Presentation on theme: "Language Shift and Language Death"— Presentation transcript:
1 Language Shift and Language Death Daniel SchluneggerSascha KocherBasil Rohrer
2 Overview Terminology Some numbers Classifications Types of language deathSudden death (linguicide)Radical deathGradual deathBottom-up / Top-down
3 TerminologySchmid, Monika S. Language Attrition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
4 Terminology Language death A dead language When the last speaker is deadExtinct languageA dead languagee.g. Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English, ...May still be used in science or as sacred languagesCrystal, David. "What is language death?" In Language Death, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000."Extinct language." In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. n.d. Accessed May 6, 2013.
5 Terminology Language shift Language attrition Aphasia Weinreich: "the change from the habitual use of one language to that of another" (1953, p.68)Community of speakers shifts from one language to anotherIn most cases part of language deathLanguage attritionLoss of proficiency in a language by a healthy individualAphasiapathological, brain injury- Crystal, David. "Why do languages die?" In Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.- Schmid, Monika S. Language Attrition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004- Weinreich, Uriel. Languages in Contact, Findings and Problems. New York: Linguistic Circle of New York, 1953
6 Some numbers 5000 – 7000 living languages in the world Half of them are going to disappear in the course of the current centuryEvery two weeks one language dies out96% of all languages are spoken by only 4% of the population- Crystal, David. "What is language death?" In Language Death, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.- Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.), Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Seventeenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: (Accessed May 6, 2013)
7 Classifications Fishman‘s Scale for endangered languages Stage 8 Only a few isolated old folks speak the languageStage 7Speakers are socially integrated but beyond child-bearing ageStage 6Some informal oral intergenerational use of the languageStage 5Language is alive and wellStage 4Language is taught and required in elementary schoolsStage 3Language is used in business and by employees in lower work sphereStage 2Language is used by lower government and mass mediaStage 1Language is used by higher government and in higher educationAdapted from Fishman (1991); Černý (2010)Fishman, Joshua A. Reversing Language Shift Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1991- Miroslav Černý. “Language Death versus Language Survival: A Global Perspective.” In Beyond Globalisation: Exploring the Limits of Globalisation in the Regional Context (conference proceedings), Ostrava: University of Ostrava Czech Republic,
8 Types of language death Sudden death (linguicide)Radical deathGradual deathBottom-up / Top-down death
9 Sudden death (linguicide) - In a short period of time a language becomes completely extinct (no occurance of language shift)Death of all or almost all of it‘s speakersBecause of catastrophic natural causes, genocide, diseases, civil warsResulting in a high mortality and decay of the communitye.g. The Black War in Tasmania- Campbell, Lyle, and Martha C. Muntzel. "The structural consequences of language death." In Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, edited by Nancy C Dorian, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989- Crystal, David. "Why do languages die?" In Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
10 Radical death Similar to sudden death fast decline of the languageoften political repression and genocideLoss of language "out of selfdefence, a survival strategy" (Campbell & Muntzel, 1989)e.g. El Salvador (1932):Insurgents of a revolt were assumed to be "communist-inspired Indians" Those identified were killed (10000 – 40000)Out of fear, people stopped speaking their language (Lenca, Cacaopera and Pipil)- Campbell, Lyle, and Martha C. Muntzel. "The structural consequences of language death." In Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, edited by Nancy C Dorian, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989- Crystal, David. "Why do languages die?" In Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.- University of California, San Diego. "SSHL: Latin American Election Statistics: El Salvador elections and events " Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. Accessed May 7, 2013.
11 Gradual death Gradual language shift towards the dominant language "immense pressure (...) to speak the dominant language" (Crystal, 2000)Intermediate stage of bilingualismYoung generation becomes more proficient in the new language and less proficient in the old language.- Campbell, Lyle, and Martha C. Muntzel. "The structural consequences of language death." In Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, edited by Nancy C Dorian, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989- Crystal, David. "Why do languages die?" In Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000
12 Bottom-up / Top-down Bottom up Top down Language change starts at home, in the family and in peer-groups“latinate pattern” which has been identified in Uto-Aztecan “where the language is lost first in the contexts of domestic intimacy and last in the most elevated ritual routines“ (Hill, 1983)Top downLanguage change starts at a higher level (e.g. government)Language policy and lawsCampbell, Lyle, and Martha C. Muntzel. "The structural consequences of language death." In Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, edited by Nancy C Dorian, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989Crystal, David. "Why do languages die?" In Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000Hill, Jane H. "Language Death in Uto-Aztecan." International Journal of American Linguistics 49, no. 3 (1983): doi: /"Language death." In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. n.d. Accessed May 7, 2013.
