Thursday, March 12, 2009

Endangered languages

When time permits we will take up again our online seminar series for languages teachers. In the meantime, have a look at this NEWSWEEK article Say it loud, say it proud. It describes a film documentary called "The Linguists," a PBS documentary airing on Feb. 26 2009 in the USA. It's about "Swarthmore professor K. David Harrison and Gregory Anderson of the Living Tongues Institute, who travel from Siberia to India to Bolivia hoping to document obscure languages before they disappear for good. As they go, it becomes clear that their mission is about more than words. Every two weeks, one of the world's 7,000 languages vanishes; most belong to indigenous communities that have been stamped out and homogenized by colonialists."

Update 10 May 2009 Lingua Franca of 9 May 2009 has the startling news that new languages are being discovered or uncovered in China even now, even as 516 of the 6909 known living languages are in danger of imminent extinction. 'New' languages 'discovered' in China Of the 83 new entries listed in the latest edition of Ethnologue, the authoritative compendium of the world's languages, 30 were 'found' in China and contributed by surveying linguists led by David Bradley of La Trobe University, Australia.