Archive for the ‘Koro’ Category

ALTA blog on languages

24 April 2011

ALTA Language Services is a translation company with a blog called “Beyond Words,” providing information on language since March 2008. Four of their posts over the past year have focused on endangered languages.

  1. Macanese (mzs)

On April 20, the post “Macanese” looks at a creole spoken in Macau (Macao), a special administration region of China and former colony of Portugal.

When people speaking different languages come together, a language sometimes comes into being and is known as a pidgin. If that pidgin becomes established and children begin learning it as their native language, it is then known as a creole.

The languages that were combined in the formation of Macanese are: Malay (msa), Sinhala (sin), Cantonese (yue), and Portuguese (por). According to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, there were 50 speakers of the language as of 2000. According to Wikipedia, the Macanese diaspora contributed to the loss of the community.

2. Koro (not yet classified by Ethnologue)

The discovery of the Koro Language in the Himalayas discusses Koro, a language discovered by the Enduring Voices Project.

3. Salish (family)

Spoken in the Pacific Northwest, the Salish languages are all endangered or extinct. As noted in the blog post “Salish,” there are signs written in Salish along the road in Montana.

4. Shiyeyi or Yeyi (yey)

Listed as “definitely endangered” with 20,000 speakers in 2000 by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, Yeyi has more clicks than any other Bantu language. As noted in “Shiyeyi,” it is spoken in Southern Africa, primarily in the nation Botswana, though speakers are turning to Tswana (tsn), the most widely spoken language in Botswana.

Looking forward to more great articles on endangered languages and other language issues on Beyond Words!

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National Geographic Teams with Living Tongues Institute

24 February 2011

National Geographic is collaborating with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages on their Enduring Voices Project and has a web section devoted to it.

The top starts out with an interactive map, showing areas of the globe with degrees of severity in terms of language endangerment. Based on materials from the LTI, the National Geographic map provides pop-up windows when you click on a language endangered area, providing a profile of the area. Click on a button for more information, and you get a new browser tab filled with a list of the languages, revitalization projects, links and data from the Living Tongues Institute (hosted by Swarthmore College).

Below the map is a description of language endangerment (including the statistic that a language goes silent every 14 days), followed by a series of exciting articles (related features) that bring the world to the desktop in that magical way that National Geographic has. Among the links is a YouTube channel for the Enduring Voices Project, currently hosting 132 videos including hip-hop in Aka or Hruso (hru) and the counting system of Foe or Foi (foi), which goes to 37. Others include an expedition to Chile to research Huilliche (huh) and the discovery of Koro (not yet classified).

The site also includes pages on expeditions, resources and revitalization.