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Academic Paper

Title: The Future of Köho: A Mon-Khmer language of Viêt Nam
Author: Neil H. Olsen
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Utah
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Writing Systems
Subject Language: Koho
Subject LANGUAGE Family: Austro-Asiatic
Abstract: Kơho, a Mon-Khmer (Austroasiatic) language, is spoken by approximately 100,000 people located in Lam Dong province in the highland region of Viet Nam. There are also several thousand other speakers who now live in France and the USA. In 1986, and again in 1992, Kơho refugees were resettled in North and South Carolina. Like so many emigrant groups preceding them, the children are not learning the language and cultural traditions are not being preserved. Maintenance of the Kơho language has become an important issue to the relocated community/L//L/Since the 1930s, missionaries, government agencies, and educators using several different alphabets have produced scripture, primers, grammars, and dictionaries. After 1975, use of minority languages was discouraged and a Vietnamization campaign emphasized integration of minority peoples into the majority national society. Despite the fact that Kơho has 100,000 speakers, it has the potential to become an endangered language. A challenge to overseas Kơho will be maintaining their “critical mass” of speakers./L//L/This presentation will review the history of the development of orthographies, explore the religious, political, and pedagogical ramifications of orthography choice in the preparation of literacy materials, and review resources for language and cultural maintenance.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Univ. of N. Carolina, Charlotte.
Publication Info: N. Ostler & B. Rudes, eds. Endangered Languages and Literacy, pp. 43-46. Proc. of the 4th Foundation for Endangered Languages Conference.

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