By Joshua A. Fishman

ISBN-10: 0585126178

ISBN-13: 9780585126173

ISBN-10: 1853591211

ISBN-13: 9781853591211

ISBN-10: 185359122X

ISBN-13: 9781853591228

This publication is set the speculation and perform of information to speech-communities whose local languages are threatened simply because their intergenerational continuity is continuing negatively, with fewer and less audio system (or readers, writers or even understanders) each new release. broadly speaking, this ebook is ready why so much efforts to opposite language shift are just indifferently winning at most sensible, and outright disasters or perhaps contra-indicated and damaging undertakings at worst. It makes an attempt to diagnose such problems and to prescribe ameliorative and restorative efforts in a sociolinguistically educated approach. It attracts upon the adventure of previous and present practitioners of language recovery, it stories pertinent sociolinguistic study and conception, it examines a reasonably large variety of circumstances of tried reversals of language shift on numerous continents, and it seeks to signify a extra rational, systematic method of what has frequently hitherto been a basically emotion-laden, "let's attempt every thing we almost certainly can and maybe anything will work", kind of commitment.

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Extra resources for Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages

Sample text

Why Should I Be so Concerned about Being or Remaining an Xman? Our argument began with whether RLS is possible. Once an opponent of RLS grants that some degree of reversal is always possible, he or she may then shift to the topic of whether it is really necessary to know Xish in order to be a good Xman. If, thanks to the success of an RLS movement's educational efforts, any hitherto anti-RLSers become unable to deny this claim (or to do so as adamantly as was previously the case), then they may still withdraw to the inevitable fall-back position which claims that it is not really all that necessary or desirable to be an Xman or 'just an Xman'.

Sometimes this involves political and economic revisions as well, but the latter need not imply power aspirations of a seditious, separatist or social strife nature. All sociocultural efforts (including all anti-RLS-efforts as well) involve leadership (and, therefore, political and power aspirations at the organizational level) and wherewithal (and, therefore, economic concerns at the organizational level, as well as individuals whose own economic success will be bolstered by 'the cause'). The levels of political and economic preoccupation, and the existence of leadership with self-focused goals in addition to the collectively shared ones, these do not define the differences between pro- or anti-RLS-programs and philosophies.

The critics of Xmen-via-Yish claims, however, are also quick to point out that identity continuity and ethnocultural continuity proper are often two quite different phenomena, with the latter being greater than and encompassing of the former. If it is ethnocultural continuity proper that is the desideratum, then linguistic discontinuity must be recognized as always (and at least initially) accompanied by and resulting in great cultural disruption and dislocation. While it is true that the substantial relinguification of a culture is theoretically possible (and that it has, indeed, occurred in some few cases), it is also true, however, that such relinguification-plus-continuity exacts a very substantial cost in time, effort and attrition before fully adequate new lexical associations, fully adequate new verbal-cultural replacements or substitutions, and fully adequate ethnolinguistic symbolic structures and identities are fashioned.

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Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages by Joshua A. Fishman


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