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Saving Local Languages

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1 Saving Local Languages
“The distribution of a language is a measure of the fate of an ethnic group.” (James Rubenstein)

2 UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages
LANGUAGE EXTINCTION An extinct language is a language once in use that is no longer spoken by anyone, anywhere. 516 languages are on the verge of extinction today. UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages 46 in Africa 170 in the Americas 78 in Asia 12 in Europe 210 in the Pacific

3 Quechuan peoples of the High Andes
CASE STUDY PERU Spanish missionaries in the 1500s found over 500 languages in the Eastern, Amazon region of Peru. Only 92 of those languages survive today. 14 of those survivors face immediate extinction because fewer than 100 speakers of them remain. Only seven of the 92 are spoken by more than 100,000 people. Quechuan peoples of the High Andes

4 PRESERVING LANGUAGES Some endangered languages are being preserved. The EU has established a bureau for saving little used languages in Europe. Hebrew, for example, which was a written language only for thousands of years was revived from extinction with the creation of Israel in 1948. Thousands of new words had to be created to modernize the language. Celtic is also being preserved.

5 MULTI-LINGUAL STATE A number of world states have multiple languages spoken within them. Multilinguality can serve as a centrifugal force, threatening stability within a state. Examples: Nigeria Belgium Southern Belgians (Walloons) speak French (Romance) Northern Belgians (Flemings) speak Flemish (Germanic) Southern Walloons historically dominated the economy and government and imposed French as the national language. This discrimination angered the Flemings and aggravated relations. Flemings pushed to divide the country into two independent regions: Flanders and Wallonia. Road signs in each region are monolingual but the capital, Brussels, is a legally bilingual zone. Tensions are particularly high along the border between the regions as there are pockets of Walloons in Flanders and pockets of Flemings in Wallonia. Switzerland is an exception, it is multi lingual and maintains peace with a decentralized government and frequent voter referenda.

6 Video on Basque Separatism
ISOLATED LANGUAGES An isolated language is a language unrelated to any other an not attached to any language family. Video on Basque Separatism (click link) Basque is the only language in Europe surviving from before the arrival of Indo-European speaking settlers. It is spoken in by 600,000 people in the Pyrenees between northern Spain and Southwestern France.

A globalized world needs a common language used to facilitate communication. English is increasingly becoming that language. A LINGUA FRANCA (International Auxialiary Language) is a language of international communication used to facilitate tradE. English is a common lingua franca. Groups who learn English or another language as a lingua franca may learn a simplified form called a PIDGIN LANGUAGE. Pidgin languages are often used as trade languages. Pidgin Languages simplify the rules of grammar and mix in elements of the home language. Other common Lingua Franca languages: Swahili in East Africa Hindustani in South Asia Indonesian in Southeast Asia Russian former USSR

8 DIFFUSION OF ENGLISH In the past the spread of a Lingua Franca came through migration Relocation diffusion) and conquest (hierarchical diffusion) (think Roman Empire). Under the British, English spread that way as well. Current English spread is through contagious diffusion. The diffusion spreads with mass media and internet (semi-hierarchical) and happens in two main ways: Diffusion of new vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation Emerging dialects: Ebonics and Appalachian Fusing English with other languages Franglais Spanglish Denglish

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