Tag: endangered languages

Losing Languages Means Losing Remedies

A close up image of a smoldering white sage smudge bundle and healing crystal on a dark wooden table.
The media frequently discusses language decline in terms of numbers alone—many of us have likely heard the oft-cited statistic that one language goes extinct every three months or the projection that 30% of the world’s languages will be extinct by the end of the 21st century. Language extinction triggers the loss of unique medicinal knowledge,  published in the Proceedings...

Card Game Aims to Revitalize Traditional Mongolian Script

The traditional Mongolian writing system—a vertical top-to-bottom, left-to-right alphabet—dates all the way back to the early days of the Mongol Empire. However, in the script’s homeland, official and day-to-day communications have been written in the Cyrillic script since the 1940s. As a result, the Endangered Alphabets Project considers it to be an endangered writing system, and is working on...

Languages, Plants, and People

K. David Harrison on Environmental Linguistics This is the first of an ongoing series of articles that Language Magazine will be publishing to call attention to the importance of connections between language and environment A walk in the forest Two decades ago, I walked through the Siberian taiga with Marta Kongarayeva (born 1930), a lifelong huntress and forager, and one of the last...

Japan Recognizes Ainu

The Japanese government has endorsed a bill to officially recognize the Ainu ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan for the first time and calls for “the creation of a society in which they can take pride in their heritage.” However, the move may have come too late to save the Ainu language, now spoken by only a handful of people. The bill...
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