More on Endangered Languages

Old Blog Import

Here are some letters to the NY Times that respond to many of the same issues I raised in my earlier post.

Dr. Leanne Hinton

The movement toward revitalization of endangered languages is a community-generated process, not a linguist-generated process. Furthermore, it is the younger generations who are in the leadership roles.

Dr. Alice Thor Pianfetti

The essay Fading Species and Dying Tongues” seems to have dismissed and discounted the loss of culture, tradition and ethnic pride that accompanies the death of a language

Shamira M. Gelbman

Contrary to the essay’s implication, Hebrew never went the way of the dodo. Rather, it existed as a second language alongside the various vernacular tongues spoken by Jews from ancient times through the modern era.

Its rejuvenation, therefore, drew not only on “ancient texts” but existing dialects of the language spoken in various Jewish communities at the turn of the 20th century.

This last one is something I’ve been learning more about since I wrote my initial comments. Seems like there was a sporadic medieval literature in vernacular Hebrew.