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Encyclopedia > Language death

In linguistics, language death (also language extinction, linguistic extinction) can be thought of as a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language idiom is decreased. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... A language is usually considered moribund (literally, dying) when it is no longer the language of the community, and is no longer learned by children, so that without massive intervention it will likely become extinct when the last of its current speakers dies. ... Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Speech community is a concept in sociolinguistics that describes a more or less discrete group of people who use language in a unique and mutually accepted way among themselves. ... Linguistic competence refers to the knowledge of a language system. ... A variety of a language is a form that differs from other forms of the language systematically and coherently. ...


Total language death occurs when there are no speakers of a given language idiom remaining in a population where the idiom was previously used (i.e. when all native speakers die). Language death may affect any language idiom, including dialects and languages. First language (native language, mother tongue) is the language a person learns first. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the languages speakers. ...


The study of language loss at the individual level focuses on what is lost - a first language (L1) or a second language (L2) - and where it is lost - in an L1 or L2 environment. Language attrition is the loss of a first or second language or a portion of that language by either a community or an individual. ... “Native Language” redirects here. ... A second language is any language other than the first, or native, language learned; it is typically used because of geographical or social reasons. ...

Contents

Types of language death

Language death may manifest itself in one of the following ways:

  • gradual language death
  • bottom-to-top language death
  • radical language death
  • linguicide (a.k.a. sudden language death, language death by genocide, physical language death, biological language death)

The most common process leading to language death is one in which a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language, and gradually shifts allegiance to the second language until they cease to use their original (or heritage) language. This is a process of assimilation which may be voluntary or may be forced upon a population. Speakers of some languages, particularly regional or minority languages, may decide to abandon them based on economic or utilitarian grounds, in favour of languages regarded as having greater utility or prestige. Languages can also die when their speakers are wiped out by genocide or disease or, in the rare event, devastating natural catastrophes. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The term bilingualism (from bi meaning two and lingua meaning language) can refer to rather different phenomena. ... Language shift is the process whereby an entire speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. ... In the social sciences, assimilation is the process of integration whereby immigrants, or other minority groups, are absorbed into a generally larger community. ... Genocide is the mass killing of a group of people as defined by Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or... The term disease refers to an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs function. ...


A language is often declared to be dead even before the last native speaker of the language has died. If there are only a few elderly speakers of a language remaining, and they no longer use that language for communication, then the language is effectively dead. A language that has reached such a reduced stage of use is generally considered moribund. The process of attrition occurs when intergenerational transmission of a "heritage language", mother tongue or native language has effectively stopped. This is rarely a sudden event, but a slow process of each generation learning less and less of the language, until its use is relegated to the domain of traditional use, such as in poetry and song. For example, a family's adults may speak in an older native language, but when they have children, they may not pass on this language, and therefore the language dies in that family. One example of this process reaching its conclusion is that of the Dalmatian language. First language (native language, mother tongue, or vernacular) is the language a person learns first. ... Native Language Music, founded in 1996 by musicians Joe Sherbanee and Theo Bishop, is an independent adult contemporary record company based in Southern California that produces, markets, and distributes premium jazz, world, and new age music. ... Dalmatian is an extinct Romance language formerly spoken along the eastern Adriatic in Dalmatian coast of Croatia and as far south as Kotor (Cattaro) in Montenegro. ...


Language attrition

Main article: Language attrition

Language attrition is the loss of a language or a portion of that language by either a speech community or an individual. Four areas of loss are defined as what is lost - the first language (L1) or the second language (L2) - and where it is lost - in a first language (L1) or second language (L2) environment. Language attrition is the loss of a first or second language or a portion of that language by either a community or an individual. ...


Sociolinguistic causes

Sociolinguistics may play a role in language death if the constructions of society fail to support linguistic diversity. Language policies may be used to protect languages from extinction, and terms such as “linguistic human rights” have welcomed an increasing awareness of the socio-strategic dichotomy of natural rights and linguistic freedom. Lack of awareness is arguably a prominent cause of language death, when native speakers of the dominant language fail to recognize the contributing aspects of a multi-lingual community, and in turn, the language policies restrict rather than protect the minority language. When the resources for linguistic maintenance lessen and socio-economic stability relies heavily on proficiency in the dominant language, an extinction of the minority language is plausible. This article or section cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... Linguistic rights (or language rights or linguistic human rights) are the human and civil rights concerning the individual and collective right to chose the language or languages for communicating in the private or public sphere, regardless ethnicity or nationality or the number of the speakers of a language in a...


Consequences on grammar

changes caused by language death result from convergence, interference, and independent autogenetic processes

Phonology (Greek phone = voice/sound and logos = word/speech) is a subfield of grammar (see also linguistics). ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio. ... An isolating language is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and are considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ... In linguistics, syntax is the study of the rules, or patterned relations, that govern the way the words in a sentence come together. ... In grammar, a lexical category (also word class, lexical class, or in traditional grammar part of speech) is a linguistic category of words (or more precisely lexical items) that are usually defined by their particular syntactic or morphological behaviours. ...

Language revival

Main article: Language revival

Sometimes language death can be reversed, as has happened with the Hebrew language in Israel. However, this is the only large-scale language revival process that has ever succeeded, as the attempts of successive Irish governments to revive the Irish language since 1922 have failed[citation needed]. Consequently, the language has been in continuous decline, except in Northern Ireland, where it has become popular (mostly among nationalists) after a long period of stagnation[citation needed]. // Language revival is the revival, by governments, political authorities, or enthusiasts, to recover the spoken use of a language that is no longer spoken or is endangered. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Percentage of Irish speakers by county of the Republic; the six Northern Ireland counties have been considered as one. ... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Irish nationalism refers to political movements that desire greater autonomy or the independence of Ireland from Great Britain. ...


