories of the town as provided by our elderly residents, but we need to do hundreds more in the next year. Especially pressing this year are the stories of our few remaining WWII veterans.

No two visits to our Heritage Center need be alike

We want to provide our visitors with the ability to start with their own family and use our resources to make connections to all sorts of historical events. No two visits to the center need to be alike. Rather than merely creating a museum and allowing some historian to choose exhibits that represent our history in a way that appeals to him or her and have the rest of us endure his or her idiosyncratic. monolithic narrative about the monumental progress that we are-or are not-going through, we can open up the narrative to the little guys. By making use of the digital archives, visitors can summon up immense catalogued resources of their choosing in seconds and present them on a screen. The new interactivity we wish to offer is based upon the realization that frequently the most universal truths are found in the lives of real individuals to which one has a personal connection. The mysterious “typical” or “representative” individuals, that we are led to believe existed at different historical times, could be simply straw-men created by some new revisionist historian who simply wishes to promote his agenda or glamorize his interests. By preserving the stories of real people, monumental historical myths and generalizations can be continuously evaluated in the light of actual evidence. Generalized facts that have been pedantically propagated in the heteronomous environment of educational institutions for the last century can be deconstructed and replaced by the light of parsimonious hypotheses made tenable by actual historical data generated during the multigenerational existence of a sustainable community.

Keeping it real

In making important life decisions, people often draw insight as they reflect on and interpret their own experiences and the stories that convey others’ experience. Thus, the vision that creates future history is made in the development of each person’s interpretation of stories they consider to represent reality. We want to democratize this interpretive, developmental process and remove the possibility that the essential feedback loops that keep the dialectical process healthy are not destroyed by excessive compliance with the demands of a single generation’s majority (which likes to call itself “the public”) or of particular private interests. We want to maintain a balance between public and private interests. When we receive funding–either public or private, we certainly should thank our sources sincerely. In that they contribute to our vision we should recognize  them and help them, but we must make sure that we aren’t backsliding on our inclusive and multigenerational vision in order to promote funding in the near future or out of fear.

Eternal vigilance is the price…

Although we must always we kind, we must also be eternally vigilant in our deliberation of what constitutes heritage, so that the books of wisdom in our libraries will be understood, and so that those who call the public to rational discourse will not be simply a voice crying out in the wilderness. Without real heritage, our children will not be able to discern the difference between the call to principled service of sustainable community and the rhetorical siren songs of post-modernity. 

History has many more facets than any one individual can understand, and there is no reason not to bring in the narratives of all those who have a stake in history, which is everyone. Most importantly, the Heritage Center can be an agora, in which historical narratives of all types can be heard, and people can continually synthesize the narrative that makes most sense to them as they reflect on how the lives of their ancestors affected their own lives, and how their own actions or inactions also limit or expand the freedoms that subsequent generations will have. Ultimately, allowing people to develop an understanding of what constituted good sustainable stewardship in the past may be one of the most effectual means of promoting sustainable stewardship, not just of one generation, or of one branch of humanity, but of the whole tree of human Being. The leaves on the tree of life are for the healing of the nations.

An Interactive and Dynamic Center

I hope we will incorporate interactive and dynamic elements such as work stations, touchscreen monitors, and child friendly interactive screens that allow visitors to interact with our online family tree, which will contain oral histories, genetic information, stories, pictures, videos and more.

What do we think about paternal and grandpaternal guidance in America? We think it would be a good thing.

Genealogical research teaches us how to make prudent life decisions within the small windows of opportunity provided by each human life. The great irony these days is that by the time we are old enough to appreciate the importance of heritage studies, most of our major decisions have already been made–with respect to marriage, children, vocation, etc.

