At the moment, approximately 3,500 languages are on the verge of extinction. “National Geographic” warned that most of these languages are from Central and South America.
One of the main reasons that a language becomes extinct is that they lack written documentation, as they are only spoken languages, and they die off as the last speakers die off.
But not all of the news is bad; there are also many speakers of the language who fight to ensure that they do not disappear.
An 87 year old woman is the only person on the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation (in northern Kansas) who has carried on with efforts to ensure the preservation of her language. She is the only survivor on the reservation who speaks the language fluidly and, in spite of her age, is doing everything she can to keep it alive:
- She has a leading role in the creation of documents and materials to leave a legacy in the Culture Department of the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation;
- She participated in the drafting of a Prairie Band Potawatomi dictionary;
- She is working on two videos and a book titled “History of the Potawatomi”, written entirely in the native language;
- And to top it off, there is a book on grammar published as a result of her love and dedication for her mother tongue.
This is only one of several examples around the world of people who fight not just to preserve the language, but also the beliefs, principles, values and, ultimately, culture that are associated with it.
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