Arguement And Debate Regarding Indigenous Languages And Their Extinction

1210 words - 5 pages

Contention INative languages are becoming extinct and there is no support for the teachings of native languagesDeidre d'Etremont, editor of Cultural Survival Quarterly stated in summer 2001 that languages are becoming extinct and there is no public support for native languages. "Native American languages are disappearing. In Oklahoma last year, only 127 Pawnee (six percent) spoke their Native language; all were elderly. Out of a population of 2,500, there were only five fluent speakers of Osage in the Mississippi Valley ; they, too, were aged. Only one person speaks Coos.Daniel Nettle & Suzanne Romaine, Nettle is an anthropologist who has conducted extensive fieldwork in Africa. Romaine, a linguist, is Merton Professor of English Language at the University of Oxford, and has done fieldwork in the island Pacific. Together they wrote Vanishing Voices: The extinction of the world's languages (Oxford University Press, 2000)). In the Cultural Survival Quarterly Summer 2001 they stated that local people must be empowered in order to preserve languages, an underlying need for public support, coming from the community. "Since the historical causes of the threats facing the earth's languages, cultures, and biodiversity are similar, the solution is likely to be similar: the empowering of local people. In order to bring about a healthier ecosystem based on a multicultural and multilingual heritage, advocates of linguistic and cultural diversity need to be engaged in a much wider struggle for this empowerment, a guiding principle of the 21st century."Native American children are not learning their native languagesJon Reyhner is currently an associate professor teaching bilingual multicultural education courses at Northern Arizona University. In CSQ he stated that children are not learning native languages; they're not cool and not taught. "Many American Indians see language as the key to their identity, and they question whether one can be Navajo, Apache, or Crow without speaking the tribal language. Navajo language survives most strongly among older Navajos, in Navajo chapter houses (the tribe's unit of local government), and in some Christian churches that use a Navajo-language bible and hymnal. Younger Indians are less likely to speak their tribal language because the schools they attend, the music they listen to, and the television they watch are in English. Tribal languages are considered "old fashioned," "out of date, " and "not cool" to children raised on television. When these children grow up and have children, they raise them to speak only English because it is the only language they have learned to speak fluently. If this situation is not changed, most of the remaining Indian languages will be extinct in another generation or two."Marion BlueArm, an educator with special interest and personal involvment in Lakota language preservation. She currently works as an educational talent search counselor for Cheyenne River schools. BlueArm states in...

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