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Linguistics => General => Topic started by: greek on July 18, 2022, 09:13:47 am

Title: The world’s endangered languages
Post by: greek on July 18, 2022, 09:13:47 am
Encyclopedia of the world’s endangered languages
Christopher Moseley (ed.)

If we trace the history of linguistics as a science, from the realms of mere speculation as recently as the eighteenth century to its status as a relatively exact science, with many distinct specialisations, at the beginning of the twenty-first, and compare that history with the history of demographic, political and economic change across the globe over the same brief period in the span of man’s existence as a speaking animal, then it begins to become clear why the concept of ‘endangerment’ is so new to the realms of linguistics. This volume arose as an answer to a felt need: to document a diversity that is fast attenuating, in a world where ‘diversity’ in other spheres – the natural world, the cultural world and even in race relations – is a quality which has enjoyed a heightened appreciation only within the past two generations or so.

There are well over 6,000 languages spoken in the world today. This is itself a fact that is only recently established by linguistic science, and there is some debate still about the exact number. Not only is the difference between a ‘language’ and a ‘dialect’ a perennial bone of contention, but even in the late twentieth century, new languages remained to be discovered, identified and classified – often misclassified, when the data about them was only sketchy. Whatever the exact number, even though perhaps some few genuinely new cases remain to be discovered, it is not a number that is growing. It is diminishing, and diminishing at a rate that should worry anyone who regards diversity as healthy in the same way that we may worry about the accelerating endangerment to the world’s rare flora and fauna, or the shrinking of the polar ice-caps.

There are no grounds for complacency, then, and the book you hold in your hands is one attempt to document as accurately as possible the true state of that endangerment. The languages described and listed in this volume are all at least to some extent under threat of extinction within the next two generations of their native speakers. The ultimate reasons for their decline are many, but the most immediate reason is a simple, stark truth: knowledge of the language as a tool of everyday communication is not being passed from one generation to another.

Language has always been a powerful weapon in the subjugation of peoples and
nations. Empires have come and gone by the sword, but their true staying power, their lasting influence over many generations, long after the trappings of government and formal administration have disappeared, lies in the power of language.

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Title: Re: The world’s endangered languages
Post by: guest377 on July 18, 2022, 06:05:36 pm
Yes I agree.. the Estonian language is a member of the Baltic Finnic group of the Finno-Ugrian family of languages and is one of the few languages in Europe that is not Indo-European.  It is also related to the  Finnish and Livonian, Vepsian and Votic languages and related to Hungarian.

It is written in the Roman alphabet and is very consistent and regular.

Estonian is the native language of about one million people living in the Republic of Estonia, situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland at the eastern end of the Baltic Sea. It is also spoken by another hundred thousand people of Estonian birth or descent living in Sweden, Germany, the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and several other countries.
The country has had a turbulent and fascinating history, largely owing to its sensitive strategic position. To its north lies Finland, to the west, Sweden, to the south, Latvia and to the east, Russia.