Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages

Front Cover
Random House, 2004 - Language maintenance - 322 pages
Half the world's languages are threatened with extinction over the next century, as English and the rest of the world's top twenty languages dirve all before them. What ways of looking at the world will die along with them, what cultural riches, what experiences, histories and memories? And how does it feel to be one of the last remaining speakers of a languages that is on its way to extinction? What chance is there of saving any of these languages? And is it feasible in the long term or even worthwhile. Mark Abley's journeys among the speakers of languages at the brink takes him to aboriginal Australia (where he meets the last surviving fluent male speaker of, who cannot speak to the only other fluent speaker, as she is his sister and in their culture it is forbidden to speak to siblings once one has reached puberty), to American Indian reservations, to elderly Canadian speakers of Yiddish, as well as to places where the languages are fighting back, Wales, the Faeroe islands, the Isle of Man, as well as charting the triumphant return of Hebrew, once reduced to a language of religious ceremony.

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User Review  - ljhliesl - LibraryThing

Even better than his Prodigal Tongue, Mark Abley's explorations of diminishing (and the very occasional not-yet-diminishing) languages fascinated me from beginning (aboriginal Australian) to end ... Read full review

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User Review  - amaraduende - LibraryThing

Despite the author having said something incredibly dumb like "I'm not a linguist but I can still write about languages... you know, like you don't have to study ANATOMY to talk about the body" I'm ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Mark Abley, a winner of Canada's National Newspaper Award, is the author of nine critically-acclaimed books, ranging from children's fiction to poetry, via journalistic non-fiction. He has written for the TLS, the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette, amongst other publications. Winning a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005 inspired his 2008 book The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English. He lives in Montréal and speaks English, French, and a little Welsh.

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