This was not always the case. At one time children learned the stories of their ancestors’ experience as they sat around the fires at night. Therefore, the most important change that needs to happen to the genealogical community is to reconnect with the younger generations. If we fail to make our Heritage Center youth-friendly, we will only be providing more of the same type of museum that has preached to the choir but neglected the masses for a hundred years. There is a tragic irony in turning a Heritage Center into a non-child friendly environment, filled with items too valuable to interact with at a child’s level, so that children are unwelcome or constantly scolded within our center. Children are the future of existence and as such they will someday be the only people who had a personal connection to us, for we will have passed away, save for the legacies we have left. Each one of our children is more valuable than any material object in existence. “Let the little children come…” for they are the essence of the future in which the past can be preserved. We should not store up our riches in objects, which decay, but in preserving that which nurtures the development of each little miracle born into our community. Having said that we must make our center child friendly, it is also important to note that we do not wish to make it friendly to the point that we water down our message so much that there is none. If we simply provide the same type of youth activities that youths can get anywhere, then we have only made work for ourselves without accomplishing anything. Further, we never want to draw youth away from another organizations good event, but we want cooperate with all other community empowering organizations, to co-sponsor everything, endorse, and publicize others events, and to fill in where we see a heritage need. If we try to do everything, we will never accomplish our vision of creating a complete community family tree.

The Tree comes first, because it makes the personalized approach possible

Once that tree is complete, our museum can then be as specialized or generalized as members wish, since our extremely large and rapidly growing genealogical database provides the perfect framework for indexing and sharing digitized video, audio, pictures, and other documents related to any given family, event, or topic in our extended community. Why should we choose who are the prominent families in Spring Grove when technology allows us to preserve the pictures and legacies of all of our families? With limited resources, it is only fair to begin researching the stories of the ancesors of those who contribute to our heritage center. However, we ought never to forget that history was caused by the interaction of all people’s ancestors, and not just those who have donated to us. Secondly, we must always remember that heritage is is categorically different than any particular skill or item. It cannot be bought in a gift shop. It cannot be purchased like indulgences. It cannot be made in a craft class. Heritage is something that isn’t given to you in a perfect state. Each person inherits conditioning and momentum–but these are not stewardship heritage. Each person may choose to accept, to resist, or to yield to and then overcome that momentum through critical reflection, and conscious self-reconditioning.

Genealogy empowers modesty and service

Some people are turned off by genealogy because they think it is elitist. While at first, this might seem to be the case, experience shows that genealogy humbles the proud and inspires the poor in spirit. That is because, when anyone really studies it, they realize how interrelated everyone is. No one is so superior that they don’t have a horse thief or someone similar in their ancestry. No one is so base as to lack a royal ancestor if they go back far enough. Some of us might have lost the written trail, but genetic genealogy changes everything. Our genetic analysis is demonstrating the interconnectedness of the town as well as reaching out to distant cousins across the globe. Using genetic technology, we can help someone trace their ancestors back with incredible accuracy to any place in the world–right down to the villages in Europe, Asia, or Africa that they came from. That is truly an inclusive genealogical service. Stay tuned for the upcoming videos Giants is preparing, modeled after “Who do you think you are?” television series that will document the experiences of members of the Spring Grove community as our genetic analysis answers the question “Where’d you get your genes?”

Investigating immigrant languages in America

Note: The schedule below may be subject to change.

