Causes of Language Death and Endangered Languages Essay

Causes of Language Death and Endangered Languages Essay

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This essay will discuss the causes of language death and if endangered languages are worth saving. This essay agrees that endangered languages are worth saving and that many factors contribute to language death. Firstly the essay will explain what language death is and the meaning of what is an endangered language. Secondly discuss language death and language birth. Thirdly discuss the causes of language death. Lastly, critically discuss if endangered languages are worth saving. The purpose of this essay is to show that language death is much higher than language birth.

What is language death? Campbell (1994:1961) as cited in Janse, M and Tol, S (2003) describes language death as the loss of a language due to gradual shift in the dominant language. Language death sounds stark and to say language death is like saying a person is dying (Crystal, D:2000, 1). It is a protracted change of a state (Mufwene, SS: 2004, 204). What are endangered languages? They are languages that are in the process of dying (Janse, M; Tol, S:2003). They are languages that exist under the shadow of a dominant language and are on the verge of becoming extinct (Lewis, M et al: 2014). Endangered languages are a serious concern in which linguists have turned their attention too (Lewis, M et al: 2014). The death and endangerment of languages across the world is a major concern among linguists and anthropologists (Crystal, D:2000).

Languages cannot be issued with birth and death certificates. The relevant process is protracted spanning several generations (Mufwene, SS: 2004, 204). When the topic of language birth is brought up upon, this involves no pregnancy or delivery stages. This in fact refers to a process in time where a variety of knowledge is acknowl...


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...rles D. Fennig(eds). 2014. Ethnology: Languages of the world, Seventeenth edition. http://www.ethnologue.com/endangered-languages . Downloaded on the 4 May 2014

Mufwene, SS. 2014.Language birth and death. www.researchgate.net/...Mufwene/...birth.../9c96052334fcb088c5.pdf . Downloaded on the 4 May 2014
Prof Fishman, J 1991, . Reversing language shift: theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.za/books?id=ah1QwYzi3c4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Tsunoda, T .2006, Language endangerment and language revitalisation. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.za/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qVAgAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=campbell+1994+causes+of+language+death&ots=02B694MesI&sig=kN6vPvs-_jf171tTNewSv-XsSow#v=onepage&q=campbell%201994%20causes%20of%20language%20death&f=false

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