Endangered Languages Group Essay
Jen Johnston, Monika Kerr, Caroline Heyworth

Over the course of the years, many languages become endangered or extinct because they are no longer getting used and people are slowly forgetting about them. But in order to stop this trend we need to first figure out what is endangered language, why it is happening and what people have been doing to keep languages alive. Then, we will have a better understanding of “Endangered Languages” and hopefully we will do something to change it or to stop languages from becoming endangered or extinct.

Currently there about 6,500 languages spoken through out the world.But did you know that at least 3000 of these languages may dissapear within 92 years from now.Therefore all 3000 of these languages fall under the category of Endangered Languages.Endangered languages, are languages at risk or at the brink of extinction, primary cause of extinciton being,over time the population of surviving speakers becomes smaller and smaller until consequently it is impossible to succesfully pass the language on to the next generation.Eventually that language along with its culture dies.

According to Wikipedia.com the 3 crucal guidelines used to correctly distinguish an endangered language include the following;
"The number of speakers currently living. "
"The mean age of native and/or fluent speakers."
"The percentage of the youngest generation acquiring fluency with the language in question. "

Most people, depending on the language they speak are aware that their language is endangered and they want to do something about it! But sometimes they aren’t sure what exactly to do. The book “How To Keep Your Language Alive” has an answer to that question. The Authors, “Leanne Hinton, Matt Vera, and Nancy Steele (How To Keep Your Language Alive) offer a systematic way for language communities to cultivate and maintain their own heritage tongues. For example, in California, where there are fifty endangered indigenous languages—most spoken by fewer than a dozen elder speakers—the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program pairs an elder speaker with a member of the community who wants to learn the language. Ideally, language learning is perpetuated when one apprentice who has been through the program teaches another. “ This approach to keeping language alive is successful because the people who learn the new language, pass it on to others and the cycle continues. Other people do individual things to keep language alive. Anna Sixkiller Huckaby, for example "for the past decade or so she has taught Cherokee to adults and children."

The Reason why endangered languages die out according to Don Jordan, http:elibrary.bigchalk.com is
“Kid’s attended school in Okeechobee instead of on the reservation. Humble chickee camps gave way to ornate Casinos as a symbol for the tribe. English was the Norm and Creek was neglected to conversations between older Indians.” Another reason for the rapid decline of a language can be explained by
“They’re the ones, some contend, who strayed from their culture by strictly encouraging their children to learn and speak English in order to succeed
‘Many people in that age group wanted their children to get ahead,’ McCarty said ‘They thought they were setting up their children for failure if they used the native language.’” (Don Jordan, Hope Alive For Dying Language, elibrary.com).

1.Shetter, William Z. The Dodo's Fate How Languages Become Extinct. 1998. 10 Mar. 2008
2."Manifesto." Foundation for Endangered Languages. 10 Mar. 2008
3."Endangered Languages." SIL International. 10 Mar. 2008
4."Endangered Language." Wikipedia. 10 Mar. 2008

Spack, Ruth. "How to Keep Your Language Alive." 2004. 6 Mar. 2008 <http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/studies_in_american_indian_literatures/v016/16.1spack.html>.
2. Rumford, James. "Woman Strives to Keep Cherokee Language Alive." Island Life. 7 Nov. 2007. 6 Mar. 2008 <http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Nov/07/il/il05a.html>.