Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages

Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages

by Daniel Nettle, Suzanne Romaine
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195136241

ISBN-13: 9780195136241

Pub. Date: 07/28/2000

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Few people know that nearly one hundred native languages once spoken in what is now California are near extinction, or that most of Australia's 250 aboriginal languages have vanished. In fact, at least half of the world's languages may die out in the next century.
Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine assert that this trend is far more than simply disturbing.

Overview

Few people know that nearly one hundred native languages once spoken in what is now California are near extinction, or that most of Australia's 250 aboriginal languages have vanished. In fact, at least half of the world's languages may die out in the next century.
Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine assert that this trend is far more than simply disturbing. Making explicit the link between language survival and environmental issues, they argue that the extinction of languages is part of the larger picture of near-total collapse of the worldwide ecosystem. Indeed, the authors contend that the struggle to preserve precious environmental resources-such as the rainforest-cannot be separated from the struggle to maintain diverse cultures, and that the causes of language death, like that of ecological destruction, lie at the intersection of ecology and politics.
In addition to defending the world's endangered languages, the authors also pay homage to the last speakers of dying tongues, such as Red Thundercloud, a Native American in South Carolina; Ned Mandrell, with whom the Manx language passed away in 1974; and Arthur Bennett, an Australian who was the last person to know more than a few words of Mbabaram.
In our languages lies the accumulated knowledge of humanity. Indeed, each language is a unique window on experience. Vanishing Voices is a call to preserve this resource, before it is too late.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195136241
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/28/2000
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
1350L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
vii
Preface ix
Where Have All the Languages Gone?
1(25)
Why and how are languages dying?
5(2)
Where and when are languages at risk?
7(3)
Why worry about languages dying?
10(13)
What can be done?
23(3)
A World of Diversity
26(24)
How many languages are there and where are they spoken?
27(6)
Hotbeds of linguistic diversity
33(6)
Endangerment: the extent of the threat
39(2)
Biolinguistic diversity: some correlations between the linguistic and biological worlds
41(9)
Lost Words/Lost Worlds
50(28)
Sudden versus gradual death
51(2)
What happens in gradual death?
53(3)
What is being lost 1: a rose by any other name?
56(6)
What is being lost 2: what's mine is mine?
62(4)
What is being lost 3: women, fire, and dangerous things
66(3)
Lost languages, lost knowledge
69(9)
The Ecology of Language
78(21)
Babel in paradise: Papua New Guinea
80(4)
Why are there so many languages?
84(6)
The ways languages die
90(7)
What has changed
97(2)
The Biological Wave
99(27)
The Paleolithic world system
101(3)
The Neolithic revolution
104(7)
Different trajectories after the Neolithic
111(3)
The Neolithic aftershock
114(10)
The untouched world
124(2)
The Economic Wave
126(24)
The rise to dominance
128(3)
Economic takeoff
131(2)
First casualties: the Celtic languages
133(10)
The spread to the developing world
143(4)
Double dangers
147(3)
Why Something Should Be Done
150(26)
Why bother?
153(1)
Making choices
154(1)
Language, development, and sustainability
155(11)
Indigenous knowledge systems
166(6)
Language rights and human rights
172(4)
Sustainable Futures
176(29)
Bottom-up approaches to language maintenance: some case studies
177(9)
Settling for less, but getting more?
186(4)
Who's afraid of bilingualism?
190(3)
Living without a heart
193(6)
Planning for survival: languages as natural resources
199(1)
Some top-down strategies
200(5)
References and Further Reading 205(10)
Bibliography 215(10)
Index 225

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