Please join us for a conference on “Investigating immigrant languages in America”, September 16-17 of 2010, in the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. This event will bring together a set of scholars with the aim of creating new collaborations in linguistics and related areas. The program is free and open to the public — everyone is invited. Wisconsin has a long tradition of research into immigrant languages in the North America, led by luminaries like Einar Haugen (Scandinavian Studies), and others including Frederic Cassidy (English / Dictionary of American Regional English) and Lester W.J. Seifert (German). Haugen, a Norwegian-American bilingual from the Upper Midwest, was one of the creators of modern sociolinguistics, and made great contributions to our understanding of language structure, bilingualism, language contact and language history. This conference builds very directly on that tradition, presenting new research on all the just-mentioned areas. Indeed, the program includes a presentation on Haugen’s work, and research founded on insights in his Bilingualism in America. The conference aims to reach two distinct audiences. The first day focuses on linguistics, more directly intended for linguists faculty and students. Particular attention is going to syntax, an area long ignored in the study of immigrant languages. The second day aims to attract and engage a broader public, including language learners, members of heritage communities and those interested in American dialects. Program: “Investigating immigrant languages in America” Thursday, Sept. 16 9:00 Introduction, Janne Bondi Johannessen and Joe Salmons, UiO and UW 
 9:15 Two dialects, one syntax: Wisconsin High German as relexified Pomeranian, Mark Louden, UW 
 10:00 Wisconsin West Frisian morphophonology, Joshua Bousquette and Todd Ehresmann, UW 
 10:45 Break 
 11:15 Einar Haugen’s study of Norwegian in America, within a Matrix Language-Frame-model adapted to Principles and Parameters, Tor A. Åfarli, NTNU 
 12:00 Lunch 
 1:30 Intricacies of interrogative morphosyntax across Norwegian dialects, Øystein Alexander Vangsnes and Marit Westergaard, UiT 
 2:15 The distribution of verb particles in some Norwegian dialects, Leiv Inge Aa, NTNU 
 3:00 Break 
 3:30 Syntactic stability and change in American German, Dan Nützel, IUPUI, and Joe Salmons, UW 4:15 Preliminary investigations into immigrant Norwegian dialects in 2010, Janne Bondi Johannessen, and Signe Laake, UiO 

 Friday, Sept. 17 9:30 The Nordic Dialect Corpus and Database, Janne Bondi Johannessen, UiO, and Kristin Hagen, UiO 
 10:15 Some features of Scandinavian and Germanic influence on the English language in the Midwest, Bert Vaux, Cambridge University 
 11:00 Break 
 11:45 Immigrant language in Norway: Social network analysis, multilingualism and identity, Elizabeth Lanza 
 12:30 Lunch 
 2:00 Code Switching as Literary Device in Norwegian-American Writings: Examples from O.E. Rølvaag and Johs. B. Whist, Ingeborg Kongslien 2:45 The language of Gudbrandsdal immigrants in the 1980s, Arnstein Hjelde, HiØ 
 3:30 Break 
 4:00 What remains of Norwegian in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Louis Janus, University of Minnesota 
 4:45 Closing discussion Academic Interests My interests are in three different areas: theoretical linguistics (syntax and morphology) and dialectology, linguistics methodology and language technology. The last few years my involvement in dialectology has combined these two interests. I am part of several Nordic networks focussing on dialects and language variation, and as a manager of the Text Laboratory, I am pleased that we have been in charge of developing The Nordic Dialect Corpus and Nordic Dialect Database. My linguistic research has recently focussed on Scandinavian demonstratives (especially what I call Psychologically Distal Demonstratives), dialect differences related to dative case and word order variation, and the mapping of grammatical isoglosses, but I am still interested in my old research topics coordination, negation and negative polarity items, compounding, and correlative adverbs. My research languages are Norwegian and the other Scandinavian and Germanic languages, but I have also done research on Modern Greek. My outlook is usually one of a wider cross-linguistic perspective. My linguistics methodology interests are linked to the use of empirical data, from collecting data to using data. Corpus linguistics comes under this heading. My language technology interests are closely linked to my role as head of the Text Laboratory, and my work here is very much part of a collaborative effort. The projects include: part of speech tagging, named entity recognition, corpus (text and speech) and interface development, grammars and treebanks, grammar checking, grammar games, statistical methods, computational lexicography. Areas of supervision Nordic linguistics: syntax, lexicon, dialectology Theoretical linguistics: Syntax (minimalism), morphology. Language technology: a wide range of topics related to Text Laboratory project Students that I have supervised for MA and PhD theses Projects / Ongoing Research • I head the big project Norwegian Dialect Syntax (NorDiaSyn), financed by the Norwegian Research Council 2009-12. Read about it at the NFR pages and on the project homepage. The project is a collaboration with researcher Øystein Alexander Vangsnes at UiT and Professor Tor Anders Åfarli at NTNU. • I also head the NordForsk-financed project Scandinavian Dialect Infrastructure: Corpus, Database and Dialect Maps 2008-9. NordForsk has also financed our international PhD training course: “Infrastructural tools for the study of linguistic variation” at Fefor Høifjellshotell 2.-6. June 2009. I am a member of the following Nordic collaborations networks and projects: • NORMS – Nordic Centre of Excellence in Microcomparative Syntax (NOS-HS) • ScanDiaSyn – Scandinavian Dialect Syntax • RILIVS – Research Infrastructure for Linguistic Variation Studies See also the link Prosjekter on the Text Laboratory Scandinavian Dialect Infrastructure: Corpus, Database and Dialect Maps Janne Bondi Johannessen University of Oslo Norway Project Summary Our aim is to complete and enhance a common language infrastructure by putting efforts into the Scandinavian Dialect Corpus and Database, with Digital Maps. This infrastructure will reach the first stage of completion in 2008. The complete corpus and database will: contain spontaneous speech and systematic data from Scandinavian dialects be represented in a web interface with an advanced search interface have an advanced presentation of text, sound and picture (video). We want to: A.Supplement individual language resources For Swedish: Use questionnaires, re-take recordings in some dialect areas, transcribe these. For Finland Swedish: Supplement with questionnaires. For Danish: Supplement with recordings of young people, plus transcribe. B. Enhance the technological aspects of the infrastructure Investigate technical map solutions Investigate how to make the maps interactive w.r.t. geographical and grammatical information, and implement. This will be done in cooperation with the Dutch SAND and Edisyn project. Develop and program ways of searching and representing dialect-specific features and isoglosses in processing-effective ways. Find ways of representing dialect texts in a multi-lingual interface. Our own (Text Laboratory, UiO) program GLOSSA will be used, since it contains facilities for bilingual and parallel texts. Complete our partly developed transliteration tool that transliterates from phonetically transcribed speech to orthographical transcription. Research training course: “Infrastructural tools for the study of linguistic variation”

