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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr Add Dissertation
Author: Charles Häberl Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Harvard University, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation;
Subject Language(s): Mandaic
Director(s): John Huehnergard
Wolfhart Heinrichs
Jorunn Buckley
Prods Skjærvø

Abstract: This dissertation is the first account of a previously undocumented dialect of Neo-Mandaic, a Semitic language belonging to the Eastern subgroup of Aramaic. It is the most detailed description of any dialect of Neo-Mandaic. The data contained within this dissertation was collected through field work conducted over the course of two years. The description is primarily synchronic, and focuses upon the phonology, inflectional paradigms, and morphosyntax of the language. The second volume contains a collection of ten texts, transcribed and furnished with interlinear translations and morpheme-by-morpheme glosses, as well as a concise lexicon of vocabulary found within these texts.

This language, which represents the latest stage of the phonological and morphological development of Classical Mandaic, is the only surviving dialect of Aramaic directly descended from any of the dialects attested in Late Antiquity. The Mandaeans who speak it are adherents of a pre-Islamic Gnostic sect, the only such sect to survive to the present day. As such, Mandaic may be considered as both a living language of the modern Middle East and also the vehicle of one of the great religious traditions of that region, along with Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian.

Neo-Mandaic is severely endangered, and all signs indicate that the current generation of speakers is likely to be the last. As a description of an endangered language, this dissertation also addresses one of the chief concerns of linguistics in the 21st century, namely the impending loss of the majority of the world’s languages and the concomitant blow to both linguistic and cultural diversity that it represents.