K. David Harrison's When Languages Die

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Today, more than seven thousand languages are spoken all around the world. Linguists, people who study language, travel to the smallest corners of the earth to record and study these various languages. K. David Harrison, the author of When languages Die: The extinction of the world's languages and the erosion of human knowledge, discusses these languages and how they soon will die because the number of speakers grows fewer and fewer each day. Language is a part of people’s everyday lives and their culture. It helps people communicate, and allows traditions and cultural aspects of different people to be passed down to future generations. Language can be seen in the way we name things and people, the way we count and the way we pass down oral…show more content…
Language is not just known, but rather evolves over time and is unique to different groups in different areas of the world. We use language in the way we label geographical locations, time, animals, and when we describe history and stories. By studying languages, linguists learn not just the name for items, but also the culture of the people. By learning more about the people and the language, linguists are also beginning to understand how and why these groups think a certain way. Harrison says (2007), “Endangered languages enormously widen and deepen our view of what is possible within the human mind”(p.236). The role of language is important and necessary because by learning different languages we are learning different ways of life and can discovery new information about the human mind. With a language dying every two weeks, we are losing the ability to learn and discover something new about a groups culture and thought process. But, by studying this endangered languages we can learn more about the world around us and ourselves. Harrison (2007) says, “ ...small and endangered languages will be important to humanity and to science for the kinds of cultural knowledge they contain...” (p.236). Learning more about these endangered languages before they go extinct, we can possibly learn new and innovative information that we did not know existed, that could aid everyone. However, the more and more languages that go extinct, the less information we stand to collect and analysis. It is important that we study these languages because they play an important role in everyone’s lives as well as their cultures and

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