Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Last Speakers

Just listened to this fascinating article (which appears on on NPR) about the extinction of language, "In The Search For 'Last Speakers,' A Great Discovery." In the article, linguist David Harrison is quoted as saying:

"People really do value their languages," he says. "And ... the decision to give up one language or to abandon a language is not usually a free decision. It's often coerced by politics, by market forces, by the educational system in a country, by a larger, more dominant group telling them that their language is backwards and obsolete and worthless."

This sounds very much like what's happened in Taiwan when the Kuomintang prohibited Taiwanese people from speaking their native Aborigine, Holo Taiwanese and Hakka languages.

Harrison also has some interesting, though not surprising things to say about how to save a language.

To read the entire article, click here.


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