This is why I like writing for this blog — three totally different posts, months apart, that finally have sort of a home. The subject is efforts by people across the world to preserve their native languages.
In Hawaii, the native Hawaiian language makes a strong comeback through an island school that is using language immersion to preserve island culture. There is certainly a successful precedent in the revival of Hebrew as a living language.
In Ireland, a rather humorous article (because I’m not there as one of the befuddled tourists) about people who are getting hopelessly lost finding the Dingle (An Daingean) peninsula because many of the road signs are now all in Gaelic, in an effort to bring the language into more common usage.
Great idea, guys, but when tourism is a major source of your income, you may want to make signs in Gaelic and English….
And in Texas, there is a push through the University of Texas to preserve the unique dialect of Texas German (for more detailed information see the Texas German Dialect Project.)
I’ll bet you didn’t know that there are still strong communities of Germans, Czechs and Wendish peoples in Central Texas, descended from early 1800s immigrants to the state and still speaking an ancient dialect of their home country, rather like Cajun French is a unique dialect of French. For more info, you can’t beat a visit to the UT San Antonio Institute of Texan Cultures.
Isn’t the world a fascinating place? I think I was a linguist in another life….
Technorati tags: travel, dialects, linguistics, language