Vanishing Voices : The Extinction of the World's Languages: The Extinction of the World's Languages (Google eBook)
Oxford University Press, Jun 15, 2000 - Social Science - 256 pages
Few people know that nearly 100 native languages once spoken in what is now California are near extinction, or that most of Australia's 250 aboriginal languages have vanished. In fact, at least half of the world's languages may die out in the next century. What has happened to these voices? Should we be alarmed about the disappearance of linguistic diversity? The authors of Vanishing Voices assert that this trend is far more than simply disturbing. Making explicit the link between language survival and environmental issues, they argue that the extinction of languages is part of the larger picture of near-total collapse of the worldwide ecosystem. Indeed, the authors contend that the struggle to preserve precious environmental resources-such as the rainforest-cannot be separated from the struggle to maintain diverse cultures, and that the causes of language death, like that of ecological destruction, lie at the intersection of ecology and politics. And while Nettle and Romaine defend the world's endangered languages, they also pay homage to the last speakers of dying tongues, such as Red Thundercloud, a Native American in South Carolina, Ned Mandrell, with whom the Manx language passed away in 1974, and Arthur Bennett, an Australian, the last person to know more than a few words of Mbabaram. In our languages lies the accumulated knowledge of humanity. Indeed, each language is a unique window on experience. Vanishing Voices is a call to preserve this resource, before it is too late.
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Aboriginal Africa agriculture America areas Australia bilingual biodiversity biolinguistic biolinguistic diversity Celtic languages century Chapter classifier communities complex continued countries crops cultural diseases Dolly Pentreath dominant Dyirbal ecological economic ecosystem elites endangered languages English environment ethnic Eurasia Europe example extinction farming Figure fish forest French global groups guages Hawai'i Hawaiian language human hundred hunter-gatherer Indian indigenous languages instance Irish island knowledge land language death language loss language shift languages spoken last speaker linguistic linguistic diversity living major Maori means metropolitan million minority monolingual multilingualism names nation-states Native American native language number of languages number of speakers Pacific Papua New Guinea percent peripheral plants Pohnpeian policies political population preserve small languages social societies speak species spread survive Taiap tion Tok Pisin traditional tropical Tuyuca Ubykh village Wappo wave Welsh western words world's languages