anth 4 ppt 16

anth 4 ppt 16 - Lg Death Language Death & Revitalization...

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1 Language Death & Revitalization The study of languages which have vanished, motivations for their death, and under what conditions languages have reemerged in various contexts Lg Death language death : this occurs when language shift involves the last remaining group of speakers of a language It's happening all over the world today, as many of the world's indigenous languages are dying as speakers shift to a smaller set of languages spoken by socio-economically dominant groups What languages we’re talking about for language death Linguists reserve the term ‘dead’ language for languages which do not evolve into other languages and, instead, are dead ends s Dead languages particular structures and concepts are not passed on in any form E.g. Sumerian and most native American languages, Not for Latin & Sanskrit & Old English that have simply changed into new forms ‘Dead’ languages Latin, for example, did not die s It grew, it developed, & gradually split into French, Spanish, Italian, and the other Romance languages s b it is still with us under those guises s So, not spoken now (dead), but didn’t undergo death Latin is dead in the sense that your four-year-old self is dead s that self was very different from you today, you probably don't remember much about it, you wouldn't understand much it said if you were somehow to encounter it. .. s but in another and more important sense, it lives on in you Depressing Factoids 6,912 known living languages 4% of lgs account for 96% of world population 25% of lgs having fewer than 1000 speakers As many as half of the estimated 6,000 languages spoken on earth are moribund s Moribund: spoken only by adults who no longer teach them to the next generation (e.g. will be dead lgs within a generation) An additional 40% may soon be threatened because the number of children learning them is declining measurably b In other words, 90% of existing languages today are likely to die or become seriously embattled within the next century More depressing factoids 438 languages are in the condition of having fewer than 50 speakers, making them ''critically endangered'' s This is a category that in the animal world includes 182 birds and 180 mammals That leaves only about 600 languages, 10% of the world's total, that remain relatively secure – for now
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2 Languages akin to species? Languages, it seems, follow the same patterns as animals b Stability and isolation seem to breed abundance in the number of bird and animal species, and they do the same for languages b Conversely, the instability and homogenization of the global economy is threatening diversity of language plants and animals Native American Lgs In North America, the arrival of Columbus (1492) and the Europeans who followed him whittled down the roughly 300 native languages to only about 170 in the 20th century Recent (re)evolution of English as a global
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2010 for the course ANT 004 taught by Professor Chand during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.

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anth 4 ppt 16 - Lg Death Language Death & Revitalization...

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