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Mamuju: An Endangered Language - Research Paper Example

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Mamuju: An Endangered Language Endangered languages belong to a class of people mostly identified as indigenous. These peoples often employ a peculiar language unshared by another tribe or community, are what is defined as socially disadvantaged, nomadic or isolated from the rest of humanity, practice animism or ancestral worship, rely on nature for sustenance by participating in primitive culture such as hunting, fishing and agriculture, have limited knowledge of modern technology, retain very small numbers, and are considered vulnerable (EIA Drilling)…
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Mamuju: An Endangered Language
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Download file to see previous pages About 400 of the 800 languages spoken in New York City are deemed endangered (Global Language Association). In view of the alarming, dying trend of old languages, organizational bodies such as the Endangered Language Alliance of New York, the United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) , the Global Language Association, the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages are coming together to save a few near extinct languages by public sensitization, documentation, grammar construction and education. Although this world is very multilingual, a phenomenon called steamroller languages (such as English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, French, Russian and German) dominate, absorbing minority cultures to forget traditional languages and pushing them into ‘modern civilization.’ More than 50% of the world speaks these preponderant languages. The New York Times interviewed Husni Husain, aged 69, as the lone speaker of Mamuju in New York. The rest of his family are from Java, Indonesia and does not speak the language. Husni Husain has migrated from Mamuju to Queens for the past number of years. He mentions his, “wife is from Java, and children were born in Jakarta — they don’t associate with the Mamuju…he (doesn’t) read books in Mamuju. They don’t publish any. (He) only speak Mamuju when (he goes) back or when he talks to (his) brother on the telephone.” Husni feels that speaking Mamuju is a unique gift. He sees that it makes him an ambassador for his culture since he has been proven the only speaker of Mamuju in the US. He never transmitted the language to his daughter because he never thought that it would lapse into near obscurity. However, Professor Daniel Kaufman of CUNY is working feverishly along with Husain through the Mamuju Project, to document the language, compile a book and preserve it before it is too late. Dr. Kaufman collaborates with many immigrants in the New York City area to gather data on expiring language and makes efforts to save them from disuse and demise (Roberts). Further conversations with Husni can be seen following these links: Conversations: http://www.newslook.com/videos/211119-dying-languages-living-in-new-york http://endangeredlanguagealliance.org/main/language-projects/mamuju Indeed, Husain stands as the only speaker in New York and possibly, the USA of Mamuju.. Mamuju is a language spoken by inhabitants of West Sulawesi in Indonesia, primarily those in the Mamuju district. This district is a very diverse melting pot, seeing that other peoples also cohabit with Mamuju such as Mandar, Bugis, Makassar, Toraja, Manado, Bali, Karampuang and Java. Currently Mamuju accounts for about 60,000 speakers in that specific region. The Mamuju district, since 1999, has combined with the Polewali, Mamasa and Majene districts to form one province. The speakers of Mamuju are heavily concentrated in that area and are dependent fishing and agriculture for their livelihood. The Mamuju distr ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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