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Language II

Insight into Language


Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III - Cameroonian historian

“A people that loses its language or languages is a people that loses its words, and when a people lose its words, it loses its soul and vision of the world. When this happens the community in question become lodged in dependence that lasts until it recovers its words and begins to articulate its past, present and future, nationally and internationally. "

Dr Caroline Running Wolf - Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia who is researching Indigenous languages and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Indigenous languages are valuable to the ecology of thought that’s encoded into those languages. There’s deep knowledge [in the language] that other cultures would benefit from, including mainstream Western culture, and that knowledge would be lost if we don’t keep those languages vibrant.

There’s a saying that every time one of our elders passes away, a library burns down. Nobody wants to be that spark that sets the library on fire, so you’re in that difficult situation where the clock was ticking before, but now it’s ticking even faster."

Perry Bellegarde - National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

“To prevent the extinction of indigenous languages, speaking them must be normalized and promoted. Languages express the wisdom, world view and laws of ancestors, and teach how people can live in balance with Earth, which will be vital in facing future ecological challenges."

Neal McLeod - A Cree and an associate professor in the indigenous studies department at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario

“If you have a small core of people that are dedicated to reviving the core of the stories of a people, you don’t need tens of thousands of people. You need at best maybe three hundred people, if they’re highly motivated."

Dr Irmgarda Kasinskaite - Works on linguistic diversity with the U.N. cultural agency.

“By the end of this century, we will have a significant number of languages disappearing. We don’t realize something’s gone until we lose it."

Verónica Grondona - Founding researcher at the Endangered Languages Project.

“If you go out into the forest, you just see a lot of trees. But an Indigenous person may not see ‘trees’ at all. They don’t have just one term for ‘trees,’ but many, and it depends on what type of trees they are."

Prof Vyvyan Evans - Cognitive linguistics and communication expert

“Far from being a passing fad, Emoji reflects, and thereby reveals, fundamental elements of communication; and in turn, this all shines a light on what it means to be human."

Ojibwe elder - Artist and scholar Duke Redbird

“We're headed toward a world where people are being partially programmed by algorithms. In the past, Indigenous people were programmed by our symbolic symbiotic relationship with the Earth. Today, a lot of what the average person will do will be designed and motivated by algorithms, rather than by nature."

Also see: The future of Language, Culture & Heritage Talk-@tive


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