Spoken Karaim CD : a resource for an endangered
Statement from Stephen A. Wurm
- Professor of Linguistics at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra,
- Honorary President in Charge of Linguistics and Endangered Languages Study of the International Council of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (CIPSH), UNESCO, Paris
- President of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists (CIPL), The Netherlands
THREE MAIN REASONS FOR THE STUDY AND DOCUMENTATION OF ENDANGERED LANGUAGES
- Each language reflects a unique world-view and culture complex and is the means of expression of the intangible cultural heritage of a people. With the disappearance of such a language, an irreplaceable unit in our knowledge and understanding of human thought and world-view has been lost forever, resulting in a reduction of the sum total of the reservoir of human knowledge as expressible through language, and of the usually rich oral literature and mythology of which that language was the instrument of expression;
- UNO and UNESCO have declared the right to speakers' own language to be a basic human right. Every language is a symbol of the ethnic identity of its speakers, which they hold dear, and which gives them the feeling of possessing some thing additional to what the usually monolingual speakers of large dominant languages have. Documentation of a language tends to keep it alive, and even if it becomes moribund or dies, the descendants of its speakers tend to clamour for records of it so that they can revitalize or revive it, as this is happening more and more in several parts of the world today;
- Maintaining knowledge of non-dominant and minority languages preserves a cultural diversity which is just as important as maintaining the physical biodiversity in the world which is nowadays clamoured for by many people.
THE SPOKEN KARAIM CD
Documentation of the seriously endangered Karaim language is an important element in the mosaic of our full understanding of the entirety of the special nature and spirit of the Turkic languages. The present CD is destined to play a crucial role in the maintenance of Karaim and its passing on to the young generation as a companion sound resource for the Spoken Karaim book.
Canberra, March 8, 1998
©1998-2001 E Csato & D Nathan