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Aboriginal Languages.docx

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Chandan Narayan

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  Statistics 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?  Migration  Intermarriage  Religious conversion  Military conquest  Economic pressures  Political pressures  Educational goals  Negative attitudes towards own language  Drop in social/economic status of speakers With a decrease in use of language, functionality is diminished. Endangerment vs. Natural Cause  All languages can change through sound change o Structural properties can change o Vocabulary can be lost while new can be introduced  Endangerment = the complete eradication of the language, not
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