LING 100 Lecture Notes - Language Shift, Language Death

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Published on 10 Oct 2012
School
Simon Fraser University
Department
Linguistics
Course
LING 100
Professor
Page:
of 3
LING 100 (Summer 2012)
LECTURE NOTES (Week 1)
INTRODUCTION. FUNCTIONS OF THE LANGUAGE
UNIVERSAL FEATURES OF LANGUAGES
1. LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD: 6880 LANGUAGES
73,7% OF THE WORLD POPULATION SPEAKS ONE OF FORTY MOST COMMON
LANGUAGES AS THEIR MOTHER TONGUE.
THE REST (26,3%) - SPEAKS ONE OF SIXTY EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY
LANGUAGES AS THEIR MOTHER TONGUE
Languages Population (%)
1. CHINESE 14,62 %
2. ENGLISH 8,06 %
3. SPANISH 5,32 %
4. HINDI 3,64 %
5. ARABIC 3,13 %
6. RUSSIAN 3.10 %
7. PORTUGUESE 3,08 %
8. BENGALI 3,04 %
9. JAPANESE 2,34 %
10.FRENCH 2,18 %
11.GERMAN 2,00 %
11 LANGUAGES 50,51 %
The source of information: The report of Dr. C.Lehmann (Germany) “Documentation
of Endangered Languages - a Priority Task for Linguistics” made at the International
Conference “Linguistics by the End of the XXth Century: Achievements and
Perspectives” / International Conference Abstracts. Vol.II. Moscow: Moscow State
University, 1995, p. 306-307.
90% of the approximately 250 indigenous Aboriginal languages
spoken before 1800 are already dead and heading for death in
Australia.
80% of the estimated 187 Native North American languages
are extinct or destined to extinction in the USA and Canada.
Every two weeks, somewhere in the world, a language disappears
completely. Some linguists estimate that by the twenty second
century the world’s languages will literally be decimated,
dropping from around 6000 to around 600 (Krauss 1992).
The case of the Maori language in New Zealand.
The notions of “language death”, “language shift”, “language
loss”, and “language revival”.
Factors helping the language to survive: a) the use of a language
in a community, in educational institutions; b) the publications
(newspapers, magazines, books) in the language; c) the use of
language in church, work, the media and the government; d) a
positive attitude and high motivation are important for language
maintenance.
Why should people care about the language? When we lose a
language we lose more than just a code for communicating with
others. Languages encode information. People losing their
language are putting their socio-cultural identity at risk
2. THE POSSIBLE VARIETY OF LANGUAGES IS SHARPLY
LIMITED
3. HUMAN LANGUAGES ARE SURPRISINGLY SIMILAR
2
3.1. LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS
3.1.1. Language as a means of communication
3.1.2. Language as a means of storage and transmission of
information
3.1.3. Language as a means of expressing and even organizing the
contents of our mind
3.1.4. Expressive function of Language
3.1.5. Contact establishing function of Language
3.1.6. Metalinguistic function of Language
3.1.7. Poetic function of Language
CONCLUSIONS
3

Document Summary

73,7% of the world population speaks one of forty most common. The rest (26,3%) - speaks one of sixty eight hundred forty. The source of information: the report of dr. c. lehmann (germany) documentation of endangered languages - a priority task for linguistics made at the international. Conference linguistics by the end of the xxth century: achievements and. University, 1995, p. 306-307: 90% of the approximately 250 indigenous aboriginal languages spoken before 1800 are already dead and heading for death in. Australia: 80% of the estimated 187 native north american languages are extinct or destined to extinction in the usa and canada, every two weeks, somewhere in the world, a language disappears completely. When we lose a language we lose more than just a code for communicating with others. People losing their language are putting their socio-cultural identity at risk. Language as a means of storage and transmission of information.