Mapping Heritage Languages

May 15, 2014 by

As geographers know, major patterns on a map often conceal more subtle – and often more interesting – configurations. This is often the case with language maps: mapping a majority language often masks the extent of various...

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Kusunda, a language like no other?

May 25, 2012 by

Kusunda is a dying isolate language. Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman from western Nepal, is its last known speaker. There are some 100-160 people in the Kusunda tribe, and some of them know a few words of the language, but nobody...

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Linguistic and Biological Diversity Overlap—But Why?

May 17, 2012 by

In the early 21st century biodiversity worldwide is sharply decreasing, with annual losses of plant and animal species estimated to be 1,000 times greater than historic rates. As the world is becoming less biologically diverse, it is...

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Modern Technology Helps Save Dying Languages

May 16, 2012 by

As discussed in an earlier post, modern technology can be called upon to help save a dying language. Another example of this is a language called Arapesh, marked as #140 on the Ethnologue map of languages along the northern New Guinea...

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“Language Nest” Program to Nurture the Enets Language

May 14, 2012 by

A “Language Nest” program has recently opened at the local kindergarten in the village of Potapovo, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The goal of the program is to maintain—and to some extent revive—the Forest Enets language, one of the many endangered native Siberian languages.

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The Pirahã Controversy — Part 3

Mar 29, 2012 by

In the previous post, I outlined the arguments in the Pirahã controversy. Here, let’s consider more closely one of the most crucial issue of this controversy: whether Pirahã allows recursion. (An interested reader is referred...

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