a living language is more than words and rules, more than its lexicon and grammar. it’s the expression of a people’s unique reality–its poems, its childhood rhymes, myths, fables, and stories–how they see themselves in relation to the rest of nature.
once a language is dead, it cannot be revived. the people are gone. gone too are their living poems, childhood rhymes, myths, fables, and stories, leaving only fossils for linguists to decipher. true, languages change or die, but relatively gradually. this recent onslaught, however, is way too fast. biological extinction is estimated at 20%, but half of the world’s languages, half of our cultures, our unique gifts to the universe, our realities, will be gone before this century is out.
i speak and think and dream in english. i only know one reality–my true disability. time to gain another reality. how about anishinaabemowin? but first, the basics…
aaniin. nimino-ayaa. gaawiin gotino. giga-waabamin minawaa.