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LINA02H3 Lecture Notes - Algic Languages, Religious Conversion, Cultural Assimilation

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Chandan Narayan

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Aboriginal languages in Canada:
60 languages
12 different language families
Most variation on west coast
Algic (language family)
44 languages
Includes Algonqian, Central, Cree… etc.
Language Endangerment and Death
Gradual: fewer and fewer children learn language until it dies out
Sudden: all speakers of language are killed or die suddenly
Bottom-to-top: when a language only ends up being used in certain contexts
o Formal or liturgical uses
Physical factors
o Destruction of habitats
o Imported disease
o Genocide
o Civil war
o Exploitation
Cultural factors
o Cultural assimilation
o Urbanization
o Restrictive language policy
o Advantages to using dominant language
o 90% of languages spoken today will die in next 100 years
o 85% of languages in world have less than 100 000 speakers
o 1 language disappears every 2 weeks
o 500 in immediate danger
Why do languages become endangered?
Religious conversion
Military conquest
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