Endangered Languages

Topics: Scottish Gaelic, Scotland, Scots language Pages: 8 (2862 words) Published: January 4, 2013
There are variety of factors that help us to determine whether a language UP:23/04/2012-09:19:31 WM:23/04/2012-09:19:38 M:LG102-4-FY A:11a5 R:1101631 C:A531A08874E68F858726D2BE7C18B7DAF6AD10B9

is in a dangerous position or not, such as acquisition rate by the children, attitude of the whole community to the language and effects of other languages that can threaten the language. Moreover, being able to have and evaluate such factors is important in order to decide the level of endangerment of a language. Classification of endangerment is needed for deciding the urgency of situation and to allocate scarce resources when it is needed. Therefore, languages are classified as safe, endangered or extinct. This paper is written for giving information about endangered languages, the subject of endangered language will be explained and an example of endangered language from United Kingdom called Scottish Gaelic will be discussed deeply. (Crystal 2000) If a language has enough speakers and it is being used, it can be named as safe language, however, if a language is not spoken anymore and if it has been lost, it is called an extinct language. In addition to these two classes of language, there are endangered languages. Endangered languages are languages that need help to increase its presence. Generally governments or native speakers of languages can help them to be spoken more widely and to survive when they face the danger of extinction. Endangered languages are not spoken by children and youngest speakers of such languages are young adults so they are in danger of extinction because death of a language is inevitable when all of its speakers die. According to the classification of Stephen Wurm that is cited in Crystal (2000), there are five levels of endangered languages and they are named as potentially endangered, seriously endangered, moribund languages and extinct languages. Firstly it is said that, endangered languages have very limited number

of child learners. Secondly, if any other larger language dominates a language, if UP:23/04/2012-09:19:31 WM:23/04/2012-09:19:38 M:LG102-4-FY A:11a5 R:1101631 C:A531A08874E68F858726D2BE7C18B7DAF6AD10B9

it has a disadvantaged social and economic position and if it started to lose its child speakers, this language is classified as a potentially endangered language. Then if we look at languages that are in worse conditions, we find seriously endangered, moribund and extinct languages. Seriously endangered languages don’t have any young speakers and the youngest speakers of it are fifty years old or older, moribund languages are nearly extinct and they have a small number of very old good speakers. Lastly, when no speakers of a language left, it is called an extinct language. When we look at the endangered languages most of the child speakers stop learning new words of the language and just continue to use the words that older speakers use so the language starts to have lack of development and renovation. Furthermore, attitude of the whole community and impact of other languages over an endangered language are important factors that affect its future. For an example, it is generally known that people who love in London or in a county near to London don’t like Scottish accent and their attitudes towards the language of Scottish people affects Scottish language badly. By this way, when a Scottish man comes to live in London, in order to find a better job or to have better relations with people he prefers to change his accent and try to talk like local people. His accent is also can be a problem for him if he wants to get a job that needs communication with local people. There is a language that is called Scots Gaelic and now this language can be classified in the group of potentially endangered languages by considering the classification theory of Stephen Wurm but when we look at the history of this language, it was an endangered language and in a worse condition. By the help of...
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