Dying Languages in New York City
Posted in Education by Peter W. Schramm
This front-page news story on Dying Languages in
New York City ("the most linguistically diverse city in the world") is worth a read, despite the bows toward political correctness. Languages I have never heard of: Mandaic, Vlashki, Massalit, Garifuna, etc., exists here. "It is the capital of language density in the world," said Daniel
Kaufman, an adjunct professor of linguistics at the Graduate Center of
"We're sitting in an endangerment hot spot where we are surrounded by
languages that are not going to be around even in 20 or 30 years." Of course, endangered language programs are being organized at local universities. Let's just assume that the city is like a museum....
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I do believe it was Pericles who described Athens as an artifact, something which Thucydides clearly condemns.
If linguistic professors want to document and maintain historical accounts of these languages, then fine. But let's not make this into something that has critical significance.
Change is inevitable, life goes on.