Definitions Languages may be: * Safe – actively learned and promoted *Endangered – not necessarily promoted, possibly small population, likely to not survive 100yrs *Moribund – not learned by children, unlikely to survive. Linguistic Imperialism – dominance through military or economy Cultural Hegemony – dominance with support of minority Linguicism – discrimination on basis of language Linguistic Genocide – individuals who do not wish to identify with own culture and language
EXAMPLES OF LINGUIstic decline Aboriginal languages of Australia – Dyirbal Irish Language “UNESCO’s Atlas of the world’s languages in danger... 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 fewer than 10 speakers, and 178 have between 10 and 50 speakers”
Dyirbal One of 250 Australian languages, now moribund Reasons: Taking of land by European settlers Introduction to disease they brought Prevented from education “Nowadays no one under the age of 15 is even able to construct a Dyirbal sentence.” “Fluent speakers...(can) easily create new utterances...(Dyirbal speakers now) depend much more on routine and formulaic speech”
Kevin Rudd’s Apology "For our nation, the course of action is clear ... and that is to deal now with what has become one of the darkest chapters in our nation's history." http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/13/2161227.htm "As Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Parliament of Australia, I am sorry. And I offer you this apology without qualification."
Aborigine Languages “Aboriginal deaths from preventable infectious diseases still exceed the white average three hundredfold, and Aboriginal infant mortality in Western Australia is higher than the level found in Bangladesh.” “[It] leads to the disappearance of many forms of intangible cultural heritage, especially the invaluable heritage of traditions and oral expressions of the community that spoke it – from poems and legends to proverbs and jokes. The loss of languages is also detrimental to humanity’s grasp of biodiversity, as they transmit much knowledge about the nature and the universe.” "For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry,“ “land tribunals...have provoked a backlash from racist politicians” Shows Linguistic Imperialism even today “many Aboriginal languages and dialects became extinct because their speakers were forbidden to use native language over many years”
Rise, fall and rise of Irish 14th Century after coexisting for 200 years with English, Irish was suppressed, teaching banned and speakers threatened with beatings at school – endorsed by parents – Cultural Hegemony Emigration and The Great Famine Gaelic League was founded in 1893 1921 Irish free state 2005 became an official language of the EU
Language Distribution 1851 and early 20th Century
Language Maintenance a Success or Failure? Declined from 1.5 million speakers in 1861 to around 600,000 in 1901 where this level has stayed...despite political support “revitalization of Irish has been widely judged a failure” Without political policies and grass root effort Irish would not be in such a position today
Summary Effects of Power, Multilingualism and Bilingualism Why linguistic diversity is important What methods can be used to revitalise endangered languages Impact language and culture have together How we can embrace linguistic diversity and learn about ourselves, the planet and our history.
References P. 2, 7 & 10 Nettle, D. and Romaine, S. (2000) Vanishing Voices; the extinction of the world’s languages p. 29, 123 & 189 P. 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endangered_language P. 4 http://www.omniglot.com/blog/?cat=7 P. 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyirbal_language http://www.macalester.edu/linguistics/endangered/Dyirbal/Dyirbal.htm http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racism.html P. 7 http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/13/2161227.htmhttp://www.altalang.com/beyond-words/2009/03/06/the-unesco-atlas-of-the-worlds-languages-in-danger/ P. 8 http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-fall-and-rise-of-the-irish-language.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language p. 9 http://www.uni-due.de/DI/Modern_Irish.htm P. 10 http://www.uni-due.de/DI/Modern_Irish.htm http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=44605&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html