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Language extinction
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 08-01-2012 13:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

They want to force everyone in Wales to speak Welsh, same as the Irish Language fanatics.
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oldroverOffline
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PostPosted: 08-01-2012 15:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be really honest I don't think it's as inclusive as that.
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 08-01-2012 18:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, they wish to eliminate anyone who might by some mischance speak english.

(Can you see I dont like the welsh? Particularly as I am welsh.)
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CochiseOffline
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PostPosted: 09-01-2012 10:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm partly Welsh. My Welsh Nain wouldn't allow the Welsh language in the house, she felt strongly that it was a trap that kept people in poverty.

Certainly if some of the more extreme demands regarding the language and employment were implemented it would deter businesses from relocating to Wales - especially since Wales is a quite small country and if you wanted to use a pool of Welsh talent but not be bothered with the language you could set up just over the border.

If they would just be content with making sure the language was not actively discriminated against it would be fine - it's the normal language of conversation for many people round here and isn't going to go away any time soon - unless everyone has to go to England to get a job.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 18-02-2012 20:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Digital tools 'to save languages'
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News, Vancouver

Facebook, YouTube and even texting will be the salvation of many of the world's endangered languages, scientists believe.
Of the 7,000 or so languages spoken on Earth today, about half are expected to be extinct by the century's end.

Globalisation is usually blamed, but some elements of the "modern world", especially digital technology, are pushing back against the tide.
North American tribes use social media to re-engage their young, for example.

Tuvan, an indigenous tongue spoken by nomadic peoples in Siberia and Mongolia, even has an iPhone app to teach the pronunciation of words to new students.

"Small languages are using social media, YouTube, text messaging and various technologies to expand their voice and expand their presence," said K David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and a National Geographic Fellow.
"It's what I like to call the flipside of globalisation. We hear a lot about how globalisation exerts negative pressures on small cultures to assimilate. But a positive effect of globalisation is that you can have a language that is spoken by only five or 50 people in one remote location, and now through digital technology that language can achieve a global voice and a global audience."

Harrison, who travels the world to seek out the last speakers of vanishing languages, has been describing his work here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
With National Geographic, he has just helped produce eight talking dictionaries.
These dictionaries contain more than 32,000 word entries in eight endangered languages. All the audio recordings have been made by native speakers, some of whom like Alfred "Bud" Lane are among the last fluent individuals in their native tongues.

Mr Lane speaks a language known as Siletz Dee-ni, which is restricted to a small area on the central Oregon coast.
"Linguists came in and labelled our language moribund, meaning it was heading for the ash heap of history; and our tribal people and our council decided that wasn't going to happen. So we devised a plan to go forward to start teaching our dialect here in the Siletz Valley," he told the meeting.

Mr Lane has sat down and recorded 14,000 words for the online dictionary. "Nothing takes the place of speakers speaking to other speakers, but this bridges a gap that was just sorely needed in our community and our tribe."

Margaret Noori is an expert in Native American studies at the University of Michigan and a speaker of Anishinaabemowin, which is the sovereign language of over 200 indigenous "nations" in Canada and the US. These communities are heavy users of Facebook.
"What we do with technology is try to connect people," Prof Noori said. "All of it is to keep the language."

Dr Harrison says not all languages can survive, and many inevitably will be lost as remaining speakers die off. But he says the new digital tools do offer a way back from the brink for a lot of languages that seemed doomed just a few years ago.

He told BBC News: "Everything that people know about the planet, about plants, animals, about how to live sustainably, the polar ice caps, the different ecosystems that humans have survived in - all this knowledge is encoded in human cultures and languages, whereas only a tiny fraction of it is encoded in the scientific literature.
"If we care about sustainability and survival on the planet, we all benefit from having this knowledge base persevered." [Er, 'preserved', perhaps?] Wink

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17081573
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 22-02-2012 16:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many small languages are dying out - the flip-side of that statement is that some will remain. Which raises the question, could one become dominant..?

