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What are some good sources and articles for someone researching language preservation...

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luckyyone | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted July 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM via web

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What are some good sources and articles for someone researching language preservation efforts around the world?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:26 PM (Answer #1)

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With the resurgance of efforts at preserving Native American languages here in the United States, there is no shortage of available material on language preservation.  Outside of the United States, there are similar efforts at resurrecting and preserving lost languages.  With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Hebrew language was resurrected from the dead to become the national language of the Jewish state.  A 2009 article in the Washington Post titled "Preserving Languages Is About More Than Words" discussed efforts in Ireland at preserving the Gaelic language native to that island nation.  As the Washington Post article noted, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has begun an online effort at listing thousands of endangered or extinct languages.  [Kari Lydersen, "Preserving Languages...," Washington Post, March 16, 2009]

An useful article on efforts at preserving Aboriginal languages can be found at www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/language/aboriginal-language-preservation.

The jounal Diverse Issues in Higher Education [www.diverseeducation.com] published an article in 2010 on the program at Miami University (Ohio) on preserving Native American languages, and the National Geographic Society, not surprisingly, has written on the topic of disappearing languages as part of its "Enduring Voices -- Documenting the Planet's Endangered Languages" project [www.travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/]

In addition to the above journalistic articles and sources, there have been scholarly articles published on the topic of endangered and extinct languages, including:

Daniel M. Abrams and Steven H. Strogatz, "Linguistics: Modelling the Dynamics of Language Death," Nature, August 21, 2003;

Wolfgang Dressler and Ruth Wodak-Leodolter, "Language Preservation and Language Death in Brittany," Linguistics, volume 15, issue 191, November 2009; and 

Nora C. England, "Mayan Efforts Toward Language Preservation," in Lenore Genoble and Linsay Whaley, eds., Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response," Cambridge University Press.

In addition to these, there a many additional scholarly articles and websites devoted to language preservation.  Good background information on indiginous peoples whose languages are endangered can be found at the links below.

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