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When Languages Die
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When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge

K. David Harrison


It is commonly agreed by linguists and anthropologists that the majority of languages spoken now around the globe will likely disappear within our lifetime. The phenomenon known as language death has started to accelerate as the world has grown smaller. This extinction of languages, and the knowledge therein, has no parallel in human history. This book focuses on the essential questions: What is lost when a language dies?; What forms of knowledge are embedded in a language's structure and vocabulary?; And how harmful is it to humanity that such knowledge is lost forever? The book spans the glo ... More

Keywords: linguists, anthropologists, extinction of languages, poetry, Siberia, North America, language death

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780195181920
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181920.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

K. David Harrison, author
Swarthmore College
Author Webpage