Is English or Mandarin the language of the future?
By Jennifer Pak, BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

English has been the dominant global language for a century, but is it the language of the future? If Mandarin Chinese is to challenge English globally, then it first has to conquer its own backyard, South East Asia.

In Malaysia's southernmost city of Johor Bahru, the desire to speak good English has driven some children to make a remarkable two-hour journey to school every day.
Nine-year-old Aw Yee Han hops on a yellow mini van at 04:30. His passport is tucked inside a small pouch hung around his neck.
This makes it easier for him to show it to immigration officials when he reaches the Malaysian border.
His school is located on the other side, in Singapore, where unlike in Malaysia, English is the main language.

It's not your typical school run, but his mother, Shirley Chua thinks it's worth it.
"Science and maths are all written in English so it's essential for my son to be fluent in the language," she says.

An estimated 15,000 students from southern Johor state make the same bus journey across the border every day. It may seem like a drastic measure, but some parents don't trust the education system in Malaysia - they worry that the value of English is declining in the country.
Since independence from the British in 1957, the country has phased out schools that teach in English. By the early 1980s, most students were learning in the national language of Malay.
As a result, analysts say Malaysian graduates became less employable in the IT sector.

"We've seen a drastic reduction in the standard of English in our country, not just among the students but I think among the teachers as well," says political commentator Ong Kian Ming.

Those who believe that English is important for their children's future either send their kids to expensive private schools or to Singapore, where the government has been credited as being far-sighted for adopting the language of its former colonial master.
Nearly three-quarters of the population in Singapore are ethnic Chinese but English is the national language.
Many believe that this has helped the city state earn the title of being the easiest place to do business, by the World Bank.

However, the dominance of English is now being challenged by the rise of China in Singapore.
The Singapore Chinese Chamber Institute of Business has added Chinese classes for business use in recent years.
Students are being taught in Mandarin rather than the Hokkien dialect spoken by the older Chinese immigrants.
These courses have proved popular, ever since the government began providing subsidies for Singaporeans to learn Chinese in 2009 during the global financial crisis.
"The government pushed to provide them with an opportunity to upgrade themselves so as to prepare themselves for the economic upturn," says chamber spokesperson Alwyn Chia.

Some businesses are already desperate for Chinese speakers.
Lee Han Shih, who runs a multimedia company, says English is becoming less important to him financially because he is taking western clients to do business in China.
"So obviously you need to learn English but you also need to know Chinese," says Mr Lee.

As China's economic power grows, Mr Lee believes that Mandarin will overtake English. In fact, he has already been seeing hints of this.
"The decline of the English language probably follows the decline of the US dollar.
"If the renminbi is becoming the next reserve currency then you have to learn Chinese."
More and more, he says, places like Brazil and China are doing business in the renminbi, not the US dollar, so there is less of a need to use English.

Indeed, China's clout is growing in South East Asia, becoming the region's top trading partner.
But to say that Mandarin will rival English is a "bit of a stretch", says Manoj Vohra, Asia director at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Even companies in China, who prefer to operate in Chinese, are looking for managers who speak both Mandarin and English if they want to expand abroad, he says.
"They tend to act as their bridges."

So the future of English is not a question of whether it will be overtaken by Mandarin, but whether it will co-exist with Chinese, says Vohra.
He believes bilingualism will triumph in South East Asia.
It is a sound economic argument, but in Vietnam's case, there is resistance to learning Mandarin.
The country may share a border with China, but the Vietnamese government's choice to not emphasise Mandarin is an emotional one, says leading economist Le Dang Doanh.

"All the streets in Vietnam are named according to generals and emperors that have been fighting against the Chinese invasion for 2000 years," he says.
Tensions flared up again last May over the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

Anti-Chinese sentiment means that young Vietnamese are choosing to embrace English - the language of a defeated enemy. Many families still bear the psychological scars from the Vietnam War with the United States.
Yet there is no animosity towards English because the founding father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, made a clear distinction between the so-called American imperialists who were bombarding Vietnam and the American people, says Le Dang Doanh.