Language loss & language acquisition

Some linguists have suggested a comparison between language death/attrition phenomena and language acquisition, where language death is viewed as a kind of language acquisition in reverse. Together, language loss and language acquisition can co-exist when a speaker acquires a second language and fails to exercise and preserve the first. This process is often noted as a shift to monolingualism, when one relies on a temporal identity to better adhere to social economy and linguistic hierarchy. Some linguists argue it is the “inside-language” that affects the preference of the dominant language because linguistic minorities cannot be fully aware of the language living inside themselves, and therefore take for granted the social relevance of their native language. In struggling to build identity and understand media coverage and economic benchmarks, we may often see a preference of the dominant language, and continually a loss of exercise in the minority language. Some linguistic minorities may be shocked to find their language near extinction, but the idea that even to communicate that frustration, one must raise awareness in the dominant language, reveals the preference of the dominant language for cross-cultural understanding. For the academic journal, see Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics Language acquisition is the process by which the language capability develops in a human. ... Monoglottism (Greek monos, alone, solitary, + glotta, tongue, language) is the condition of being able to speak only a single language. ...


Dead languages and normal language change

Linguisticss distinguish[citation needed] between language "death" and the process where a language becomes a "dead language" through normal language change, a linguistic phenomenon similar to pseudoextinction. This happens when a language in the course of its normal development gradually morphs into something that is then recognized as a separate, different language, leaving the old form with no native speakers. Thus, for example, Old English may be regarded as a "dead language", with no native speakers, although it has never "died" but instead simply changed and developed into Modern English. The process of language change may also involve the splitting up of a language into a family of several daughter languages, leaving the common parent language "dead". This has happened to Latin, which (through Vulgar Latin) eventually developed into the family of Romance languages. Such a process is normally not described as "language death", because it involves an unbroken chain of normal transmission of the language from one generation to the next, with only minute changes at every single point in the chain. There is thus no single point in time where anyone could say that "Latin died". Language change is the manner in which the phonetic, morphological, semantic, syntactic, and other features of a language are modified over time. ... Pseudoextinction of a species occurs where there are no more living members of that species, but members of a daughter species or subspecies remain alive. ... Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... Vulgar Latin, as in this political graffito at Pompeii, was the speech of ordinary people of the Roman Empire — different from the classical Latin used by the Roman elite. ... The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family, comprising all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. ...


See also

Ethnocide is a concept related to genocide; unlike genocide, which has entered into international law, ethnocide remains primarily the province of ethnologists, who have not yet settled on a single cohesive meaning for the term. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Language shift is the process whereby an entire speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Language contact occurs when speakers of distinct speech varieties interact. ... An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language used (or to be used in the future) for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common native language. ... A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a country. ... A regional language is a language spoken in a part of a country, be it may be a small area, a federal state or province, or a wider area. ... A language is usually considered moribund (literally, dying) when it is no longer the language of the community, and is no longer learned by children, so that without massive intervention it will likely become extinct when the last of its current speakers dies. ... An endangered language is a language with so few surviving speakers that it is in danger of falling out of use. ... A list of endangered languages (with fewer than 1000 speakers or in rapid decline). ... An extinct language is a language which no longer has any native speakers, in contrast to a dead language, which is is a language which has stopped changing in grammar, vocabulary, and the complete meaning of a sentence. ... This is a list of languages that underwent language death and currently have no native speakers. ... // Language revival is the revival, by governments, political authorities, or enthusiasts, to recover the spoken use of a language that is no longer spoken or is endangered. ... Many countries have a language policy designed to favour or discourage the use of a particular language or set of languages. ... The theory of Linguistic imperialism has since the early 1990s attracted the attention among scholars in the field of English applied linguistics, particularly since the publication of Robert Phillipsons influential book Linguistic Imperialism, which led to considerable disputes about the merits and shortcomings of the theory. ... Linguistic protectionism is any state policy introduced to protect a given language from the expansion of a stronger language (usually a language with a much greater number of speakers), or against mixing (or deliberate compatibility) with a different dialect or a closely related language. ... This article or section cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... Cultural genocide is a term used to describe the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political or military reasons. ... Cultural hegemony is a concept coined by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. ...

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Nancy C. Dorian is an American linguist who has carried out research into the death of the East Sutherland dialect of Scottish Gaelic for over 40 years, particularly in the villages of Brora, Golspie and Embo. ... Professor Joshua Aaron Fishman is an American social scientist and linguist at Stanford University. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Language death - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1495 words)
The most common process leading to language death is one in which a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language, and gradually shifts allegiance to the second language until they cease to use their original (or heritage) language.
Language attrition is the loss of a language or a portion of that language by either a speech community or an individual.
Language "death" must not be confused with the process where a language becomes a "dead language" through normal language change.
Crystal, D. Language Death (727 words)
Language death is a global phenomenon - and has been for millennia - but a global conscience to actually care and do something about it is regrettably recent, minuscule...
Language Death is born of concern, a concern for humanity, linguistic diversity and a deep-rooted desire to retain the rich linguistic and cultural mosaic the globe continues to enjoy, but which is under siege.
Favourable characteristics include the speakers of the threatened language having prestige (p 130), increased wealth (p 132), legitimate power (p 133) within (the perception of) the dominant community, as well as having a strong presence in education (p 136), literacy in the language (p 138) and access to usage of electronic technology (p 141).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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