BBC Radio recently asked “What is lost when a language dies?” in light of the dramatic decrease in languages spoken around the world. Is it realistic to force small communities to maintain their dialect for only scholarly purposes? The BBC consulted Salikoko Mufwene, professor of linguistics, for his insight into this important issue.
From the article:
One linguist, Professor Salikoko Mufwene, of the University of Chicago, has argued that the social and economic conditions among some groups of speakers “have changed to points of no return”.
As cultures evolve, he argues, groups often naturally shift their language use. Asking them to hold onto languages they no longer want is more for the linguists’ sake than for the communities themselves.
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