Norwegian Speakers Wanted

WANTED.. NORWEGIAN SPEAKERS who learned from their earlier relatives!
Did you speak Norsk with bestefar din?

We will host Norwegians who are learning about the dialects from as far back as the 1850`s when our relatives may have come to Spring Grove from Norway. They would like 15 or more people to talk to. Please let us know in one of the following ways:
email Jillellyn Storlie at
tell Rachel Grippen (soon to be Storlie) at the Ballard House
or call Georgia Rosendahl.

Nordic Fest 2010

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center will have a table displaying some of the results of its genetic genealogy during Nordic Fest 2010.

The Giants table will be located at the famous Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

Dr. Johnathan Storlie will be present at the table on Friday( July 23) from 9:30 to 5:00 and on Saturday (July 24) afternoon to share information regarding the use of genomic analysis for genealogy research, such as finding relative in Norway and identifying ancestral European farms.

Dr. Storlie will have a number of cutting-edge technology complete genomic kits (valued at $500) available for those who join Giants of the Earth at a King Olav level. Unlike most genetic kits made popular on television, which only analyze a dozen markers on a single small chromosome (yDNA/mitochondrial analysis), the kits Giants of the Earth uses analyze 1/2 million nucleotide polymorphisms over the entire human genome, and allow one to identify hundreds of long lost 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th cousins. Further, the interface for the results are very user friendly, allowing people with very little knowledge of human genetics to still use it with great productivity. A similar SNP based genomic test has been used on most of the Icelandic population.

The Giants of the Earth table will be located on the air conditioned 3rd floor of Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center.

For more information on the technology, click the Find Relatives, Find Homelands, or Genealogy page links above.