Monday, 16 May 2011

Global Post reports on language death in Colombia

Colombia: Saving dying languages

Languages mentioned in the article include: the already extinct Tinigua (Ethnologue reports 2 speakers left, UNESCO, 1); and also Nasa, Uitoto, Embera and Wayuu, the four of which are taught at the National University.

This demonstrates some problems with printing language names without context. After reading the article, I could find no language called Nasa in Ethnologue or the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. Embera is a family of six languages, 5 of which have Embera in their canonical name in Ethnologue, and two of which have an alternate name of simply "Embera". Uitoto, I surmise, may refer to either Minica Huitoto, or Murui Huitoto.

The article points out some of the causes of the demise of indigenous languages in the area: The "ongoing drug and guerrilla war", that has uprooted thousands of indigenous people; the prestige associated with Spanish, coming from pressure to assimilate; and that Spanish is the medium of education in any public schools not.

SIL activities in the area are also mentioned.

No comments:

Post a Comment