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The languages spoken by no more will ever be?

November 27 2007

Every two weeks, then disappears language. Such data are published deputy director of the Institute of Living Languages in the United States, David Harrison.

80% of people now talk of 83 languages, the most common. There are still thousands of 3500's most maloupotreblyaemyh languages - speaks to them only 0.2% of Earth's inhabitants. Often a situation where native speakers are the only one - two people. For example, "Siletz di no, this is the last of the 27 languages spoken by the Indians on the reservation Siletz. Days of the language are probably numbered, because it says it is only one man, and he is an old man of seventy years. Or here's another, language Yuchi tribe. This language - is unique in terms of linguistics, because oddly enough is not linked back to any one of the world's languages. At Yuchi speak five old men, each of which more than sixty years.

The main reason for the disappearance of languages - banal repression. Take, for example, Australia, the world champion on endangered languages. In Australia, as we know, there are constant conflicts newcomers to the Aborigines. As a result of such conflicts, the tribes often scattered or lost their language. A similar situation exists in the U.S..

Via Harrison hence rating of endangered languages:

  1. Northern Australia as endangered language 153
  2. Central and South America, is about to disappear 113 languages
  3. North Pacific Plateau, which includes British Columbia in Canada, Washington and Oregon in the United States, North Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, the Russian East Siberia. 54 languages.
  4. China and Japan to fall into oblivion 23 languages.

Thus, it is easy to calculate that the current threat of extinction facing the 383 languages.

Interestingly, in this rating are involved not only Western countries, but not distant Siberia. In Siberia, the situation is very peculiar. Here, the disappearance of languages for the most part contributed to the state. Authorities were forced indigenous people shall also tell on the tongue of a large region.

Importance of language extinction can be viewed in different ways. On the one hand, well, disappear and vanish, we have something that. We do not talk to them. But here, David Harrison thinks differently: "With each such loss, we lose everything that for centuries these people were thinking - about the time, heaven, sea creatures, reindeer, edible and medicinal plants, about mathematics, nature, myths and music ... ".

"Indeed, every year in the world disappears in about 15-20 languages, so if my estimate and below, not much. Now rarely contributes to this process, but rarely and combat, so that we are dealing with the natural aging of languages. But on the other hand, if a year disappears 20 languages, a hundred years away 2000, and this is a cultural tragedy. In Russia, according to my estimates, every year is fading language. Thus, in the USSR over the past 20 years of its existence has disappeared 20 languages. I know at least two such language in Russia that have disappeared in recent years "- said Professor Sergei Arutyunov, the head of department at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology.

Considering the problem of language endangerment increasingly, many scientists believe that even a little bit and there will be one English. No, of course, other languages like Russian, too, will be, but in everyday life. Already, many scientists are forced to write their works in English. In the usual Russian terminology is often not enough, plus it severely limits the readership. And with time And this problem will only grow.

Sasha Mertsalova


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