Second Language Studies | Language Revitalization
S600 | 14400 | P. Lesourd


It is now generally agreed that at least half of the world’s 6,000
to 7,000 languages will go out of use within the next century. The
extinction of these languages will result in a great loss of world
linguistic diversity; and because languages are intimately tied to
cultures, it is sure to result in a tremendous loss of cultural
diversity as well. This course will begin by exploring the social
and cultural causes of language death, looking at the forces that
can support stable bilingualism on the one hand or lead to language
shift on the other. We will then take up the question of what can be
done to maintain and revitalize threatened minority and indigenous
languages. We will take up a series of case studies that show how
practical problems have been dealt with in communities speaking
diverse language, including Mohawk, Navajo, Hawaiian, Quechua,
Welsh, Basque, and Maori. Students will select a case study of their
own to focus on in their work and will bring a report on this study
to the class.