Fighting for Dying Languages: A look into what modern Native Americans are doing

Many Native American languages are slowly dying with the elders who speak them fluently. Kids don’t learn them in school and don’t speak them at home, and most aren’t interested in learning them. They don’t have a use anymore. Everything from movies to iPhones to sports to texting–it’s all in English.

Kenneth Hale, a language advocate who taught linguistics at MIT, said “When you lose a language, you lose a culture, intellectual wealth, a work of art. It’s like dropping a bomb on the Louvre.”

In this program, Scott Greenstone talks to everyone from translators to young, “urban” Native Americans about the fight to save these cultures, and how that is everything from building expansive dictionaries to translating Shakespeare to simply writing songs.

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