Spoken Here: Travel among Threatened Languages

This powerful plea for the preservation of linguistic diversity as a bulwark against civilisation is packed with entertaining oddities. Abley documents the crisis and resurgence of languages such as Welsh, Manx and Provençal and encounters languages like Mi’kmaq, spoken on the Pacific coast of America, whose complex verb-phrases and absence of nouns suggest a world view in which reality is in a state of constant flux. He also tells the sad tale of the Amazonian language whose last known speaker was a parrot.

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