13 To concludeThere is never only one single factor responsible for language deathFactors which put people in physical danger are mainly responsible for “sudden death“ and “radical death“Factors which change the culture of the people are mainly responsible for “gradual death“
14 Language shift / death and Colonisation OverviewColonial nations3 different types of colonisationDiseases typical for coloniesPidginCreoles
15 Colonisation Which countries were the 5 biggest colonisers? Portugal FranceSpainBritainNetherlands
17 3 different types of colonisation, according to Mufwene (2002) Trade coloniesExploitation coloniesSettlement colonies
18 Trade coloniesFirst colonies, especially at west coast of Africa and Asiafrom 15th to 18th centuryLanguages: anything (trial and error)Pidgin No languages endangered
19 Exploitation colonies Many trade colonies turned into exploitation coloniesLingua francaPidginUrban vernacularExamples for linguas francas:Swahili in East AfricaWolof in SenegalLingala in the CongoHausa in Nigeria (Mufwene, 2002)British empire: Colonial language policy (Brutt-Griffler, 2002)
20 Settlement coloniesProduced monolingualism, favouring language of colonising nation (English, Spanish, Portugiese)Languages of slaves and europeans from other countries doomedPlantation and non-plantation settlement coloniesIndigenous languages lost due to diseases / war / relocation / language shift (adaptation)
21 Diseases in settlement colonies SmallpoxMeaslesYellow feverInfluenzaCholeraSyphilisTuberculosis…Over 90% of indigenous people killed in the Americas (Crystal, 2000)
22 Exploitation colonies Settlement colonies Trade coloniesExploitation coloniesSettlement coloniesWest coast of AfricaIndiaZanzibarNo significant loss of indigenous languagesPurpose: Bring new goods to european countries.Colonists and indigenous people on equal levelsAfrica and AsiaNo significant loss of indigenous languages, not much pressure to shiftIndigenous people should keep their languagesLingua franca (eventually led to language shift)Purpose: bring new goods to european countries/ control the sourcesColonists were minorityCaribean islands, Australia, New ZealandHuge language lossPurpose: new homes for colonistsColonists were majority of people, ecological pressure for language shift (in non-plantation colonies)
27 PidginFrom Chinese word for business (in Canton, even though no colony)No native languages, are created (www.icaltefl.com)Developed out of contacts between colonial and indigenous languagesColonial language functioned as superstrate language which provided the vocabularyLingua franca in trade coloniesExamples:I no no I don’t know (Nigeria)Come chop Come and eat (Nigeria)Brah Brother or pal (Hawaii)Garans guaranteed (Hawaii)
28 Creoles Pidgins learned as native language by next generation Further development of grammarMainly in settlement colonies passing on indigenous language was disadvantageLoss of indigenous language (slaves) enabled further development of lingua francaStill in use in former plantation settlement colonies(Mufwene, 2002)
29 English based creoles List of languages : Afro-Seminole United States AlukuFrench GuianaAnguillan CreoleAnguillaAntiguan CreoleAntigua and BarbudaTok PisinPapua New GuineaBarbadian CreoleBarbadosBbislamaVanuatuBelizean CreoleBelize
31 Closure‘Indigenous languages have been eroded not by the European languages but by the indigenous lingua franca.’ Mufwene, 2002‘Language loss has been the most catastrophic in settlement colonies and new languages varieties have emerged additively in trade colonies.’ Mufwene, 2002
32 SourcesJ. Brutt-Griffler, World English: A Study of its Development. (Accessed 4. Mai 2013)Salikoko S. Mufwene, Language birth and death. (Accessed 4. Mai 2013)Salikoko S. Mufwene, Colonisation, Globalisation, and the Future of Languages in the Twenty-first Century. (Accessed 4. Mai 2013)D. Crystal, Language death. Cambridge University press. 68 – 76.J. H. Cossar, Influence of Travel and Disease. (Accessed 5. Mai 2013)Online sources:(Accessed 4. Mai 2013)(Accessed 4. Mai 2013)(Accessed 4. Mai 2013)(Accessed 5. Mai 2013)(Accessed 5. Mai 2013)(Accessed 5. Mai 2013)(Accessed 5. Mai 2013)(Accessed 5. Mai 2013)
33 “A language disappears when its speakers disappear or when they shift to speaking another language – most often, a larger language used by a more powerful group.” (UNESCO Website)
37 Spread of English Colonisation Possessions outside of the British Isles used as trading posts (the late 16th & early 18th centuries)Peak: Largest empire in history and, for over a century, biggest global power. (Ferguson, 2004)1922: British Empire 458 million people (Ferguson, 2004)1/5 of total populationalmost 1/4 of Earth’s total land area
38 Spread of English Colonization The areas of the world that at one time were part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories have their names underlined in red.
