QUestion 3

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QUestion 3

Post  Mar1e on Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:52 pm

Explain how languages die? Identify the different type of language death.

Fennell. A. Barbara. (2001) A history of English. Australia.
The spread of English create divisions in society, and contact with other languages causes the creation of new language varieties. Pattanayak ( 1996) argues that since English is the almost exclusive language of science and technology, this actually prevents ordinary people from having access to and interacting with it. Because it prevents many languages sharing communication, it promotes alienation, anomie and blind spots in cultural perception. English causes other cultures to wither and die, and its use by the elite to secure their position of privilege is just as much of an imposition on the people as colonialism ever was.

Language Death :
The phenomenon known as language death occurs when no one speaks or uses a language any more, either on account of the death of its users or (less radically and more commonly) on account of their shift to using a diverent language.
Krauss, (1992) predicted that up to 90 % of the approximately 6,000 languages spoken in the world today would be lost by the end of the twenty-first century. Many authors blame the spread of English directly or indirectly for the death of languages, but the question remains whether English is a “killer” language.
There is no doubt that English has been more directly the cause of death of languages in countries that now speak English as native language.
Approximately one thousand indigenous languages spoken in America before its colonization by English-speakers, only approximately 200 survive today and many of them are barely hanging on.
It is also the case that in Australia perhaps as many as two hundred aboriginal languages have been lost in recent years.
But in other countries the blame cannot be so straightforwardly placed on English. EX: in many colonial contexts, such as in East Africa in the 19th century, the missionaries, merchants and administrators frequently used an existing lingua franca, or a local language that could be made to function as a lingua franca, to communicate with the locals. Thus even colonial context, the advent of English did not necessarily entail the death knell for other languages.

On peut considérer que d’une manière générale la « mort » d’une langue survient dans une situation de domination linguistique, lorsque la langue dominante s’est substituée complètement à la langue dominée.
3 types de causes :
- Causes physiques : la disparition pure et simple des membres d’une communauté linguistique par suite d’une catastrophe naturelle, épidémie ou de massacres perpétrés en particulier lors des guerres de conquêtes, comme en Amérique latin par exemple.
- Cause socio-économiques : qui vont conduire une langue en position de force à servir de pôle d’attraction pour la communauté en situation de domination et qui a abandonné son mode de vie traditionnel.
- Causes politiques : lorsque les langues sont immolées sur l’autel de l’État : ce fut le cas en France, d’abord sous la monarchie, mais surtout à partir de la Révolution francaise avec l’unification linguistique au profit du francais et contre les autres langues parlées sur le territoire national.

Disparitions :
Par transformation : une forme linguistique évolue, se différencie géographiquement au cours d’une expansion du peuple qui la parle, pour donner naissance à une famille de langues. EX : le Latin a disparue par transformation
Par extinction : les derniers locuteurs d’une langue meurent sans laisser de descendance.
Par remplacement : chaque fois qu’une langue dominée disparait sous une langue dominante : c’est bien évidement le cas symétrique du premier, la transformation du latin en l’une ou l’autre des langues romanes impliquant la disparition des langues parlées antérieurement.

Language Death :
The death of the Norse language in England is likely to have occurred in the eleventh century in most places, as that is when the Norse speech community seems to have shifted to using English. Language death is an important phenomenon, not just for the languages and speech communities involved, but for their neighbours and co-residents. As we shall see in the rest of the chapter, it was in their deaths, just as much as in their lives, that the non-English languages of medieval England exerted an enormous influence on English itself contact

The languages that descended from Proto-Indo-European are many in
number. Quite a few are still spoken today; others have died out. It might seem strange to speak of languages as things which are born and which can die, but the metaphor is quite appropriate. When a language is no longer learned as a mother tongue by children, it is doomed to disappear from the ranks of spoken languages. Texts written in the language may remain, but if a language has no native speakers it loses its vibrancy and its everyday currency and is slowly left behind in the linguistic evolutionary process.

Of course many “dead” languages are still studied and their texts understood — Latin and Sanskrit are good cases in point — but when you can no longer use a language to order a coffee or a tea somewhere in the world, it takes on pretty much the same status as a dinosaur skeleton in a museum: it is rather mysterious and very interesting to study, but extinct all the same. There is currently a very rapid decline in the number of languages spoken around the world. Many languages are spoken by fewer than a dozen people and will almost certainly die within the next twenty or thirty years upon the death of their last member. The rapid loss of languages which mankind is currently experiencing is a source of concern for many linguists. There is a strong sense that much of the world's cultural heritage 12 is dying with these disappearing languages. Linguists are scrambling to record the last few speakers of dying languages before it is too late and the sounds, words and grammar are lost forever, but the task is overwhelming given the tremendously high number of languages which are on the verge of extinction. It has been pessimistically estimated that within the next one hundred years the total number of languages spoken around the world could
decline by approximately 90%. Instead of speaking some 5000 languages as they do today, human beings would be able to call on only about 500.


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