Language Loss: Native American Languages Essay

2014 Words9 Pages
If one walks through one of the large cities’ streets in our country. They will hear and experience a variety of languages. Our history and tradition of being a land of immigrants is reflected in the languages we speak. This means that the USA is home to a vast number of languages, one would be hard pressed to find a language that is not spoken in the U.S. The official list as the number of languages spoken in the United States go as high as 322. The most spoken and prominent languages in the country being English, Spanish, and French. English has the highest number of speakers with 215 million. Spanish is the second most spoken language with 28 million speaker. The French language is the third most spoken language with a million and a…show more content…
But the case of the Kalispel language is not even the most extreme example.
The Native American people, which lived in what it is now the state of Oregon, spoke the language of Siletz Dee-ni. While the language once thrived in that part of the country, now there may be only one fluent speaker. A man by the name of Alfred Lane could be the last remaining speaker of Siletz Dee-ni (Moskowitz). This is the most extreme case of an endangered language with the life of the language hinging on the life of its last speaker.
In this way, the Native American languages can be compared to an endangered species. As with endangered species unless something is done, the species in question is unlikely to remain on the planet. These endangered languages are the same way, with such a few number of speakers unless something is done, the language will disappear from the earth. This is a situation that Native Americans face today.
In all cases, language is a part of their culture, something that binds the speakers of that language together. Speaking the same language identifies one Native American group with another. The language itself is passed from generation to generation along with that tribe’s history, myths, and ways. Language encompasses all parts of our lives, from our everyday conversations to our own religious beliefs. The same goes for Native Americans, they learn their language through these everyday conversations
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