Attitudes to endangered languages : identities and policies by Julia Sallabank

By Julia Sallabank

"Language attitudes and ideologies are of key significance in assessing the possibilities of luck of revitalisation efforts for endangered languages. even though, few book-length stories relate attitudes to language regulations, or handle the altering attitudes of non-speakers and the motivations of contributors of language activities. via a mixture of ethnographic examine and quantitative surveys, this e-book provides an  Read more...

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Extra resources for Attitudes to endangered languages : identities and policies

Sample text

The researcher thus becomes part of the phenomenon studied (this will be discussed further in Chapter 3). There is also a danger that linguists may be perceived as self-serving in their desire to preserve linguistic diversity as a field of study. Skeet 2000): see Chapter 5. This meant that I inadvertently gave the impression that a major reason for saving endangered languages was to ensure jobs for linguists. There is an ongoing and unresolved tension between, on the one hand, the traditional priorities of linguists, whose main concern is to ‘preserve records of key languages before they become extinct’ (from the NEH Documenting Endangered Languages website8), with the main beneficiaries being descriptive linguistics, especially typology; and secondly, rhetoric such as the aim ‘to create a repository of resources for the linguistic, social science, and the language communities’ (my emphasis), taken from the web page of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme,8 whose application form promotes an ethical position to ‘give something back’ to language communities.

This will be explored further with regard to position (4) below. This foreshadows the current ‘critical turn’ in linguistic anthropology which will be discussed further with regard to (5) below. It is therefore necessary to look beyond ‘preservation’ or ‘maintenance’ towards creating sustainable contexts in which people are able to make truly free language choices. In addition to the three positions proposed by Romaine (2008), two further responses to language endangerment can be identified: 4.

Ecolinguists’ vary as to how literally they take the link between language and natural ecology. Haugen originally saw the ecosystem as a metaphor, and Mackey warns of the dangers of the ‘fallacy’ of dealing with language as if it were an organism, emphasising that language is a form of human cultural behaviour ‘which has to be learned as a trait or skill identified with a group of people’ ([1980] 2001: 67). 1, as well as websites, organisations such as UNESCO14 and Terralingua,15 and media coverage of language endangerment, draw a parallel between linguistic diversity/endangerment and biodiversity.

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