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https://www.duolingo.com/atikshsingh10

We need to preserve languages that are on a verge of extinction!

There have been languages all around us. Even before the colonists like British,French,Portuguese,Spanish,Dutch etc. take over places and make those countries speak the colonists' language they spoke another languages. Let us look at Africa,there they must have had a big language invasion because today when you look at the continent of Africa(as of 2000) you will see that most of the languages are Arabic I'd estimate 25%,then you will see English in about 10% of the continent.French I would guess takes over 15% of Africa.Swahili is interesting.We all know that Swahili is one of Africa's famous languages.I would guess they have only 5-8% of the continent speaking that.Madagascar luckily is completely full of African languages fortunately.African languages in Africa are about 20% of Africa,Portuguese is about 20% and Spanish is probably 2%.

I could be wrong so if you want you can go to this link http://maps.unomaha.edu/peterson/funda/MapLinks/Africa-1/Africa_files/image008.gif

If you go to this reliable and resourceful website of The National Geographic http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/ it talks about the Enduring Voices Project. It will tell you more places where there are danger of languages being extinct. According to the book 5,000 Awesome Facts {About Everything} page 27 fact 27 it says "Every 14 DAYS a language dies out" It also has facts like page 27 fact 49 "As of January 2011,no more than a dozen people speak fluent Huillichesungun,the language of Chile's Wequetrumao community"

As you have now read this you know that there are pros and cons to popular languages like Spanish taking over ancient Mexico or English taking over India or anything equivalent to that.Thanks for reading! Happy learning!

2 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
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There are tons of languages spoken in Africa. Because one power never truly took over, until the colonists and the Ottomans, few African languages ever rose to prominence.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
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Also, many tribal languages survived, there are just few major African languages because the tribes who inhabited Africa never advanced and conquered like the Ottomans, Europeans, and Asians.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QueenEurope
QueenEurope
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I agree with you that a lot of languages especially in Africa are going to be gone! there's a site called Memrise that has a few languages that could be extinct very soon. please go check it out! duolingo needs to do something!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
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But I think Duolingo should focus on languages that are actually spoken... I'd rather have a Finnish, Afrikaans, Tagalog, etc. course on here instead of Kanu, Kpatili, Opuuo, Warluwarra, or Tundra Yukagir course. Here is a map: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/#/3/45.546/-1.338/0/100000/0/low/mid/high/dormant

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ddesgagne
Ddesgagne
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I think that that should be a focus, yes, but I do agree that attention should be given to extinct and dying languages.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swingbeatnik7
swingbeatnik7
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Nice! This is why I want to learn Yiddish, to preserve it!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ddesgagne
Ddesgagne
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I REALLY REALLY like this idea, and it is something that I would love to be a part of. Heck, I would probably be a part of it already if I only had the knowledge to do so. The only thing that concerns me is that a lot of these going-extinct languages are rather obscure. Duolingo may have 100 million users and counting, but I'm not sure there are enough people with sufficient knowledge to create a course. :(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
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The map of Africa shows colonial languages. In reality, those languages are often spoken only by a minority of the people, although often times they have become the lingua franca. However, African languages are still strong in Africa.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
WildSage
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There was a post recently where someone mentioned that Duolingo is supposed to start working on 5 endangered languages next year.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamTrem
AdamTrem
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I agree with the sentiment that we should preserve these languages. We should study and document them and learn as much as possible while we can. But the hard truth is that there is little we can do to save a language if the speakers drop below a certain point. I'm not some linguistic Darwinist who think this is "progress." It makes me sad. But, in many cases, the best we can hope to do is document a language and the cultural ideas associated with it and hope that it can be revived in the future.

Yes, you can learn a dying language. But, unless you're planning to teach it to your children, it's not going to help. And even if you do teach it to your children, being (I'm assuming) far-removed from the culture and limited geographical area of these dying languages, that dying language you learned is little more than a parlor trick. If I learn Apiaka (a language with only one native speaker alive) and I live 3,500 miles away from anybody else who can speak it, does it really matter that I learned it? Would that change if there were 20 Apiaka speakers? 1,000? The focus has to be on keeping the language relevant to those who might have spoken it as a native language. Otherwise, the language is doomed.

I'm all for governments spending money to preserve native culture, language and heritage. A lot of the times these governments are what killed native languages to begin with. Most languages didn't go quietly because they found a "better" one; native speakers were often slaughtered or enslaved or simply forced to abandon their language. But, even accounting for these atrocities, there's very little we can do to stop languages from dying aside from throwing financial incentives at native speakers or linguists to chronicle every facet of the language.

If you really want to stop a language from dying, become a linguist or become fluent in the International Phonetic Alphabet. Volunteer your services with a linguistic expedition. Document the language and create learning tools for the people who lost or are losing their language. Adding a Duolingo course or two or three or a hundred won't have an impact on these languages if there isn't some incentive for people of their particular cultures to continue speaking it. Sure, we could get 100,000 people learning a dying language on Duolingo, but that won't save a language. It'll just keep it being spoken by people who have no ties to the culture or incentive to pass it down to other generations.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aaditsingh8
aaditsingh8
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...English taking over India...

True. English has been dominant in India since colonial times. The biggest problem with India right now is, considering that speaking in English fluently makes one more sophisticated and shows the person's 'high status'. That is truly idiotic. I won't compare the two languages, and in a diverse country like India, where a lingua franca is a necessity, English plays an important role. But the problem is that ~10% of the population speaks English fluently, though on the other hand ~40% of the population speaks Hindi. Which language should be chosen as a lingua franca?

The language is truly at a loss. It's fading out fast, and the educated classes, who by the way study in English medium schools, are mixing their general speech with a lot of English vocabulary. This shows how fast people are replacing their mode of communication from Hindi/any other mother tongue to English. Not the fault of English, but something needs to be done.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aokoye
aokoye
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I think it's a nice thought but I think the people targeted (learner wise) should be the people who will actually hopefully have contact with the few native speakers of a specific dying language. That could mean Duolingo rolls out the course to a very specific group of people (which would mean it wouldn't be avalible to the vast majority of the people using duolingo). I also don't know that pedagogically Duolingo is the best way to go about teaching dying languages.

I mean obviously Irish is already done and Welsh is in the works (both of which are in danger of dying) but there's been a lot more work done with those two languages (especially Irish) than most languages that are at risk.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
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I was thinking if they do something where they support languages like those that are having a revival (i.e. Māori, Scottish Gaelic, etc.) then they will help the revival. Those languages usually have a fair amount of speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tiny2004

duolingo should do something about that

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson
jimnicholson
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They are a commercial enterprise - there is no 'should'

If they choose to help endangered languages, then that is up to them. In fact they have said that there is an initiative to add five endangered languages next year, which they are going to announce when it is official.

However, endangered languages that are facing extinction are another matter. That is a vey much beyond the scope of what a platform like this is capable of and should be left to professional scholars and other specialists.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheEeveeLord

That's a good idea, but unfortunately, a language dies around every two weeks, so it's a matter of which languages we choose. Also, finding contributors will be a real challenge.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaKenna_3

I think preserving languages are a good thing, but I feel like it would be difficult because you would need to teach the language to other people, because if you don't, the language will end up going extinct anyway.

2 years ago