Monday, August 05, 2013

Linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating)

Some information about Australian indigenous endangered languages. The map shows us that so far, in the main, indigenous languages have only survived in the areas of Australia least settled by whites:
List of Australian indigenous languages and their status, such as estimates of the number of remaining speakers
Linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating) have made Australia an unlucky country. These twin forces have been in operation in Australia since the early colonial period, when efforts were made to prevent Aboriginal people from continuing to speak their language, in order to ‘civilize’ them ...
- Historical and moral arguments for language reclamation
Australia has set a record for ‘linguicide’, with 92 per cent of Indigenous languages fading or dead, according to one linguist who has used Harmony Day to emphasise the role language plays in community and culture.

Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann says that language plays a lead role in people's identity, cultural autonomy, and even their wellbeing and mental health, and should be seen as something that brings Australians together.

"While it's very easy for people to believe we should all be speaking English in the 21st century, the reality is there are dozens of languages spoken in Australia today by people from fascinating and multifaceted backgrounds," Professor Zuckermann says.

More than half of the world’s approximate 7,000 languages are at risk of disappearing in the next 100 years.
Linguicide: How dying languages kill multiculturalism
250 Number of Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia before invasion

600 Number of dialects spoken in Australia before invasion

60 Number of Aboriginal languages considered 'alive' and in use as a first tongue today

11% Percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people mainly speaking an Aboriginal language at home in 2008, unchanged from 2002 [20]. 75% of these can also speak English

50% Percentage of Indigenous people in some remote areas of Australia whose speak an Aboriginal language at home

62% Percentage of Aboriginal adults who identified with a clan, language or tribal group in 2008. Same figure in 2002: 54%
- Aboriginal languages
Professor Zuckerman has outlined a strategy of what could be done to revive some of the endangered languages in this article: Stop, Revive, Survive: Lessons from the Hebrew Revival Applicable to the Reclamation,Maintenance and Empowerment of Aboriginal Languages and Cultures

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