Can Threatened Languages Be Saved? by Joshua A Fishman

By Joshua A Fishman

Defenders of threatened languages around the globe, from advocates of biodiversity to devoted defenders in their personal cultural authenticity, are usually humbled by means of the dimensity of the duty that they're confronted with while the susceptible and the few search to discover a safe-harbour opposed to the ravages of the powerful and the numerous. This ebook offers either useful case reviews and theoretical instructions from all 5 continents and advances thereby the collective pursuit of "reversing language shift" for the better advantage of cultural democracy in every single place.

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Many families haul water from the local chapter or community school and chop wood to heat their homes. In the past 20 years, there has been a slow but steady increase of housing developments built by the federal government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. These developments often include 30 or more single family units situated in rows of quarter-acre lots. The housing units relocate Navajo families into homes with electricity and running water, and thus make readily available satellite and cable television, within an island-like context very different from the widely separated family camps of rural reservation areas.

If they are withdrawn, at the decision of the outside supporters, they can leave behind a void and a sense of defeat and betrayal which is worse than the initial threat that such assistance had initially promised to assuage. Thus, an initial policy decision that may be warranted is not to accept (or, at least, not to depend upon) outside support and to undertake only the most crucial efforts that can be independently conducted and maintained. There are two key words in the above formulation: ‘independent’ and ‘crucial’.

The majority of monolingual English students have actually tested worse in Navajo language ability than they did as kindergartners. The immersion students have benefited from this programme in a type 4b school with regard to their Navajo language abilities without falling behind, and even surpassing in some subject areas, their classmates in traditional monolingual English classrooms. 36 The Americas Stages 3, 2, and 1: Work sphere, mass media, higher education and government At the risk of overgeneralising, it is safe to say that the use of Navajo has become concentrated among Navajo adults, and that Navajo language use is decreasing among children and youth and being replaced by English.

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