Endangered Languages Essay

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Scholars estimate that throughout the world as many as one to two endangered languages are lost to extinction on a bi-weekly basis. K. David Harrison states:
“When a community loses its language, they really lose their history. They lose their connection to the past. They lose all the wisdom and knowledge that has been accumulated through the centuries about how to live in a sustainable manner on this planet” (“Native American Languages: Loss and Revitalization” 2).
Human diversity is in no small part measured by the languages that we – as a species – speak. Our world is quickly shrinking in regards to linguistic and cultural diversity. And this has been then case since the 1950’s; when the number of differing languages spoken around the around began its steady decline. However, in the Americas, language preservation has been fighting a losing battle since Europeans first made contact. Language
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Quechua is spoken by a decent number of people in six South America countries, but its numbers are dwindling (like many other similar languages). There are approximately 6,500 ‘living’ languages in the world today, according to the Foundation for Endangered Languages. Of these, ten major languages constitute the native tongues of roughly half of the world’s population. While not all of the remaining 6,490 can be considered endangered, well over half of them are (Hornberger and Coronel-Molina). At first glance it may be difficult to see how a language with eight to twelve million speakers could be considered endangered, but what you have to know is that there are numerous factors that can influence language variation. For example, Quechua isn’t as much a single language as it is a collection of high variation dialects spread out over a large space and a number of diverse communities. It would not be strange for some language splitting to occur in the case of

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