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# human culture and language extinction

Dear colleagues, I need a clarification as about the component of disruption of social, cultural, linguistic and so on, heritage in the times of superfast change in modern world. Saving the Earth should include caring about such components. It may be a different part of science and marginal for Azimuth community, but is there a basic classification of such phenomena in your sphere ? With loss of traditional communities, migrational changes and so on, also the understanding of population to the needs and functioning of the environment is disrupted. Poeple forget of the complex interactions between species, between people and nature, forget medical and sustainability aspects of natural environment and advies of the older generation. I do not see even a category among the categories for "latest changes" which could include the growth of population, migrational catastrophes and culturocide lead by corporate ruled world, and hi strains coming with density of population and resource needs of modern life. If we are to learn how to live sustainable it would be good to open a possibility for pointers toward these aspects in Azimuth.

In one aspect of these, I spend quite some time studying part-time historical linguistics in 1990-s and always had inclination toward interest in old cultures and almost extinct languages. This is an aspect of the problem which would be good to present in packet with other tendencies in the dynamics of human-populated planet.

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1.

There is a category for social sciences which has two pages, Population and Psychology of sustainability. Also ecosystem services mentions cultural aspects. Perhaps you could add some more? Maybe starting with a 'basic classification of such phenomena'.

Comment Source:There is a category for [social sciences](http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/list/social+sciences) which has two pages, [[Population]] and [[Psychology of sustainability]]. Also [[ecosystem services]] mentions cultural aspects. Perhaps you could add some more? Maybe starting with a 'basic classification of such phenomena'.
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2.

I think that is a good idea too !

Comment Source:I think that is a good idea too !
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3.

Language loss is hardly a new problem. The British people are genetically almost identical to the people who where there when the Romans arrived. Just a sprinkling of genes from Scandinavia and from the "Angles and Saxons". Yet all the British languages were wiped out and replaced by language from raiders and settlers from over the English Channel ("Good butter" and "good cheese" is good English and good Friese). Or consider the myth that the Marseillaise was sung by fighters from the South as they marched up to help with the French Revolution. This is unlikely because the people from Marseilles didn't speak French at the time.

To get back to historical levels of cultural and language diversity we either need a complete collapse of modern civilization, or else we need to conquer the stars so that the speed of light imposes the necessary separation. Neither of these seems entirely unlikely. I certainly prefer the latter.

Comment Source:Language loss is hardly a new problem. The British people are genetically almost identical to the people who where there when the Romans arrived. Just a sprinkling of genes from Scandinavia and from the "Angles and Saxons". Yet all the British languages were wiped out and replaced by language from raiders and settlers from over the English Channel ("Good butter" and "good cheese" is good English and good Friese). Or consider the myth that the Marseillaise was sung by fighters from the South as they marched up to help with the French Revolution. This is unlikely because the people from Marseilles didn't speak French at the time. To get back to historical levels of cultural and language diversity we either need a complete collapse of modern civilization, or else we need to conquer the stars so that the speed of light imposes the necessary separation. Neither of these seems entirely unlikely. I certainly prefer the latter.
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4.

Robert, the situation is not that simple, nor is the language exinction precendentet in its speed. You take for example New Guinea and surrounding, this is an area where the linguistics placed about 700 languages at the time about 20 years ago when I studied such classifications. It is not the mere physical impossibility to retain, or at least scholarly record those cultures (for what the speed of extinction should be slowed at least to the speed of reasonable research), there is lots of things happening exclusively because of prejudices, bad organization and political reasons. Namely, most of the jungle disappears very fast for a single reason which is of great concern to the Azimuth -- the replacement of jungle with oil palm monoculture and change in life of societies with getting abrubptly part of a big forest factory. The second reason is the creation of a NEW pigeon language in 19th century which mixes local languages with English and sept out even the tribal languages deeply inside the rain forest. The local people, because of technological domination of the external civilization have a problem with young generation where children above age 7 switch from local language which they perfectly speak at younger age to the piegon which is more popular (pure prejudice of culture and technology!) among their peers than the language of their parents. By age of 18 they barely understand a fraction of language of their parents. I read a number of studies confirming this same pattern.

