Matt Billas CLCS 1103W Over Past 500 Years: ◦ ½ of the world’s languages have disappeared (Janse) Of 7,000 Languages that Remain: ◦ ½ in danger of disappearing within this century Bottom Line: ◦ Language death demands attention (Janse) What is Language Death? ◦ -Not a simple dictionary definition ◦ -Understanding of all aspects How Does it Occur? ◦ Process/Mechanisms ◦ Contributing Factors What if anything should be done about it? ◦ Revitalization and preservation efforts ◦ Potential impact and consequences Goal: ◦ Synthesize the works of experts in the field to create a detailed solution Gradual Process Assumption ◦ Similarities to biological processes Evolution, Adaptation ◦ Native LanguageBilingualismForeign Language Why? (Dominance, Mobility) ◦ Seen in many publications Multi-Process Model ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Sudden Death Radical Death Gradual Death Bottom-to-Top Death (Mufwene, McWhorter, Janse) (Muntzel and Campbell) Historical Events (McWhorter) ◦ Neolithic Revolution ◦ European Colonization ◦ Imperialism, Nationalism, Capitalism Socioeconomic Sociopolitical (Mufwene, Janse) ◦ Economic opportunities, migration, economic transformations, industrialization (Janse) ◦ Government policies, repression, discrimination, war Genocide, Natural Disasters (Crystal) Consequences ◦ Loss of unique expression of oneself and soul (McWhorter) ◦ Conservation of cultural heritage, oral history (Janse, Anderson, Harrison) ◦ Linguistic diversity (Crystal) ◦ Loss of knowledge (human mind, natural world) (Crystal, Anderson, Harrison) Revitalization Efforts ◦ Education, Media, Govt. (McWhorter, Janse) ◦ Role of linguists, Research (McWhorter, Janse, Crystal) ◦ Hotspots and technology (Anderson, Harrison) Multi-Process Model vs. Gradual Death ◦ More encompassing ◦ Supported by historical examples Factors ◦ All of those mentioned by authors ◦ Historical Events, Socioeconomic, Sociopolitical Revitalization and Consequences ◦ Education, Media, Technology, Govt., Linguists ◦ Question: Are these efforts necessary? If Language death is natural…Should it be stopped? Anderson, Gregory and K. David Harrison. “Global Language Hotspots.” Swarthmore.edu. 22 Oct. 2011. http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/langhotspots/index.html. Campbell, Lyle and Martha C. Muntzel. “The Structural Consequences of Language Death.” Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. University of Hawaii. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. 181-195. <http.www2.hawaii.edu>. Crystal, David. “Millennium Briefing: The Death of Language.” Prospect Nov. 1999: 56-59. DavidCrystal.com. Web. 28 Oct. 2011. <http://www.davidcrystal.com/David_Crystal/articles.htm>. Janse, Mark. “Introduction.” Language Death and Language Maintenance. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2003. Academia.edu. McWhorter, John C. “Most of the World’s Languages Went Extinct.” Making Sense of Language. Ed. Susan D. Blum. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 192-205. Mufwene, Salikoko S. "Language Birth and Death." Annual Review of Anthropology. 33 (2004): 201-222. University of Chicago Humanities. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://humanities.uchicago.edu>.