Preserving Language Diversity: Lessons from Amazonia. Simon D. Levy Computer Science Department Washington & Lee University Lexington, VA 24450 http://www.cs.wlu.edu/~levy. First W&L/Petrobras Conference on the Environment, Economy, and Sustainable Development 22 June 2007. Outline.
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
Preserving Language Diversity: Lessons from Amazonia
Simon D. Levy
Computer Science Department
Washington & Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450
First W&L/Petrobras Conference on the Environment, Economy, and Sustainable Development
22 June 2007
– Terry Gosliner, National Geographic
II. Language Diversity: Sound and Sense
not derivable (?) from more general principles
(1) Animate objects, men
(2) Women, water, fire, violence
(3) Edible fruit and vegetables
He ran away.
She hit him.
He felt sick.
(c.f. Spanish Me gusta,
I enjoyed the Piatam conference.
I told Jim that I enjoyed the Piatam conference.
Laurence knew that I told Jim that I enjoyed the Piatam conference.
III. The Case of Pirahã
300 languages: 20 families, 12 isolates
interest in outsider
language or culture
But rich “suprasegmental” inventory (sung speech: )
I enjoyed the Piatam conference. I told Jim. Laurence knew it.
Each language in this sense, while sharing cognitive and communicative principles in common with all other languages spoken by Homo sapiens, is unique. This is why it is such a tragedy when a language dies — we don't just lose a grammar. We lose an entire way of thinking and talking about the world; we lose a set of solutions to the problems that beset us all as humans.
- D. L. Everett