Language endangerment

Guérin, Valérie, and Yourupi, Paulina (2016) Language endangerment. In: Sato, Hiroko, and Bradshaw, Joel, (eds.) Introductory Readings in Languages of the Pacific Islands: University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Fall 2016, Linguistics 150. Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, USA, pp. 178-188.

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In today's world, where the advent of social networking and the fast paced development of globalization reduce physical distance between people, one may wonder why linguists (and their scientists such as anthropologists or ethnobotanists) spend a lot of time and effort trying to salvage information on languages spoken by a handful of people or why these scientists lament over the fact that some languages (and other types of cultural knowledge) are on the verge of extinction. After all, wouldn’t we all be better off if we spoke a single language? To answer this question, we will first define what it means for a language to be endangered and lay out the causes of endangerment. We will then take a brief look at linguistic diversity worldwide and, zooming in on the Pacific, we will see how language endangerment affects this area in particular. Finally, we will review some of the arguments that have been proposed in the literature to support or reject the idea that it is important to conserve linguistic diversity.

Item ID: 47326
Item Type: Book Chapter (Teaching Material)
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Adjunct staff memeber. Book still not published. This introductory textbook on language in the Pacific was originally planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) in 2013–2014. The target audience is undergraduate students with no prior coursework in linguistics and little knowledge of the Pacific Islands. Contributions were solicited from Oceanic language specialists who had either taught at or received degrees from the Department. (No such affiliation was required for the referees.) The editors of the first edition, UHM graduate students Hiroko Sato and Jacob Terrell, compiled the earliest contributions into a textbook for a newly designed course at UHM, originally Linguistics 100, now Linguistics 150, which they and other UHM graduate students taught. Referee comments from other linguists and student evaluations from Hiroko Sato’s classes were used to solicit revisions of the chapters in the first edition, as well as chapters that did not make it into the first edition. Writing that is clear and accessible to undergraduates has been a top priority. Coverage is still not as broad or as even as we would like, but we hope that it will improve in future editions.

Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2017 02:53
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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