Friday, July 21, 2006

For November: Spoken Here


For November, we have selected Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages by Mark Abley. Apologies in advance for all the language geekiness that will no doubt follow in the wake of this decision.
Within the next couple of generations, most of the world’s 6000 languages will vanish, due mainly to the unstoppable tide of English. With an open mind and a well-worn passport, award-winning journalist and poet Mark Abley tells entertaining and vital stories about why languages matter. From Oklahoma to Provence, aboriginal Australia to Baffin Island, the cultures are radically different, but the problems of shrinking linguistic and cultural richness are painfully similar. Abley’s investigation provides a stunning glimpse of the beauty and intricacies of languages like Yiddish and Yuchi, Mohawk and Manx, Inuktitut and Proven├žal. More importantly, it offers a sympathetic and memorable portrait of the people who still speak languages under threat.
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