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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: Endangered Languages, Time Magazine

Submitter: Suzette Haden Elgin

Submitter Email: ocls@madisoncounty.net
Media Body: June 6, 2002

The June 10, 2002 issue of _Time_, p. 22, has a half page titled "Tongues
That Go Out of Style," written by Harriet Barovick. It shows a map of the
world, with notes about endangered languages worldwide. For North America
it mentions "Pennsylvania German," "most Native American languages," and
Gullah; the choices for Europe are Faeroese, Sardinian, and Yiddish. The
fact that for Asia the chosen example is Nushu, identified as "perhaps the
world's only language just for women," does not inspire confidence; Nushu
is not a language, but a writing system.

Suzette Haden Elgin

Issue Number: 13.1615
Date Posted: June 06, 2002

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