[NDNAIM] Activists . . . Endangered Languages
dvklinguist2003 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 6 15:44:40 UTC 2008
--The Polynesian cases are interesting and tend to confirm that any language can be successfully taught, but they don't confirm that the languages can be restored to *use*.--
I agree with Bob here - we won't know for a while how "successful" these languages will be in being restored to daily use. But it is encouraging that even preschool-age children are going to "language nests" where nothing but Hawaiian or Maori are spoken. I myself attended Hawaiian language classes taught at a private home in Sacramento when I lived there. The teacher, who unfortunately only came about 3 times out of 12 from the Bay Area to teach, had parents who were from Ni'ihau, the only island (privately owned) where children are still taught in Hawaiian. It is encouraging that classes are being taught not only in Hawai'i but also in CA and hopefully other states too where there are large Hawaiian communities.
--- On Sun, 7/6/08, Rankin, Robert L <rankin at ku.edu> wrote:
From: Rankin, Robert L <rankin at ku.edu>
Subject: RE: [NDNAIM] Activists . . . Endangered Languages
To: siouan at lists.Colorado.EDU
Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 8:21 AM
I'd add a third way. Modern Hebrew has been seriously reconfigured, some
would say creolized. Paul Wexler at Tel Aviv Univ. goes so far as to call it a
"Slavic language in search of a Semitic past." His contention is that
it is relexified E. Slavic (he simply called it "Ukrainian" in a
lecture he gave at KU). It was relexified with German vocabulary to form
Yiddish and with Hebrew vocabulary to form modern "Hebrew". So
eastern European immigrants don't actually learn a Semitic language in
Israel -- just vocabulary. To the extent that this may be true, it pretty much
erases the only really convincing case of revival. Wexler's website has the
details if you're interested.
It hadn't occurred to me that Czech fell into the category of
formerly-endangered language, but I'll defer to David and Jan on that. The
Polynesian cases are interesting and tend to confirm that any language can be
successfully taught, but they don't confirm that the languages can be
restored to *use*. This will depend on what happens to the graduates of the
programs when they enter society. We won't know that for certain for a
couple of generations yet. Suffice it to say that a language has to have a
social function or it will fall out of use -- again.
> The Hebrew revival differs from the situation faced by most endangered
languages in two ways.
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