Many Vietnamese who have lost family members during the war are now studying in America, he says.
"We never forget any victim in the past but in order to industrialise and normalise a country, Vietnam needs to speak English."
The Vietnamese government has an ambitious goal to ensure all young people leaving school by 2020 will have a good grasp of the English language.

But it's not hard for young Vietnamese to accept English. For some, the language offers a sense of freedom in Vietnam, where the one-party communist state retains a tight grip on all media.
In a public square in central Hanoi, a group of young men are break-dancing to the pulsing beats of western hip hop. Ngoc Tu, 20, says he only listens to English music.
"The Ministry of Culture has banned a lot of [Vietnamese] songs and any cultural publications that refer to freedom or rebellion but... English songs are not censored."

It is debatable whether English or Mandarin will dominate in South East Asia in the future. There are arguments for both on the economic front.
But culturally, there is no dispute.
Even Mandarin language enthusiasts like Singaporean businessman Mr Lee, says that English will remain popular so long as Hollywood exists.
The success of movies such as Kung Fu Panda, an American production about a Chinese animal, has caused a lot of anxiety in China, he says.

There have been many cartoons in China about pandas before, but none had reached commercial success, says Mr Lee.
"The moment Kung Fu Panda hit the cinemas everybody watched it. They bought the merchandise and they learned English."

--------------------------

Robert Lane Greene
Author of You Are What You Speak

The assumption that Mandarin will grow with China's economic rise may be flawed. Consider Japan which, after spectacular post-war economic growth, became the world's second-biggest economy. The Japanese language saw no comparable rise in power and prestige.

The same may prove true of Mandarin. The character-based writing system requires years of hard work for even native speakers to learn, and poses a formidable obstacle to foreigners. In Asia, where China's influence is thousands of years old, this may pose less of a problem. But in the West, even dedicated students labour for years before they can confidently read a text of normal difficulty on a random topic.

Finally, many languages in Asia, Africa and the Amazon use "tones" (rising, falling, flat or dipping pitch contours) to distinguish different words. For speakers of tonal languages (like Vietnamese) learning the tones of Mandarin poses no particular difficulty. But speakers of non-tonal languages struggle to learn tones in adulthood - just ask any adult Mandarin-learner for their funniest story about using a word with the wrong tone. Cool

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17105569

I think that if some kind of global catastrophe should occur (some combination of asteroid impact, global warming, famine, disease, etc) English would be most likely to survive, because it's got a much wider geographical spread, covering most time zones with any significant areas of land.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 19-03-2012 23:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

More about word loss but I think it fits here. Chart at link.

Quote:
More words dying and fewer words being added to languages in digital age: study
http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-words-dying-added-languages-digital.html
March 19th, 2012 in Other Sciences / Social Sciences

Word extinction. The English word “Roentgenogram” derives from the Nobel prize winning scientist and discoverer of the X-ray, Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923). The prevalence of this word was quickly challenged by two main competitors, “X-ray” (recorded as “Xray” in the database) and “Radiogram.” The arithmetic mean frequency of these three time series is relatively constant over the 80-year period 1920-2000, ? f ? ? 10^-7, illustrating the limited linguistic “market share” that can be achieved by any competitor. We conjecture that the main reason “Xray” has a higher frequency is due to the “fitness gain” from its efficient short word length and also due to the fact that English has become the base language for scientific publication. Image (c) Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep00313

(PhysOrg.com) -- Adding new words to an existing language, or dropping old ones is something people have always done. As new things or ideas are discovered, new words crop up to describe them. But now, in the digital age, that process appears to be slowing despite the increased pace of new things arriving on the scene. In a paper in Scientific Reports, a group from the Institutions Markets Technologies' Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies in Italy, describe how they have found after studying English, Spanish and Hebrew trends, that words are being dropped from languages faster and new ones added at a slower rate, than at any other time over the past three hundred years.

