Beyond Words - Language Blog

Language Photographs from the Flickr Commons

Like the vast majority of language websites and blogs, Beyond Words’ language content mostly consists of writing, audio, and video. Given the nature of language, the way it’s formed, and the way it’s usually expressed, this fact shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, a discussion of language can only be only enriched by the visual and documentary arts.

We decided to look at language through the lens of a less common medium: photography. By searching through The Commons on Flickr, we’re able to bring you 5 great language-related photographs in the public domain. The Commons started as a joint project by Flickr and the Library of Congress attempting to collect the world’s public photography archives in one place online. We hope you enjoy looking at these photographs!

“Work with schools : Y.M.C.A. lesson in English to foreigners…”

Date: 1920s
Source: New York Public Library
Repository: New York Public Library Archives
Link to Photograph

“Many ways in which New Yorkers say ‘Merry Christmas’ or its equivalent.”

Date: December 22, 1907
Source: New-York Tribune
Repository: Library of Congress
Link to Photograph

“Urdd National Eisteddfod, Carmarthen 1967”

“The Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe’s largest cultural festivals. It is a celebration of the Welsh language and culture and showcases young, Welsh talent.”

Photographer: Geoff Charles (1909-2002)
Date: June 8, 1967
Source: Casgliad Geoff Charles Collection
Repository: The National Library of Wales
Link to Photograph

“Student at the Moses Montefiore Hebrew School in Duluth”

“The Hebrew School was formally organized in 1905 and incorporated in 1908. The driving force behind the school was Mrs. Ida Cook, a Lithuanian immigrant. The school, according to the articles of incorporation, was to ‘…furnish persons of Hebrew parentage with religious instruction in harmony with the Hebrew religion; to teach the Hebrew and English languages.'”

Date: 1916
Source: Steinfeldt Photography Collection
Repository: Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest
Link to Photograph

“Vocabulary used by Jewish Horse Traders, 1764”

“What is extraordinary about this veterinary work designed for equestrians, is the ‘Anhang’ or Appendix, which consists of 36 pages of Hebrew words and phrases which were used by Jewish horsetraders, transliterated into Gothic letters and provided with German definitions. The Appendix is subdivded in three parts. First, are presented the numbers in Hebrew, both in square Hebrew characters, and spelled out: Echod, Schnaim, Schloscho, etc. Next, in alphabetical order, is a comprehensive Hebrew-German dictionary. The
dictionary is followed by five dialogues between Jewish horse traders in their peculiar Hebraeo-German jargon.”

Date: 1764
Source: Reizenstein, Wolf Ehrenfried, Freiherr von, 1712-1778
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
Link to Photograph