Re: Last speaker of Bo died

From: David Starner (
Date: Sat Feb 06 2010 - 07:20:30 CST

  • Next message: Doug Ewell: "Re: Last speaker of Bo died"

    What makes it so wrong to say "one of the world's oldest languages"?
    Is not Afrikaans younger than Dutch, or any of the English creoles
    younger than English?

    On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 11:58 AM, Ed Trager <> wrote:
    > Minority languages will *only* survive in those language communities
    > where the people collectively realize that they need to renew their
    > language as a living and vital part of their cultural heritage, just
    > as the Jewish people, inspired by Zionism, did.  The story of modern
    > Hebrew is quite instructive:

    That strikes me as an odd example, given as they virtually killed off
    at least three languages, include Yiddish.

    > One final note:  I personally would not want to work toward the goal
    > of language "preservation" per se where said "preservation" really
    > just boils down to recording the speech of the last few dying elders
    > of some tribe so that future generations of students in Linguistics
    > can go to the Smithsonian to do their PhD research ...  That's too
    > much like looking at bones and artifacts of long-dead people in old
    > musty museum cases... But language "revival" as part of a larger,
    > living goal of cultural renewal and preservation in minority
    > communities -- now that is something I can get excited about!

    Recording the language is ethically neutral. As an outsider, meddling
    in minority communities with the living goal of doing things that will
    separate them and their children from the larger community
    indefinitely is much more questionable.

    Kie ekzistas vivo, ekzistas espero.

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