I have a story about…”Dying Languages”

This past imagine day, the Terry project asked passing students to share their stories. This one resonated with me in particular. According to the Linguistic Society of American, an endangered language is one that is likely to become extinct in the near future. There are over 3000 languages spoken today that are considered endangered.

Why should we care about the extinction of languages? Simply, languages are a representation of culture. When the last speaker of a language dies, it is representative of the loss of a unique, diverse collective of beliefs and knowledge. In the worlds of anthropologist Wade Davis

a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It’s a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.

Do you have a story to share? Apply to be a 2012 TEDx Terry Talk speaker. Applications are due September 26, 2012.

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Rachel is the student coordinator for the Terry Project and is a 4th year in Global Resource Systems. She can be reached at rachel.gutman@ubc.ca

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