The importance of supporting endangered languages
Yesterday on Radio Australia, Phil Kafcaloudes interviewed linguists Vaso Elefsiniotis, Simon Musgrave, and Ghil’ad Zuckerman about Australia’s endangered languages. Phil asks some tough but good questions, revolving around a central theme that I’ve heard many times before; why we should be ‘preserving’ or ‘maintaining’ these languages when no one is speaking them, to which Zuckerman in particular replies with compelling and concise answers.
They also discuss the importance of language in one’s identity, particularly for aboriginal people, the cognitive advantages of bi- and multilingualism and the huge linguistic diversity within the Australian/South-East Asian/South Pacific region.
It’s an important moral and ethical discussion and is well worth the 20 minutes.