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With world-wide environmental destruction and globalization of economy, a few languages, especially English, are spreading rapidly in use, while thousands of other languages are disappearing, taking with them important cultural, philosophical and environmental knowledge systems and oral literatures. We all stand to suffer from such a loss, none more so...
With world-wide environmental destruction and globalization of economy, a few languages, especially English, are spreading rapidly in use, while thousands of other languages are disappearing, taking with them important cultural, philosophical and environmental knowledge systems and oral literatures. We all stand to suffer from such a loss, none more so than the communities whose very identity is being threatened by the impending death of their languages. In response to this crisis, indigenous communities around the world have begun to develop a myriad of projects to keep their languages alive. This volume is a set of detailed accounts about the kind of work that is going on now as people struggle for their linguistic survival. It also serves as a manual of effective practices in language revitalization. It includes: sections on language policy, language planning, revitalization of indigenous languages of national prominence vs. revitalization in small speech communities, second language teaching with emphasis on immersion and communicative competence, minority language literacy, the use of media and technology in language revitalization, training, and the revitalization of languages with nonnative speakers; 23 case studies of language revitalization in practice, from Native American languages, Australian languages, Maori, Hawaiian, Welsh, Irish, and others, written primarily by authors directly involved in the programs; 10 chapters by Hale and Hinton that are detailed overviews of the various kinds of programs and methods that are in practice; and introductions and maps for each of the languages that are represented in the volume, to familiarize the reader with their history, linguistic structure and sociolinguistic features. There is strong representation in authorship and viewpoint of the people of the communities whose languages are threatened, giving the readers an inside understanding of the issues involved and the community-internal attitudes toward language loss and revitalization.
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