The Internet: A lifeboat for endangered languages?
Published 30 November 2011 – Updated 05 December 2011
Although the English language continues to dominate the Internet, the
rise of global economic powerhouses like China and Russia has seen a
surge in what used to be considered second-tier languages, a Brussels
conference heard last week. Meanwhile, the UN predicts that half of
the world’s 6,000 languages will become extinct by the end of the
Barney Old Coyote [Apsaalooke/Crow], was featured in this recent news article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He was a “wind talker” in WWII and is also a fluent sign talker. Old Coyote participated in our NSF funded project’s 2010 meeting and workshops on the Northern Cheyenne [Tse’tsehestahese] reservation in southeastern Montana. Thanks Barney and the Old Coyote family for years of leadership!
Also, here’s a short sample video clip of Barney Old Coyote signing the Apsaalooke/Crow way with James Wooden Legs. At the same time Old Coyote is speaking English for non-singing members of the audience. Lin Marksbury is doing the ASL interpretation of what Barney is signing/speaking. We are in the process of adding captions and video examples of signing that occurs without speech accompaniment.
Early in November the WFD met in Ål, Norway. Their topic this year was “Sign Languages as Endangered Languages”. The conference pulled from many different professions (academics, language policy experts, representatives from deaf associations, and deaf community members) and brought to light many issues that affect sign languages worldwide. The link below will take you to their page where they have posted both a written and a signed summary.