The next century will see more than half of the worlds 6,000 languages become extinct, and most of these will disappear without being adequately recorded. Written by one of the leading figures in language documentation, this fascinating book explores what humanity stands to lose as a result.Explores the unique philosophy, knowledge, and cultural assumptions of languages, and their impact on our collective intellectual heritageQuestions why such linguistic diversity exists in the first place, and how can we can best respond to the challenge of recording and documenting these fragile oral traditions while they are still with usWritten by one of the leading figures in language documentation, and draws on a wealth of vivid examples from his own field experienceBrings conceptual issues vividly to life by weaving in portraits of individual last speakers and anecdotes about linguists and their discoveries

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