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By Joshua A. Fishman

This e-book is set the speculation and perform of information to speech-communities whose local languages are threatened simply because their intergenerational continuity is continuing negatively, with fewer and less audio system (or readers, writers or even understanders) each new release. primarily, this publication is ready why such a lot efforts to opposite language shift are just indifferently profitable at top, and outright mess ups or perhaps contra-indicated and destructive undertakings at worst. It makes an attempt to diagnose such problems and to prescribe ameliorative and restorative efforts in a sociolinguistically knowledgeable method. It attracts upon the event of earlier and present practitioners of language recovery, it experiences pertinent sociolinguistic study and thought, it examines a reasonably large variety of situations of tried reversals of language shift on numerous continents, and it seeks to signify a extra rational, systematic method of what has usually hitherto been a essentially emotion-laden, "let's attempt every little thing we potentially can and maybe whatever will work", form of commitment.

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Extra info for Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages

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I initially pointed to the differences that may exist between the leaders of ethnocultural reconstitutive movements and their rank-and-files in my Language and Nationalism (1972). g. in mastery of the traditionally associated language and in personal knowledge of and implementation of ethnocultural observances, have sometimes been seized upon by anti-RLSers, charging that the RLS leadership is (i) self-seeking (which means, not really committed to the language-in-ethnoculture 'cause', but, rather, exploiting it for its [the leadership's] own material and power goals) and (ii) non-representative of those whom they seek to mobilize and on behalf of whom they speak (which also translates into a charge of lack of commitment or dishonesty).

Clearly, none of the above designations need be true and whether or not they are true in any particular case must be determined, rather than assumed in advance. Almost all animal species naturally live primarily among their own. Among humans, this is appreciably a by-product of socialization and enculturation, that is, of being raised in a particular society and culture and taught to behave in accord with its norms (which includes: to 'value' and to 'believe' along culturally rewarded lines). It is only natural, therefore, to come to prefer one's kith and kin, to feel more comfortable in their company, to appeal to them for help and to help them, in turn, when they are in need, to be concerned for their welfare and for the continuity of the practices and values that are shared with them.

Rather, it is necessary to delineate the specific tune of the 'different drummer' that pro-RLSers wish to march to, in the hope that they can thereby more nearly approximate the concept of cultural fidelity that motivates them. Why Should I Be so Concerned about Being or Remaining an Xman? Our argument began with whether RLS is possible. Once an opponent of RLS grants that some degree of reversal is always possible, he or she may then shift to the topic of whether it is really necessary to know Xish in order to be a good Xman.

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