Suspecting that the addition of new words to languages might be inhibited by modern tools such as spellcheckers, the team looked at 107 words that have been recorded by Google as part of its book digitizing process, which is now estimated to represent somewhere near four percent of all of the world’s books. Because they are in digital form, it is possible to perform statistical analysis on them, which is just what the team did. In doing so, they were able to note when new words appeared in a language and then to see if they held on long enough to become permanent, or if they vanished after a certain amount of time. Analyzed works included books from 1800 to 2008.

One of the most striking results the team found was that words being lost from the three languages occurred more often in the past ten to twenty years than in all of the other eras in the period of study. They also found that newer words were being added less frequently during the same period indicating that modern languages are shrinking. They suggest that electronic spellcheckers introduced during this period might be partly responsible for the change, as might the tendency to gravitate towards a smaller vocabulary when writing emails and especially when texting. They also cite the increased use of just one language, English, in science endeavors and projects, regardless of native tongue.

Interestingly, the group also found that when new words are added in the digital age, they tend to become mainstream much faster than occurred in previous years, likely because of the same modern electronic communications tools that are causing languages to constrict. They also found that it generally takes at least forty years for new words to become truly accepted as a part of a language, and if that doesn’t happen, they tend to die.

More information: Statistical Laws Governing Fluctuations in Word Use from Word Birth to Word Death, Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 313 doi:10.1038/srep00313

Abstract

We analyze the dynamic properties of 107 words recorded in English, Spanish and Hebrew over the period 1800–2008 in order to gain insight into the coevolution of language and culture. We report language independent patterns useful as benchmarks for theoretical models of language evolution. A significantly decreasing (increasing) trend in the birth (death) rate of words indicates a recent shift in the selection laws governing word use. For new words, we observe a peak in the growth-rate fluctuations around 40 years after introduction, consistent with the typical entry time into standard dictionaries and the human generational timescale. Pronounced changes in the dynamics of language during periods of war shows that word correlations, occurring across time and between words, are largely influenced by coevolutionary social, technological, and political factors. We quantify cultural memory by analyzing the long-term correlations in the use of individual words using detrended fluctuation analysis.

via Livescience

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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 09-04-2012 09:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Welsh is a wonderful gift': speakers of the language relish new support
With language commissioner promising to act against suppression of Welsh, there could be a resurgence in the tongue
Steven Morris
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 8 April 2012 15.07 BST

Abi Pierce takes time out from her work at the Affordable Household Goods stall at Wrexham Butchers' Market to wax lyrical about the Welsh language: "I see it as a wonderful gift, something to be cherished and developed."
It's not easy being a Welsh speaker, she admits. "I'm not always comfortable speaking it," the 17-year-old says. "Some people take it as a bit of a joke, they think it's a dying language and not worth saving."

Which is why she is buoyed up by the bold attitude of the newly minted Welsh language commissioner, who is promising not only to act as an advocate for the tongue but to take action against those who do not give Welsh speakers such as Abi the freedom to express themselves.

In her first speech as commissioner, Meri Huws spoke of her vision of a Wales where speakers had the confidence to use the language and trust in the law to rectify any prejudice. Her initial focus will be to make sure that the Welsh government and public bodies fulfil their obligations to offer services both in English and Welsh.

Strikingly, Huws signalled she would step in if employees in small businesses were denied the freedom to speak Welsh at work. She gave the scenario of two hairdressers who were speaking Welsh together and a third insisting they speak English because he or she could not understand.
"In that situation the third colleague has interfered with the other two's freedom to use the Welsh language," said Huws. The Welsh speakers could complain to the commissioner and she could investigate.

Abi is impressed. "Anything that can be done to make Welsh speakers more comfortable and more confident has to be a good thing. Especially in a place like Wrexham, which is not a Welsh-speaking heartland, we do need someone that is going to help us fight for the language."

The legislation that introduced the post of commissioner – and makes Welsh an official language – is the Welsh Language (Wales) 2011 Measure, the first piece of law relating to the language drafted and passed in Wales since the Act of Union in 1536.

