Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Indigenous Languages

Because of Colonization, structural racism, and all of the associated atrocities, the loss of indigenous languages has become and imminent problem. This great website, The Indigenous Language Website, has enacted innovative, community-based initiatives which reverse this process of language loss and promote the awareness of the crisis.

"Language diversity is essential to the human heritage. Each and every language embodies the unique cultural wisdom of a people. The loss of any language is thus a loss for all humanity.

The extinction of each language results in the irrecoverable loss of unique cultural, historical and ecological knowledge. Each language is a unique expression of the human experience of the world. Thus, the knowledge of any single language may be the key to answering fundamental questions of the future.

Every time a language dies, we have less evidence for understanding patterns in the structure and function of human language, human prehistory and the maintenance of the world’s diverse ecosystems. Above all, speakers of these languages may experience the loss of their language as a loss of their original ethnic and cultural identity."

-Language Vitality and Endangerment, UNESCO Document, 2002

Through the website, people can meet with teachers, native-language experts and others who want to learn about indigenous languages.


-Luke Koeferl

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