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Race against time: Scholars and teachers follow complex paths to revitalize Indigenous languages in Treaty 7 region – U Calgary

by pmnationtalk on February 8, 2018113 Views

UCalgary researchers and Indigenous community members work toward a common goal

It’s no secret that languages all over the world are disappearing. According to UNESCO, at least 43 per cent of the estimated 6,000 languages spoken in the world are currently endangered. Other reports estimate that one language dies out every 14 days. But what does this mean for us in Alberta? Within the Treaty 7 region, Indigenous languages are facing the threat of extinction, but researchers and community leaders are working hard on preservation.

“For a linguist, the loss of a language is the same as the tragedy a biologist faces when there’s a loss of a species,” explains Betsy Ritter, former interim director of the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures (SLLLC). “Universities across Canada are beginning to acknowledge that we have an obligation to Indigenous communities to help get back what was taken away from them, and for a linguist, that’s first and foremost language.”

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