There is a possibility that Huws could be the first of a wave of language commissioners. Scotland and Northern Ireland are watching how she operates with a view to replicating her role. Some believe there could be an argument to bring in commissioners in England to champion minority languages.

In Wales, many believe the language is in crisis. Efforts have been made to teach Welsh in schools and more younger people such as Abi relish speaking the language but there continues to be a net loss of fluent speakers.

Nigel Ruck, who works for a public body but is today on a day off and enjoying a pint at Wrexham's new Welsh cultural centre Saith Seren (Seven Stars), has learned Welsh since moving from the south to a language heartland in the north. "I felt guilty I couldn't speak Welsh. Learning was a revelation and I find it very empowering," he says. But he wonders if it is better to encourage rather than coerce.

Meirion Prys Jones, the head of the now defunct Welsh language board (which has been replaced by the commissioner), raised a similar point in a BBC interview: "You can have as much legislation as you want, you can have as much policy as you want, but unless you get in amongst the people and persuade them that the language is useful to them, there's no hope, I think."

The standards that organisations will have to meet will be shaped in the coming months during a period of public consultation. The commissioner will be able to fine bodies that do not comply with standards up to £5,000. Her powers relating to, for example, the hairdressers she mentioned are more limited though she could investigate complaints, write a report and release it to the media.

The tenor of the commissioner's remarks is causing alarm bells to ring in business and industry.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Wales believes that more language legislation could put more of a burden on its members.
Iestyn Davies, head of external affairs, said the FSB was "fully supportive" of Wales's development as a bilingual country. "But I believe the best way to encourage the language is through voluntary codes. People should be encouraged to use Welsh because they want to, not because they are coerced."

Over in the People's Market (Wrexham has a rich variety of indoor markets) Nyeem Aslam is less diplomatic than the FSB. "I think this commissioner is talking nonsense. They always seem to be coming up with new rules to make it harder for businesses." Aslam runs the Welsh Shop in the market, selling rugby shirts and T-shirts bearing patriotic slogans such as "Every morning I wake up, I thank the Lord I'm Welsh" but believes that in towns such as Wrexham, the Welsh language is irrelevant. "I don't speak it and don't do any business in Welsh."

Huws' role is not unique. Canada has language commissioners to protect its bilingualism and, as in Wales, immigration is seen as one of its major challenges. The Republic of Ireland also has a commissioner and is reviewing how its language laws are working on the ground.

Bethan Williams, chair of the pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society), said legislation was necessary to make sure Welsh was a "central part of everyday life".
She wants the commissioner to tackle big business, to force supermarkets to provide services in Welsh rather than just sticking up a few "tokenistic" signs in Welsh and to ensure banks offer online services in Welsh.

Professor Colin Williams, a language policy expert at Cardiff University's School of Welsh, said there could be an argument for language commissioners in the UK for other tongues such as Urdu or Gujarati. "These minority languages aren't temporary, they are permanent."
Williams said the new law was important for the language but also because it showed that Wales, which only gained primary law-making powers last year, could frame its own legislation.
"The new language measure was a test case of the ability of the national assembly to produce primary legislation. It was proof that legislation distinct for Wales could be fashioned in Wales and implemented by Welsh public servants. It is a symbolic sign."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/08/wales-language-commissioner-welsh-speakers
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oldroverOffline
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PostPosted: 09-04-2012 16:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get this I really don't, I'm in Swansea Welsh is common, no one's ever embarrassed to speak it as far as I can see it's spoken totally naturally.

Surely if it's flourishing and fine down here in what hasn't been Welsh language heartland for many many years, it can't be a problem anywhere else.

Whiny Gogs.
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PostPosted: 09-04-2012 21:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

I notice nobody has mentioned Manx still spoken in the Island but not recognised elsewhere. WE need a language comissar to make sure a significant number of UK signs are in Manx Smile
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PostPosted: 10-04-2012 08:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes they do...on the island.

(And they dont inflict it upon others as do the scots.)
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PostPosted: 10-04-2012 08:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldrover wrote:
I don't get this I really don't, I'm in Swansea Welsh is common, no one's ever embarrassed to speak it as far as I can see it's spoken totally naturally.

