Endangered languages, endangered thought

Ronald Kephart rkephart at unf.edu
Thu Mar 5 02:44:36 UTC 2009

On 3/4/09 5:59 AM, "Anthea Fraser Gupta" <A.F.Gupta at leeds.ac.uk> wrote:

> Languages shouldn't be put in reservations any more than people should.
> Even if you speak the same 'language' as your all your
> great-great-grandparents did (which I happen to) you do not know the
> same bits of it as they do, because you are engaged in different
> activities and because the world has changed. New diversities arise as
> old ones go. New 'languages' develop from processes of separation and
> contact.

I have to say I pretty much agree with this. In my own case, I don't even
speak the "same" language as my grandfather, who to my knowledge never left
Appalachia. He used past tense verb forms that I, somehow, didn't get from
his son, such as "retch" for reached, or "tuck" for took. He also knew the
lexicon associated with working with horses and horse-drawn wagons, whereas
I know virtually nothing about these things.

How many dialects of the Human Language have come and gone since H. erectus?

Ronald Kephart
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of North Florida

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list