LINGUIST List 14.1538

Thu May 29 2003

Disc: New: NYT Essay on Endangered Languages

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  • Karen Chung, Media: NYT: Essay on endangered languages
  • Christopher Bader, Article on Endangered Languages in Science Times
  • jess tauber, essay on dying languages in the new york times

    Message 1: Media: NYT: Essay on endangered languages

    Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 19:33:33 +0800
    From: Karen Chung <karchungntu.edu.tw>
    Subject: Media: NYT: Essay on endangered languages


    In the science section of the May 27, 2003 online edition of the New York Times, there is an essay on endangered languages entitled:

    Fading Species and Dying Tongues: When the Two Part Ways by David Berreby

    The URL:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/27/science/27ESSA.html

    Karen Steffen Chung http://ccms.ntu.edu.tw/~karchung/ http://www.topica.com/lists/phonetics/


    Message 2: Article on Endangered Languages in Science Times

    Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 15:43:24 +0000
    From: Christopher Bader <cbaderunveil.com>
    Subject: Article on Endangered Languages in Science Times


    The Science Times section of Tuesday's New York Times has an essay on endangered languages which purports to debunk the analogy between endangered languages and endangered species. In my opinion, it is specious arguments in the essay that need debunking. Indeed, I would suggest this as a topic for a discussion thread on Linguist. Check out:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/27/science/27ESSA.html

    Message 3: essay on dying languages in the new york times

    Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 12:18:46 +0000
    From: jess tauber <phonosemanticsearthlink.net>
    Subject: essay on dying languages in the new york times


    david berreby: fading species and dying tongues: when the two part ways http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/27/science/27ESSA.html

    The author suggests that saving endangered languages is more of a political issue than a scientific one (as opposed to the issue of biological species extinction), and that there is no moral difference between being forced to adopt a new language and being ''forced'' to keep the old one by ''language bullies'', presumably code here for preservationalists. Further, apparently only living bodies deserves protection, not the culture, cumulated knowledge, beliefs, etc. housed in those bodies- after all, language is in constant flux historically anyway.

    Given that genetically all multicellular organisms are far more similar than they are different (despite surface appearances), and that over paleontological time species themselves are in constant flux (in terms of species dominance and the particulars of genetic makeup internally both individually and population-wise) perhaps the same argumentation could be used to weigh the relative merits of allowing relatively maladapted minority groups (such as higher primates) to continue to maintain their genetic individualities at the expense of much more successful and widespread ones- such as ants, flies, and worms.

    Jess Tauber phonosemanticsearthlink.net