Surely if it's flourishing and fine down here in what hasn't been Welsh language heartland for many many years, it can't be a problem anywhere else.

Whiny Gogs.


Exactly. While Welsh may have been suppressed a century ago there is no threat to it now by deliberate suppression - what will hurt it is the lack of jobs in Wales which forces many young people to go and work in England. The boot is very much on the other foot and there is clearly an attempt to make English a second class language - unacceptable in a bilingual country. (And economic madness as well.)
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PostPosted: 13-05-2012 12:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Close to the end for Kusunda.

Quote:
Nepal's mystery language on the verge of extinction
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17537845
By Bimal Gautam
BBC News, Nepal

Ms Sen has been described by experts as a linguistic treasure

Related Stories

Avoiding linguistic extinction
Are dying languages worth saving?
The tragedy of dying languages

Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman from western Nepal, can perhaps be forgiven for feeling that the weight of the world rests on her shoulders.

She is the only person still alive in Nepal who fluently speaks the Kusunda language. The unknown origins and mysterious sentence structures of Kusunda have long baffled linguists.

As such, she has become a star attraction for campaigners eager to preserve her dying tongue.

Madhav Prasad Pokharel, a professor of linguistics at Nepal's Tribhuwan University, has spent a decade researching the vanishing Kusunda tribe.

Professor Pokharel describes Kusunda as a "language isolate", not related to any common language of the world.

"There are about 20 language families in the world," he said, "among them are the Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan and Austro-Asiatic group of languages.

"Kusunda stands out because it is not phonologically, morphologically, syntactically and lexically related to any other languages of the world.

'Very sad'
He warns that if the Kusunda language becomes extinct, "a unique and important part of our human heritage will be lost forever".


The entire Kusunda tribe is on the verge of disappearing along with its last fluent speaker
Even if some of the lofty intellectual arguments for preserving the Kusunda language are lost on Ms Sen, she is acutely aware of how its demise affects her personally.

"Fortunately I can also speak Nepali, but I feel very sad for not being able to speak my own language with people from my own community," she said.

"Although there are still other people from the Kusunda tribe still alive, they neither understand nor speak the language.

"Other Kusunda people... can only speak a few Kusunda words, but can't communicate [fully] in the language."

Ms Sen fears there will be no-one to speak the Kusunda language after her death.

"The Kusunda language will die with me," she reflects, while lamenting the failure of the government and academics to help transfer the language to the next generation.

Although no detailed figures are available, the Central Bureau of Statistics says that only about 100 Kusunda tribespeople remain - but only Ms Sen can speak the language fluently.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

We do not have any specific programme to preserve this language”

Narayan Regmi
Ministry of Culture spokesman
A few years ago, there were two other people - from a mid-western Nepalese village - who spoke the Kusunda language fluently.

They were Puni Thakuri and her daughter Kamala Khatri.

But since then Puni Thakuri has died and Kamala has left the country in search of a job.

Ms Sen - despite her age - still ekes out a living as a stone-crusher. But outside of the workplace she finds that she is increasingly in demand from linguistics students wanting to learn the Kusunda language with her help.

They are documenting it in a bid to keep this rare language alive.

Researchers have so far identified three vowels and 15 consonants in the Kusunda language.

Threat to tribe
The Kusunda tribe to which Ms Sen belongs is nomadic. As hunters and gatherers, they live in huts in the jungle and carry bows and arrows to hunt wild animals.

While the males of the tribe hunt, women and children stay at home and search for wild fruits.

The Kusunda - a short and sturdy people - refer to themselves by the word "myak" in their language. They kill monitor lizards ("pui") and wild fowls ("tap").

Linguists and tribal campaigners are now demanding that the government introduce specific programmes to uplift the Kusunda tribe and protect their language.

But no such policy is on the cards, at least in immediate future.

"We do not have any specific programme to preserve this language," admitted Narayan Regmi, spokesperson of the Ministry of Culture.

