Endangered Languages

Endangered Languages


In this lesson, you will learn about the science of linguistics and about how linguists work to preserve endangered languages. Use the resources on the Endangered Languages student esheet to answer the questions on this sheet.

Saving Aleut
What has happened to the language Aleut?


What is the linguist, Alice Taff, doing to preserve the language?


What about the science of linguistics? How would you explain it to someone?


Does Taff fit your image, or the typical image, of a scientist?


The Last Speakers
What was most striking to you about these film clips? Or, what were you surprised to learn?


Do you have ideas or even guesses about why a language stops being used?


What elements of culture are lost when a language dies out? Which elements of culture are independent of language?


On Endangered Languages
How do widely spoken languages affect lesser used or endangered languages? And how does a language become endangered?


Do you or classmates speak other languages?


How do you think culture is linked to language?


A Swarthmore professor, worried that so many languages are dying out, undertook a rescue mission to Siberia
Describe linguist Harrison’s research and how he carries it out.


What has caused the Os to stop speaking their native language?


Why do you think Harrison’s work is important?


Essay Questions
What does a linguist do and why is it important?


What can cause a language to die or become endangered? Give examples.


Why is preserving languages important?


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