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Instructor Info:Mark Feinstein
Office Extension x5551
TA Info:Julianne Chaloux
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
Description: Half of the world's six thousand or so languages are likely to disappear forever in the next few decades. This would be a reduction of human diversity on a scale equaling the most dramatic biological extinctions. Can it be stopped? Should it? In this course, students learn enough linguistics to understand why many linguists regard the impending death of so many languages as a scientific catastrophe, and we explore a range of issues in linguistic, cultural, and biological evolution. A central feature of the course is the introductory study of Irish (Gaeilge), spoken by millions in Ireland just a few centuries ago. Now, with no more than fifty thousand native speakers, this Celtic language faces its possible demise. We also examine contemporary political, cultural, and educational efforts to maintain Irish and save it from extinction. Students are expected to complete several written assignments, and to present a final project on the structure and sociolinguistic status of an endangered language of their choosing.