Jacob's Reviews > The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World's Most Endangered Languages

The Last Speakers by K. David Harrison
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's review

really liked it
bookshelves: languages

Really should be more like 3.5 stars.

The stories are interesting, and I like the message the author is trying to promote.
The writing is less than stellar. Somewhat condescending and self-aggrandizing at times.
Linguistically, there hints of information, and conflicting traces of various theories, but not much of either.

Still I like the message that we should value diversity and promote languages, including the small, nearly extinct, languages.

I like India's model of most people learning a local language, a national language and an international language.
I think it would be cool if people learned whatever language is traditionally spoken in the area they live, in addition to their national language and any international languages they desire. For example, since I'm currently in Chicago I'd learn Pottawatomie, Miami, or Illini. Or if I still lived in Wisconsin I'd learn Hocąk (Winnebago/Ho-Chunk) or Menominee, or which ever languages were spoken there. (Obviously this should be done under the guidance of the native speakers of the language, including not learning a language if the speakers prefer not to teach outsiders)
Eventually when I settle down somewhere where I plan to stay for more than a few months I intend to learn which ever language was traditionally spoken there. And teach my kids. But that's just me. I think it'd be cool, but to each their own.
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Reading Progress

October 25, 2012 – Shelved
Started Reading
February 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

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