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Details The location of the:Home Page >> Industry >> Authentication >> Details
How to Help an Endangered Language
Date:2013-3-4    Publisher:本站原创

How to Help an Endangered Language


 

By Tom Banse and Katherine Cole
03 March, 2013

BARBARA KLEIN: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Barbara Klein.

BOB DOUGHTY: And I'm Bob Doughty. This week on our program, we look at efforts to protect threatened languages. And, later, we hear some songs about baseball.

(MUSIC)

BARBARA KLEIN: Eleven of the world's languages have at least one hundred million native speakers. The biggest are Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi. Next come Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, French and German. The United Nations says these eleven languages are the mother tongues of half the world's population.


Photo: K. David Harrison
Alfred "Bud" Lane works with linguist Gregory Anderson to record words for a talking dictionary
But the world has close to seven thousand languages. Linguists predict that as many as half of these may be at risk of disappearing by the end of this century. That would mean another language dies every two weeks.

BOB DOUGHTY: Members of the Siletz Indian tribe in the northwestern state of Oregon take pride in their language. Their language, they say, "is as old as time itself."?But today very few people can speak it fluently. In fact, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Bud Lane is one of them.

BUD LANE: "We had linguists that had come in and done assessments of our people and our language and they labeled it -- I'll never forget this term -- 'moribund,' meaning it was headed for the ash heap of history."

The Siletz tribal council did not want to let that happen. So Bud Lane asked for help from experts. Several National Geographic Fellows helped him record fourteen thousand words and phrases in his native tongue.

TALKING DICTIONARY: "Let's dance out in front: ch'ee-naa-svt-nit-dash."

Some Siletz words describe basket making, a traditional tribal art.

TALKING DICTIONARY: "Baby basket: guy-yu." "Baby basket laces: guy-yuu mvtlh-wvsh."

 

 

 

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