Essay On Short Profile Of An Endangered Language
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The Linguist Society of America revealed facts about endangered languages. One of the most endangered language hotspot was accurately identified in Northwest Pacific Plateau (National Geographic, 2015). The current discourse hereby presents the responses to the following questions:
1. What is the name (or names) of the endangered language you have chosen?
The endangered language that was identified and chosen was Siletz Dee-ni (National Geographic, 2015).
2. Where in the world is the endangered language spoken?
As learned, the language was previously known as “Coastal Athabascan (previously) spoken from Alaska all the way south to the west coast of the United States” (Gagne, 2015, p. 11).
3. How many speakers does this language have today, or whenever this number was last recorded? When was the number calculated?
The Siletz Dee-in language was reported to have been spoken by Native American Indians; yet, in contemporary times, only five (5) were acknowledged to be the remaining speakers (Johnson, 2012). In fact, from among the five (5), only one (1) man was reported to be able to speak the language fluently, Alfred ‘Bud’ Lane (Moskowitz, 2012). The number was calculated and revealed in research studies published in 2012.
4. Why is the language endangered? What social, economic, psychological or historical circumstances have caused a threat to this language?
The historical backdrop of Siletz Dee-in’s slow decline was identified to have started in the mid-1850s, “when several cultural groups, speaking different languages and dialects, were placed on the same reservation” . To facilitate the process of understanding each other, another hybrid language, the Chinook jargon, was noted to have replaced the Siletz Dee-in (Fedorak, 2012; National Geographic, 2015). As such, with continued preference for speaking Chinook jargin, in conjunction to English, as the second language, the Siletz Dee-in eventually cascaded towards oblivion. Likewise, another factor which contributed to the decline in using Siletz Dee-in was the apparent demise of tribe members in the 1950s . The fact is synonymous to genocide, a cause leading to a language’s extinction; in conjunction with the pressure for integration of community members to a larger and predominant group .
5. What efforts have been made (if any) to preserve the language?
6. Do you think the language will still be spoken in 2050? Why or why not?
In sum, one strongly believes tht the identification of Siletz Dee-in as a severely endangered language actually assisted the surviving speakers to exert immense efforts for preservation. As affirned, “with the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost” . The move is the only plausible and viable recourse to save what still remains of Siletz Dee-in. As such, one contends that with continued and consistent efforts, there is a strong possibility that the language will be spoken in 2050 since it has been incorporated in school’s curriculum, in conjunction with assistance from the talking dictionaries in enforcing learning this as a foreign language. The important thing is that the surviving speakers continue to communicate using the language to affirm and enforce sustained existence.
Fedorak, S. (2012). Anthropology Matters. University of Toronto Press.
Gagne, T. (2015). Native Alaskan Cultures in Perspective. Mitchell Lane Publishers, Inc.
Johnson, K. (2012, August 3). Tribe Revives Language on Verge of Extinction. The New York Times, p. A12.
Moskowitz, C. (2012, February 17). Native Americans Fight to Save Endangered Languages. Retrieved from livescience.com: http://www.livescience.com/18553-endangered-native-languages-survival-aaas.html
National Geographic. (2015). Disappearing Languages. Retrieved from nationalgeographic.com: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/
Woodbury, A. (2012). Endangered Languages. Retrieved from Linguistic Society of America: http://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/endangered-languages
Woodbury, A. (2012). What Is an Endangered Language? Retrieved from Linguistic Society of America: http://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/what-endangered-language
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