Native American Language Loss and Revitalization

by multilingualmania on August 18, 2010

in Bilingual Advocacy, Bilingual Language Development, Bilingualism

Scholars estimate that as many as one of two endangered languages become extinct every couple of weeks throughout the world. K. David Harrison from the Living Tongues Institute states:

When a community loses its language, they really lose their history. They lose their connection to the past. They lose all the wisdom and knowledge that has been accumulated through the centuries about how to live in a sustainable manner on this planet.

As a result of language loss, many Native American communities have instituted language immersion programs and other forms of language revitalization efforts. The Cherokee Nation has instituted Cherokee total immersion programs in order to revitalize their language and pass it on to future generations:

You can also hear more about Doris McLemore in the following video, who at the age of 83 is the last fluent speaker of the Wichita language and is hoping to record the language for future generations.The sound quality in the video initially isn’t very good, but it improves at the video progresses:

Last Voice from Travis Heying on Vimeo.

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Our Spirits Don’t Speak English

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brian Barker August 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

With regard to the campaign to save endangered and dying languages, can I point to the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO’s campaign.

The commitment was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations’ Geneva HQ in September.

Your readers may be interested in Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva. Please also see

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