If there is a value system people can reverse such processes.

Another danger is that the codification of local languages and culture is done most often in very rude manner. There is a christian organization called American institute of linguistics, who translate bible to the languages of tribes which are illiterate. They send a missionary to poor people without a writing system and offers them as the only literature in their language bible which does not fit their cultural, semantic, tradiitonal and other values and conceptions. This leads justo to accelerated destruction of their believes, way of life, language peculiarities (the translations are non-native very crude and use words in connotations and ocmbinations which are atypical of the language, as a consquence the language of the users of such bible will tdsratically use its original peculiarities within only one generation).

Look at past processes like the destruction of Inka and Maya cultures and civilizations by Spanish. You can not say that the only possibility is to go outside of the Earth. If Cortez and alike were less savages the history of the civilizational communication may have been very different. The nature of things does not force us to destroy the cultures of New Guinea, if our civilization is of any value then Europeans could find their sustainability within Europe and have the communication with other civilizations only at the level of equality and mutual good and not using resources of rain forest to delay their own transformation into a sustainable society.

Comment Source:Robert, the situation is not that simple, nor is the language exinction precendentet in its speed. You take for example New Guinea and surrounding, this is an area where the linguistics placed about 700 languages at the time about 20 years ago when I studied such classifications. It is not the mere physical impossibility to retain, or at least scholarly record those cultures (for what the speed of extinction should be slowed at least to the speed of reasonable research), there is lots of things happening exclusively because of prejudices, bad organization and political reasons. Namely, most of the jungle disappears very fast for a single reason which is of great concern to the Azimuth -- the replacement of jungle with oil palm monoculture and change in life of societies with getting abrubptly part of a big forest factory. The second reason is the creation of a NEW pigeon language in 19th century which mixes local languages with English and sept out even the tribal languages deeply inside the rain forest. The local people, because of technological domination of the external civilization have a problem with young generation where children above age 7 switch from local language which they perfectly speak at younger age to the piegon which is more popular (pure prejudice of culture and technology!) among their peers than the language of their parents. By age of 18 they barely understand a fraction of language of their parents. I read a number of studies confirming this same pattern. If there is a value system people can reverse such processes. Another danger is that the codification of local languages and culture is done most often in very rude manner. There is a christian organization called American institute of linguistics, who translate bible to the languages of tribes which are illiterate. They send a missionary to poor people without a writing system and offers them as the only literature in their language bible which does not fit their cultural, semantic, tradiitonal and other values and conceptions. This leads justo to accelerated destruction of their believes, way of life, language peculiarities (the translations are non-native very crude and use words in connotations and ocmbinations which are atypical of the language, as a consquence the language of the users of such bible will tdsratically use its original peculiarities within only one generation). Look at past processes like the destruction of Inka and Maya cultures and civilizations by Spanish. You can not say that the only possibility is to go outside of the Earth. If Cortez and alike were less savages the history of the civilizational communication may have been very different. The nature of things does not force us to destroy the cultures of New Guinea, if our civilization is of any value then Europeans could find their sustainability within Europe and have the communication with other civilizations only at the level of equality and mutual good and not using resources of rain forest to delay their own transformation into a sustainable society.
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5.
edited June 2011

This is unlikely because the people from Marseilles didn't speak French at the time.

They did as a second language. The people in New Guinean isolated tribes iun the rain forest studied in 20th century, typically spoke to some extent 4-6 languages of the neighboring tribes. Still the sociteies choose one of the non-traditional languages, a pigeon, as the choice of future, despite the capacity they have for communicating to neighbors and still known their own language.

P.S. I am surprised that we do not have an entry Globalization. I should change that soon.

Comment Source:> This is unlikely because the people from Marseilles didn't speak French at the time. They did as a second language. The people in New Guinean isolated tribes iun the rain forest studied in 20th century, typically spoke to some extent 4-6 languages of the neighboring tribes. Still the sociteies choose one of the non-traditional languages, a pigeon, as the choice of future, despite the capacity they have for communicating to neighbors and still known their own language. P.S. I am surprised that we do not have an entry [[Globalization]]. I should change that soon.