39 Spread of English Colonisation After the British colonisation, dominant language inUnited StatesAustraliaNew Zealand
40 English in the world3rd most spoken language in the world by native speakersMost widely spoken language in the worldAbout one-fourth of the world's population can communicate to some degree in English.
41 GlobalisationGlobalisation typically assumed to be a purely economic phenomenon.Social exchangesCultural exchangePolitical exchangesTechnological exchanges
42 According to Crystal (1997): 85% of the world's international organizations use English as their official language in transnational communicationAbout 85% of the world’s important film productions and markets use English90% of the published academic articles in several academic fields are written in English
43 Factors for the spread of English in the 20th and 21th century US as #1 economic powerEconomic GlobalisationTechnological advancementsGlobalisation of the English languageSimplicity of the English language
44 Simplicity of English Uses Latin alphabet (simple and short) No use of diacriticsVerb conjugation is very simple and easyAlmost no InflectionsAnalytical languageUse of PeriphrasesReceptiveSource: Torres,
45 Alternatives?Best alternative would be Chinese if it were written in Latin alphabetNo conjugations or declension, but a very complicated script and tones.Other examples:Japanese: has very regular verbs but also a very complicated scriptGerman has many more inflections than EnglishThe major Romance languages, such as French, Spanish and Portuguese, have fewer inflections than most of languages, but their verb conjugation is very complicatedRussian has both complex verb conjugations and numerous noun declensionsSource: Torres,
46 “It may fairly be said that English is among the easiest languages to speak badly; but the most difficult to use well” C.L. Wren (1960)
47 English as lingua franca Most English as lingua franca (ELF) interaction are between speakers that do not share the same first language Contact languageSimplified English as new pidgin?GlobishGlobal English, World English
48 World EnglishSeidlhofer (2005): “English is being shaped at least as much by its non-native speakers as by its native speakers. This has led to a somewhat paradoxical situation: on the one hand, for the majority of its users, English is a foreign language, and the vast majority of verbal exchanges in English do not involve any native speakers of the language at all. On the other hand, there is still a tendency for native speakers to be regarded as custodians over what is acceptable usage.”
50 Should we just let English “kill” other languages and all speak English?
51 SourcesCrystal, D English as a Global Language (Second edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Ferguson, N. (2004). Empire, the rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Penguin Books.Jenkins, J The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Mufwene, S.S Language birth and death. (Accessed 4. Mai 2013)Phillipson, R English for Globalisation or for the World's People? International Review of Education. Vol. 47, No. 3/4, pp Globalisation, Language and Education. Springer.Power, C Not the Queen's English ; Non-native English-speakers now outnumber native ones 3 to 1. And it's changing the way we communicate. Newsweek Magazine (International Ed.). New YorkSeidlhofer, B English as a lingua franca. ELT J. 59(4): doi: /elt/cci064Spichtinger, D The Spread of English and its Appropriation. Universität WienTreanor, Paul (1996). Making Europe multilingual” http//www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/te/1155/1.htmlOnline Source:(maps)