The And Seriousness Of Language Endangerment Essay

893 Words Nov 18th, 2016 4 Pages
Given the intensity and seriousness of language endangerment there is a wide variety of scholarship on this topic; however several scholars find problematic the literature of language endangerment. One of the main critiques from anthropologist to linguists is that linguist focus on linguistic loss without having much concern for the community of speakers whose language is in danger. The authors Jane Hill (2002) and Peter Whitely (2003) make valid critiques of the popular academic trend that language endangerment scholars propagandize for reasons that undermine its goals of advocacy. Jane Hill critiques the themes of universal ownership and hyperbole, while Whitely in conversation with and building upon Hill’s critics problematizes the apolitical concept of language rights.
The theme of universal ownership contradict the ideas of cultural sovereignty and local autonomy that is if not all, often fundamental for indigenous communities. Hill defines the theme of universal ownership as the idea that endangered languages: belong to everyone in the world, ‘possess’ wealth to the audience advocating for the particular language and constitute to intellectual property (Hill 2002:121-3). The idea of universal ownership is problematic because it does not acknowledge the speakers and is rooted in Eurocentric ideology. When advocating for endangered languages due to the belief that these languages possess something beneficial for the attendant community, is an example of the perpetuation…

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