K. David Harrison's When Languages Die

1758 Words8 Pages
Imagine a country with no record of its history. No pictures, video recordings, textbooks nor documentation of what has happened in the past. A country where there are no traditions being passed on from generation to generation. The only people who can remember their countries past are those still alive to tell the stories of the past. This is what is happening today with the extinction of languages, Author K. David Harrison wrote “When Languages Die”. In this book he goes into the damage that the death of a language has on society and the world. With the death of a language comes the death of history, folk tales, farming rituals, religious rituals, medicinal plants and knowledge of the land and its resources. Language is not only a form to communicate with others in the community but it allows people to share cultural rituals and join others in the sharing of information. Language plays an important part in how different cultures interact with each other. The use of language as a form of social communication is something that has been done for centuries, By learning a language one can become familiar with the culture behind that language. An example of how learning a language can allow a person to become familiar with the culture can be seen on page 97 of Harrisons book “ When languages die”. When a Monchak bachelor was asked if he would marry a Mongolian girl his response to this question was “no way” and his reasoning for never wanting to marry a Mongolian girl was

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