The Revitalization Of Endangered Languages

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Did you know that linguists have estimated that around 50% of the world’s estimated 6,000 endangered languages will become extinct within the next century (Hale et al. 6)? Languages are classified as endangered when a population of fluent speakers begin to decrease with no expected growth. Linguists go on expeditions in an attempt to revitalize these endangered languages. It is important for the revitalization of endangered languages because they create diversity, express identity, hold history, create human knowledge and are interesting (Crystal 41). Levels of revitalization of languages by linguists should be dependent on the willingness of the speakers to participate, the survival rate of various languages and the availability of resources provided from outside the community; they can help revitalize languages through documentation, assist speakers in developing community-based programs, and increase awareness once the project is finished. Collaboration from speakers is crucial in revitalizing a language because the speakers make up its culture and language. When linguists travel to foreign areas for research in endangered languages, they are considered outsiders the moment they step foot onto the land because “foreign visitors attract a great deal of attention as a result of the wealth, power, and privilege they are felt to represent” (Dobrin 44). Speakers view this relationship as an outsider-insider conflict because “language documentation projects mean something

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