The National Ethnographic Museum had meanwhile conducted a study on 10 different Nepalese ethnic groups including the Kusunda.

Its research has reached a grim conclusion. The entire Kusunda tribe is on the verge of disappearing along with its last fluent speaker in Nepal.
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PostPosted: 02-10-2012 21:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess this will squeeze in here:

Cromarty fisherfolk dialect's last native speaker dies

The last native speaker of the Cromarty fisherfolk dialect has died.
Retired engineer Bobby Hogg, 92, was the last person who was still fluent in the dialect used in parts of the Black Isle, near Inverness.
His younger brother Gordon was also a native speaker. He died in April last year aged 86.

The dialect is believed to have arrived in the area with fishing families that moved north from the Firth of Forth in 15th and 16th centuries.
The families were thought to be the descendants of Norse and Dutch fishermen.

In 2009, researcher Janine Donald compiled a booklet of Cromarty dialect words and phrases for Highland Council's Am Baile project.
The initiative, which involved recording conversations between the Hogg brothers, was part of an effort to preserve the dialect.
The 40-page publication produced also has weather lore, biblical expressions and local tales and customs.

Included was the word "tumblers" for dolphins and harbour porpoises and phrases such as "At now kucka" for a friendly greeting.

Other words and phrases included bauchles which means old, ill-fitting shoes, droog-droogle for heavy work in wet weather and Jenny Muck, a female farm worker.

Earlier this year, Highland Council made a commitment to recognise and protect the region's languages and dialects.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-19802616
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PostPosted: 11-12-2012 07:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems that even with pro-active life support, minority languages tend to die out:

Census: Welsh language's crucial challenge, says Carwyn Jones

The next challenge for the Welsh language is making sure young people speak it outside the classroom, First Minister Carwyn Jones has predicted.
He spoke ahead of 2011 Census results being published later on Tuesday, including the number of Welsh speakers.

Mr Jones said his own children speak English to each other, despite going to a Welsh-language school.
"Cracking that is going to be crucial to the future of the language over the next 10 years," he said.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will reveal findings from the 2011 Census on a variety of topics, including a question on national identity for the first time, as well as ethnicity, religion, migration and health.
The 2001 Census showed there were 582,000 (20.8%) Welsh speakers, up 2.1% on 1991.

The first minister said he expected the latest Census findings to show a smaller proportion of Welsh speakers in the language's traditional stronghold communities, but more people speaking Welsh in other parts of Wales, including Cardiff.

Legislation to guarantee bilingual services and the establishment of a language commissioner had helped secure the official status of Welsh, he said.
However, it was important that it also remained in use as an everyday language.

Mr Jones said there were places where children talk to each other in English, even though they are taught in Welsh and speak Welsh to their parents.
Although they go to a Welsh-language school, his daughter Seren and son Ruairi speak English to each other. Although he is a Welsh speaker and his wife Lisa has learned the language, Mr Jones said their children learned English first because that was the language at home.
"That's not a bad thing. It's happened before in families - but what's important to me is that they use Welsh outside school. Neither of them does," he said.

The Welsh government's Welsh language strategy, published in March, raises concerns about the sustainability of Welsh in its heartlands.
It points to Census data that show the number of communities where more than 70% of people speak Welsh fell from 92 to 54 between 1991 and 2001.
In 2003 the Welsh government set targets to halt the decline, and to increase the proportion of Welsh speakers 5% by 2011.

Mr Jones said: "My view, looking at the situation with the Welsh language is that a great deal has been done in terms of status, in terms of official use, but that isn't enough.
"The next challenge for us has to be to make sure that young people in particular have an opportunity to use the language outside the classroom, both when they are in school and after they have left school as well."

He added: "This is the challenge that we face now. The number of Welsh speakers among young people is increasing as more and more of them go to Welsh-medium schools, but they tend not to use the language outside of school.
"When you speak to young people as to why this is, they can't give an answer themselves. There are just occasions when English is the appropriate language and there seem to be more and more occasions when that's correct."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20667976
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