April 17, 2012

I Don’t Want to Hear About It. It Makes Me Feel Guilty

Arda Jebejian

“We must know the white man language to survive in this world. But we must know our language to survive forever.” (Darryl Babe Wilson, a Native American)The recent well-justified alarm that Western Armenian is among the world’s thousands of endangered languages (that is, predicted to die in the next 100 years), important though it is, prognostications foretelling disaster are not enough. What this language, culture and people need is the development of therapeutic undertakings and approaches. The case of endangered languages is just a short-cut way of referring to endangered cultures and cultural identities, especially in an era where globalization, definitely not a culturally neutral or impartial phenomenon, has rendered reversing language shift an unequal struggle for linguists.