Archive for the Category: Endangered languages

When is a language extinct?

The recent publication of UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger has generated quite a few new stories and discussion. The Atlas has a list of 2,500 endangered languages ranked according to five different levels: unsafe (607), definitely endangered (632), severely endangered (502), critically endangered (538) and extinct (200). Of these languages, 199 have […]

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Also posted in Cornish, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic Comments Off

Ainu language

An article I came across today talks about the Ainu language in which the author, a Russian linguist, talks of his quest to find Ainu speakers in Hokkaido. He met plenty of Ainu but found only two people able to speak the language. He does find quite a few people who know a few words […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 1 Comment

Language hotspots

The Enduring Voices Project, which I came across today on the National Geographic website, has the aims of documenting endangered languages and preventing language extinction by identifying the most crucial areas where languages are endangered and embarking on expeditions to: Understand the geographic dimensions of language distribution Determine how linguistic diversity is linked to biodiversity […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 8 Comments

Urban Irish

According to some of the people I met in Ireland last week, Irish might become a mainly urban language in the future. At the moment the majority of regular Irish speakers live in remote, rural areas, the Gaeltachtaí. These areas are suffering from depopulation because there are few opportunities for young people, who tend to […]

Also posted in Irish, Language, Language revival 1 Comment

Manchu in Beijing

Today I came across an article about efforts to save the Manchu language in China. There are currently around 10 million ethnic Manchus in China, but fewer than 100 of them speak Manchu and they are almost all elderly. Recently a bloke called Wang Shuo, a construction designer in Beijing, started teaching Manchu language classes […]

Also posted in Language 9 Comments

‘Ōlelo Hawai’i ‘oe?

According to a couple of articles (here and here) I found today, a new PhD program focusing on the Hawaiian language and culture has recently been set up at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. This is apparently the first doctorate in the United States in a Native language. Five students are undertaking research into […]

Also posted in Hawaiian, Language, Language learning 15 Comments

Yiddish in Lithuania

According to an article on the BBC, Jews in Lithuania are trying to revive Yiddish, which was spoken by around 250,000 people before the Second World War. Today there are about 5,000 Jews in Lithuania and only a few hundred still speak Yiddish. Children at the only Jewish nursery school in Lithuania are being taught […]

Also posted in Language 18 Comments