When Does a Language Die?: Linguistic and Sociolinguistic Views on Ikema
Mon March 9th 2009, 12:00pm
Sponsored by the Stanford Society of Fellows in Japanese Studies and the Center for East Asian Studies
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor.
Open to the public.
Speaker: Shoichi Iwasaki, Professor, Asian Languages & Cultures and Department of Applied Linguistics, UCLA Ikema is a dialect within the Miyako branch of the Ryukyuan language in Japan with a total of 2,000 to 3,000 speakers. Ikema is a typical endangered language: no longer acquired by children and only spoken by a small number of older speakers. Islanders express concerns that their mother tongue is disappearing, but most of them feel that the move toward monolingualism in Standard Japanese is inevitable and even desirable. Iwasaki will use Ikema to consider the following questions: What does 'language death' mean for its speakers, speakers of a dominant language, linguists and sociolinguists? What are some attempts being made and can be made to "preserve" the language? What is a relationship between culture and language when the latter is disappearing?
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