ANTH 309Language DeathSpring 2008

ANTH 309Language DeathSpring 2008 - ANTH 309 Language Death...

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ANTH 309 Language Death Spring 2008 Judith M. Maxwell office 1326 Audubon Street x3046, maxwell@tulane.edu office hours MWF 10-11, or by app’t ********************************************************************** Language Death explores the linguistic diversity of the world. World languages are identified and minority languages are localized. Language structures that are unique to threatened languages are documented. This course addresses the question of what is lost in terms of bodies of knowledge, world view, and identification of the limits of variability among human languages when languages die out. The local and global causes of extinctions are explored, including genocide, natural disaster, dislocation and population absorption and language shift, or linguistic suicide. Planning strategies at national and international levels are studied. Such strategies have been found at times to foster monolingualism and at times to build bilingualism. The success and consequences of different language planning strategies is explored from the perspective of heritage language users, nation-states, international corporations, non-governmental aid agencies, particularly those interested in development, and international organizations such as UNICEF and UNESCO. Care is taken to show that languages that are threatened with extinction are no less “developed”, “modern”, “logical”, or “expressive” than the hegemonic leveling tongues. Course objectives: (a) arrive at a definition of language endangerment and language death; (b) determine symptoms, both cultural and in terms of language structures, that are indicative of language shift and/or death; (c) for a set of 30 sample languages determine the current degree of viability of these languages; (d) for a given language determine which measures found to influence language sustainability and revitalization are in place within the speech community; (e) become familiar with the laws, national and international, that govern language rights; (f) become familiar with sources of funding for endangered language research and with local initiatives; (g) for a given speech community create a document that details the current state of the language, efforts being made to promote the use of the language, and areas of potential influence not currently
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ANTH 309Language DeathSpring 2008 - ANTH 309 Language Death...

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