dilluns, 20 de setembre de 2010

Are dying languages worth saving?

An interesting article from the BBC website:
Are dying languages worth saving?
Language experts are gathering at a university in the UK to discuss saving the world's endangered languages. But is it worth keeping alive dialects that are sometimes only spoken by a handful of people, asks Tom de Castella?
"Language is the dress of thought," Samuel Johnson once said.
About 6,000 different languages are spoken around the world. But the Foundation for Endangered Languages estimates that between 500 and 1,000 of those are spoken by only a handful of people. And every year the world loses around 25 mother tongues. That equates to losing 250 languages over a decade - a sad prospect for some.

This week a conference in Carmarthen, Wales, organised by the foundation, is being attended by about 100 academics. They are discussing indigenous languages in Ireland, China, Australia and Spain.
"Different languages will have their quirks which tell us something about being human," says Nicholas Ostler, the foundation's chairman.
"And when languages are lost most of the knowledge that went with them gets lost. People do care about identity as they want to be different. Nowadays we want access to everything but we don't want to be thought of as no more than people on the other side of the world."

Apart from English, the United Kingdom has a number of other languages. Mr Ostler estimates that half a million people speak Welsh, a few thousand Scots are fluent in Gaelic, about 400 people speak Cornish, while the number of Manx speakers - the language of the Isle of Man - is perhaps as small as 100. But is there any point in learning the really minor languages?
To continue reading the full article, please click here.

6 comentaris:

  1. L'autor ha eliminat aquest comentari.

    ResponElimina
  2. Jo crec que sí val la pena salvar les llengües amb menys parlants. Si més no, són patrimoni cultural dels seus parlants, i ens diuen molt del territori i de la seva gent. Vaig passar un mes ara fa uns cinc estius a Swansea, a Gal·les, i em va sorprendre molt aquella llengua amb tot de consonants (i difícil!), tot un canal de la BBC en gal·lès -si no recordo malament- i, malgrat que no són totalment bilingües, hi posaven molta cura en preservar el gal·lès i el que representava (m'ho explicava la senyora que em va acollir a casa seva a Sketty).
    Hwyl fawr!! :)

    ResponElimina
  3. Jo també hi estic d'accord.
    El cas del pais de Gal·les és interessant, malgrat no tenir una autonomia tan forta com la d'Escocia, si que son defensors ardents de la seva llengua - tal com dius tu, una llengua que no té res a vore amb l'anglesa.

    ResponElimina
  4. I can't help feeling that certain parallels exist between the precious fauna of this planet and the vast range of languages we humans evolved. Losing say Cornish forever would be like losing the red squirrel and losing Welsh would be like losing the tiger. We need to hang on to them all and change our ways to make that possible.

    ResponElimina
  5. I agree.
    I'll quote an expert:
    "[When a language dies] what is primarily lost is the expression of a unique vision of what it means to be human," said David Crystal ...

    ResponElimina
  6. Jo giraria la qüestió, l'important no són les llengües en si mateixes, l'important és el dret dels seus parlants a utilitzar-les. si salvar una llengua és tenir-la en una vitrina no ens serveix, el que cal és que la comunitat de gent que la parla no es vegi empesa a abandonar-la en favor d'una altra llengua més forta (socioeconòmicament parlant). Així doncs, sí, cal salvar la llengua, perquè al darrere de les llengües hi ha persones amb drets.

    ResponElimina