Imperialism’s Effects on Language Loss and Endangerment: Two North American Cases of Resilience, the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy and Wôpanâak Language Communities
Eames, Abigayle J.
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CitationEames, Abigayle J. 2019. Imperialism’s Effects on Language Loss and Endangerment: Two North American Cases of Resilience, the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy and Wôpanâak Language Communities. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis project aimed to look at the causes of linguistic diversity loss, the factors for language resiliency, and potential setbacks in the field behind saving languages. Of the world’s estimated 7,500 languages, over half will be extinct by the year 2050. There are obvious yet mostly unquantifiable negative impacts of languages dying, specifically the loss of specific human knowledge intrinsic to every language. Linguists are working frantically to preserve as much of this linguistic knowledge as possible, but there are differences within the field that could also be poorly affecting these efforts. By looking at cases of success, the potential for success for other endangered languages can be improved and increased. The study then turns to look specifically at two endangered language cases in the northeast region of the United States. The Wabanaki and Wampanoag linguistic communities both experienced similar, yet distinct, effects from colonial, national and, more recently, global forms of imperialism. Their languages have passed through different levels of linguistic vitality through these imperialist periods, and have encountered language maintenance, documentation and language death quite distinctly. Yet the methods by which Wabanaki and Wampanoag languages have survived are in alignment with the same methods seen in other language endangerment success cases. As well, the specific language information across linguistic databases, though differing, all points to similar outcomes for each language reviewed, suggesting that differences in methodology perhaps do not have an effect on conservation improvements for linguistic diversity loss.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004079