College Of Arts And Sciences | Endangered Languages
E104 | 0139 | Fowler
9:30-10:45 TR BH 310
All over the world groups of people have come into contact with other
cultures through migration, colonization, and international mass media.
Often these groups start to change their way of life, including their
religion, dress, eating habits, and even their language because of this
contact. They may do this because they hope their lives will be better, or
they may be pressured to do it because the other culture has more political,
economic, and military power than they have. When so many people in a
culture start to switch to a new language that their original language is
likely to disappear within a few generations, we say that the language is
"endangered," just like a plant or animal species that may die out soon.
We will look at cultures on every continent in which large percentages of
people have stopped using the language they grew up speaking and switched
over to another language in use around them. We will examine the political,
social, and economic pressures that make them give up one of the most
personal and important markers of their identity. We will also talk about
controversies in countries like the United States over which language
immigrants should know and use, because those controversies stem from the
same forces that can cause a language to become endangered.