On the Death and Life of Languages

On the Death and Life of Languages

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Description

Twenty-five languages die each year; at this pace, half the world's five thousand languages will disappear within the next century. In this timely book, Claude Hagege seeks to make clear the magnitude of the cultural loss represented by the crisis of language death. By focusing on the relationship of language to culture and the world of ideas, Hagege shows how languages are themselves crucial repositories of culture; the traditions, proverbs, and knowledge of our ancestors reside in the language we use. His wide-ranging examination covers all continents and language families to uncover not only how languages die, but also how they can be revitalized - for example in the remarkable case of Hebrew. In a striking metaphor, Hagege likens languages to bonfires of social behaviour that leave behind sparks even after they die; from these sparks languages can be rekindled and made to live again.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 147.32 x 210.82 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • Yale University Press
  • New Haven, United States
  • English, French
  • 0300137338
  • 9780300137330
  • 1,760,663

Review quote

"An impressive book on an issue of great importance by a most accomplished linguist. Hagege warns that, though there are currently 5,000 languages, by 2100 there will only be 2,500, blaming our indifference as the cause of this catastrophe. He believes that we can and should do something to counter this threat. That is, we should not allow languages to die." Ghilad Zuckermann, The University of Queensland, Australia--Ghilad Zuckermann"

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About Claude Hagège

Claude Hagege is the Chair of Linguistic Theory at the College de France in Paris. He is the author of more than fifteen books and the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Gold Medal from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

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