Preserving Endangered Languages

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Linguists Juliette Blevins and Daniel Kauffman discuss endangered languages and the Endangered Language Alliance, which is working to record and save dying languages. They’ll look at the richness of languages spoken in New York City, and how many of those languages are at risk of fading from the city and the world.


Juliette Blevins and Daniel Kauffman

Comments [12]

Brian Barker from London, England

With regard to the campaign to save endangered and dying languages, can I point to the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign.

The commitment was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September.

Your readers may be interested in Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva. Please also see

Aug. 19 2010 12:47 AM
h l


what's the point of this show when the guest never has an answer to any of the questions?

Aug. 18 2010 01:52 PM
Amy from Manhattan

a g, some Native American languages were very threatened & had very few speakers left but are now being revived & taught to children. I met a Mohican man at Drums Along the Hudson last year who told me about his nation's project to teach their language to more people.

I was going to mention Hebrew, but the guests beat me to it! Although I wouldn't say it was used only liturgically; it was also used for study of the Torah & Talmud--by men only in Eastern Europe, which is why Yiddish is called "mama-loshn"! In any case, it wasn't used for secular conversation the way it is now in Israel.

Aug. 17 2010 01:53 PM
Stephen from Brooklyn

Could the speakers address the many cognates between the Ainu and Basque languages?

Aug. 17 2010 01:48 PM
Gloria Jimenez Uribe from Brooklyn

Are you familiar with the Paisa culture of Colombia? These "people" inhabit a section of Antioquia, and several adjacent regions. They speak a distinct dialect. I have heard this is very similar to Ladino; the Castilian spoken by Spanish jews. Any truth to this?

Aug. 17 2010 01:44 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Catalán is well known & thriving in northeast Spain, but there used to be regional languages across that country, like Gallego, Leonés, & Asturiano, that have fewer speakers. Are these languages endangered these days?

Aug. 17 2010 01:36 PM
a g from n j

the country of "toronto" is that close to hoboken?

Aug. 17 2010 01:32 PM
francyne from Pelahm Bay Park

Last summer I photographed 5 Equadorians gazing at Pelham Bay near my house...4 men, one woman. She was wearing native dress. Only one of the people was bilingual spanish and an Indian language. The others only spoke their indigenous language.

Aug. 17 2010 01:30 PM
a g from n j

any idea what percentage of jewish new yorkers speak yiddish?

Aug. 17 2010 01:27 PM
Sandy Wynia Katz from Toronto, Canada

New York has pretty much everything - let's face it. So you've got to give us our due - according to the UN, Toronto is the most ethnically diverse country in the world.

But you do have everything else!

Aug. 17 2010 01:25 PM
a g from n j

can a language be "saved" ? if it passes on from daily usuage,is it then not just a relic,albeit important,of the past. are there any languages that have been dormant for a given time,however long,that made a comeback,and actually became part of common usuage again.

Aug. 17 2010 01:18 PM

Is sanskrit a dead language? What do you think of the efforts that are being made to make spoken sanskrit more commonplace?

The state of Uttarakhand in india has proclaimed Sanskrit as the second official language of the state.

Sanskrit as a business language

Sanskrit: reviving the language in today’s India

In Orissa, a village of Sanskrit pundits


Aug. 17 2010 11:56 AM

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