LIN 3619 Lecture Notes - Language Shift, Factor 5, Glocalization

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Exx: disease in the Americas, genocide in Tasmania, drought and famine in Ethiopia, war in Sudan, etc.
[A Fair Country by J. Ralston Saul]
[Language is lost comparatively quickly]
Disease, famine, warfare, genocide
Extinction of a population
Understanding the local language ecology is essential to understanding the changing fortunes of a language
Language ecology must be understood in a broad sense
"The study of the totality of relations that obtain between language and environment, i.e. between the factors and conditions which make language
possible or which affect or influence language." Raith (1984: 6)
What is 'language ecology'? (See Haugen 1972)
[Pidgin language-- a mixed language]
Changes in language ecology
"A speech community comes into economic cultural or political contact with another community or population speaking a different language and which is
economically stronger and more advanced than the first speech community, or culturally aggressive, or politically more powerful and mighty." Wurm (1991:
[Cultural assimilation - in North America, Australia]
[Through cultural assimilation by direct contact or indirect contact, e.g. media exposure]
[To what extent does globalization play a role in language endangerment? - "Glocalization"]
Culture clash
Knowledge of the language of the economically stronger population felt to be advantageous; only a serious threat when accompanied by cultural/political
[If one language will allow you to get a better job, you will learn that language]
Economic influences
Language may be replaced by the new, dominant language
May be relegated to less important or specialist domains
[A different vocabulary or grammatical structure may be used]
May be influenced structurally; vocabulary and grammatical influences from dominant language
Undergo loss of traditional cultural roots; no longer reflect the worldview of its community (Wurm: 'pseudo-death')
Cultural influences: cultural dominance and assimilation
Language shift may go in either direction
Conquest and colonization
Internal domination: exx Castilian vs. Basque, Catalan [in Spain]; Swahili in east Africa vs. other local languages
Political influence
All tend to loss of prestige [What speakers think of their language]
These various factors don't operate in isolation, one from another
Frequently, but not necessarily, the case
Bilingualism leads to 'semilingualism', to monolingualism
Other scenarios possible, e.g. cultural assimilation without overt political or economic domination
1. Causes of language endangerment and death
Recognition of threat or endangerment > a need to assess of degree of threat
Efforts at establishing an assessment tool typically look at factors such as number of speakers, degree of intergenerational transmission, domains of use
How endangered is endangered?
2. The assessment of language endangerment
Intergenerational Language Transmission
Absolute Number of Speakers
Proportion of Speakers within the Total Population [In the ethnic population]
Shifts in Domains of Language Use [Diminishing of domains]
Response to New Domains and Media
Materials for Language Education and Literacy
Six factors proposed:
5 = safe, 0 = language no longer used
With the exception of #2; these scored on a six-point scale; terms of the scale vary by factor
Degree of Endangerment
New Domains and Media Accepted by the Endangered Language
The language is used in all new domains
The language is used in most new domains
The language is used in many domains
The language is used in some new domains
The language is used in only a few new domains
Table 1: Degrees of endangerment following UNESCO evaluative criteria
3. UNESCO: Language Vitality Assessment: Major Evaluative Factors
2- Causes of language endangerment ; Assessing the
degree of endangerment
Thursday, September 13, 2012
3:03 PM
Course Notes Page 1
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