GSE Publications

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Journal Article

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Language in Society





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Indigenous languages are under siege, not only in the US but around the world - in danger of disappearing because they are not being transmitted to the next generation. Immigrants and their languages worldwide are simi- larly subjected to seemingly irresistible social, political, and economic pres- sures. This article discusses a number of such cases, including Shawandawa from the Brazilian Amazon, Quechua in the South American Andes, the East Indian communities of South Africa, Khmer in Philadelphia, Welsh, Maori, Turkish in the UK, and Native Californian languages. At a time when phrases like "endangered languages" and "linguicism" are invoked to describe the plight of the world's vanishing linguistic resources in their encounter with the phenomenal growth of world languages such as English, the cases re- viewed here provide consistent and compelling evidence that language pol- icy and language education serve as vehicles for promoting the vitality, versatility, and stability of these languages, and ultimately promote the rights of their speakers to participate in the global community on and in their own terms.

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©Cambridge University Press


endangered languages, immigrant languages, indigenous languages, language revitalization, linguicism


Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.