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Why do people preserve local languages?

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Presentation on theme: "Why do people preserve local languages?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do people preserve local languages?
Key Issue #4

2 Preserving Language Diversity
The distribution of language is a measure of the fate of an ethnic group English diffused around the world from a small island Icelandic remains a little-used language due to isolation Language displays two competing geo trends English has become principal language of communication for the entire world At same time, local languages that are endangered by English are being protected and preserved Preserving Language Diversity Extinct languages Languages no longer spoken or read in daily activities Today estimated 473 almost extinct languages Only a few speakers left Not teaching to children 46 in Africa 182 in Americas 84 in Asia 9 in Europe 152 in Pacific Examples: Spanish conquest of Peru Gothic language in Europe Attempts to preserve

3 Language hotspots

4 Why is it important to preserve local languages?
Discuss Why is it important to preserve local languages?

5 Hebrew Reviving Extinct Languages Reviving Hebrew
Hebrew is a rare case of an extinct language that has been revived Most of Jewish Bible was written in Hebrew Language of daily activity in biblical times Hebrew diminished in 4th century B.C.E. Only retained for religion Aramaic replaced by Arabic Israel 1948 Hebrew became 1 of 2 official languages Was symbolic of unity among different groups of people Reviving Hebrew Difficult job Had to created new words for thousands of objects and inventions unknown in biblical times Phones, cars, electricity Effort initiated by Eliezer Ben- Yehuda Credited with invention of 4,000 new Hebrew words Created the 1st modern Hebrew dictionary

6 Celtic Major language in the British Isles before invasions
2,000 years ago Celtic spoken in much of present-day Germany, France, and northern Italy, as well as in the British Isles Today Celtic on survives in: Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and France Celtic branch is divided into: Goidelic (Gaelic) Two languages survive: Irish and Scottish Gaelic Brythonic Speakers fled during Germanic Invasion to Wales, Cornwall, and France

7 Celtic Gaelic Brythonic
Irish One of two official languages Spoken by 350,000 daily Scottish 1% in Scotland speak it Large body of literature exists Brythonic Welsh Welsh language dominant until 19th century English migrated to work Estimated 22% speak Welsh Cornish Extinct in 1777 Breton Isolated peninsula 250,000 speakers Has more French words Survival of any language depends on the political and military strength of its speakers Celtic declined because the Celts lost most of the territory they once controlled In 1300s Irish forbidden by English masters 19th century- “tally sticks” Encouraged for jobs in 19th and 20th cent. Recent efforts to preserve Wales Welsh Language Society 1988 Education Act Made it compulsory in school Government services, utilities, TV Irish Irish language TV station in 1996 Revival led by young Irish Cornish Revived in 1920s Taught in schools Dispute over revival

8 Multilingual States Conflict Belgium
Has difficulty reconciling the interests of the different language speakers Southern Belgium Known as Walloons Speak French Northern Belgium Known as Flemings Speak a dialect of the Germanic language- Dutch Called Flemish Language sharply divides the country Aggravated by economic and political differences Historically Walloons dominated the Government French was official state language Response to pressure Divided into two independent regions Flanders and Waloonia Regional autonomy not enough for Flanders Issues with split Other example: Switzerland Four linguistic regions

9 Conflict Place Languages Conflict Canada English and French
French speakers, concentrated in Quebec, have fought for increased recognition and power against the English-speaking Canadian majority, Some have called for secession from Canada. Belgium Dutch and French The Dutch-speaking north and French-speaking south compete for power and control. The nation’s capital city, Brussels, is located in the Dutch-speaking south, but most inhabitants are French speakers. Cyprus Greek and Turkish The Greek majority and Turkish minority compete for control of this island-country. Cyprus is divided by a “Green-line” partition separating the two cultures. Nigeria Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo and nearly 230 others Hausa speakers in the north, Yoruba in the southwest, and Ibo in the southeast paint a divided Nigeria in which some 230 other languages complicate Nigeria’s unification. English was declared the official language as an attempt to create a toll of common communication.

10 Discuss What does this tell you about the importance of language to one’s culture and identity? Is the US a multilingual state?

11 Monolingual States Definition: Contains speakers of only one language
Because of the increasing pace of spatial-cultural interaction globally, few purely monolingual countries exist Japan Relatively monolingual due to its stringent immigration laws France Fought to preserve monolingual heritage Laws to keep language “pure” Prohibit infusion of English

12 Isolated Languages Definition Basque
A language unrelated to any other and therefore not attached to any language family Arise through lack of interaction with speakers of other languages Basque Best example in Europe Only language that survives from before arrival of Indo-European speakers Unable to link to any other language 1st language in Pyrenees Isolation preserved language

13 Global Dominance of English
One of the most fundamental needs in a global society is a common language for communication Language of international communication today is English Lingua Franca Language of international communication To facilitate trade speakers would create a lingua franca by mixing elements of two languages into a common simple language Terms means : language of the franks Other Lingua Francas Swahili in East Africa Hindi in South Asia Indonesian in Southeast Asia Russian in former Soviet Union Pidgin language A simplified form of a lingua franca Limited vocab and simplified grammar Mix some elements of own language No native speakers Adopted through force usually French- Caribbean Rapid growth of English Reflected in high % of students learning English as a second language 90% in European Union Japanese have considered making English its 2nd national language

14 Global Dominance of English
Expansion Diffusion of English In past a lingua franca achieved distribution through migration and conquest Example: Latin Today English has spread through Expansion diffusion Two ways English is changing through diffusion of new vocab, spelling, and pronunciation English words are fusing with other languages Ebonics Distinctive African American dialect Influenced by forced migration from Africa and slavery Communication in code Words: gumbo, jazz In 20th century mass migration out of south led to preservation of dialect Classified as a distinct dialect Distinct grammar and vocab Use of double negatives “I ain’t going there no more” Controversial today

15 Global Dominance of English
Diffusion of English to Other Languages English words have been increasingly integrated into other languages Franglais Language a source of national pride and identity in France French are upset with domination of English French is official language in 29 countries and was a lingua franca French upset that English is destroying “purity” of language Cowboy, jeans, hamburger French Academy tried to reinforce French Struck down in 1994 in court Even more extreme in Quebec Surround by English Spanglish English diffusing into Spanish language thanks to 34 million Hispanics in U.S. Called Cubonics in Miami Spanglish involves converting English words into Spanish forms Shorts becomes chores New words have been invented in Spanglish that do not exist in English Become widespread in popular culture Denglish Diffusion of English words into German

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