Endangered Languages

Check out UNESCO’s interactive world map of endangered languages. The site also includes safeguarding projects seeking to preserve linguistic diversity all over the world.

A quick search of Canada’s languages reveals two completely extinct languages, Tsetsaut and Pentlatch, both on the Northwest Coast. In all, according to the map, 88 of Canada’s native languages are in danger.

This week I had the great pleasure of listening to Herb Joe talk about how the repatriation of Stone T’xwelatse gave the youth of his community a renewed interest in their own history and culture. As I see it, keeping endangered languages alive doesn’t only consist of language programs. A big part of it is convincing new generations that these languages are worth learning, as well as putting the languages in a larger cultural context. Even more than the object, I think the process of repatriation connects a community with their cultural heritage.

(via TEDBlog)


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