Editorial: Center at ASU will help preserve indigenous languages
"According to a 2005 publication of the SIL Ethnologue, a worldwide manifest of language, 170 endangered languages in the Americas are forced to not just imagine this, but accept it as reality.

This is why it’s so important that ASU’s Center for Indian Education is working to preserve endangered Native American languages. According to the co-director of the Center for Indian Education at ASU, only about 20 of the 170 Native American languages in the U.S. are still being passed on to the next generation.

Sure, there’s no biological necessity to learn an extinct language, especially since most of the people who still use endangered languages are over 65 and beyond the childbearing ages. But understanding the tongue of your ancestors is certainly the first step to understanding how you got to where you are.

Have you ever proudly picked up an Italian flag just because you were told you had a great-grandfather from Napoli?

Now imagine having no ability to connect to your roots. The language is dead, and there may be a written language, but there is no way to know how words are pronounced or how stories are told. It’s frightening. It puts the roots of an entire culture in danger. That is to say that if language truly can provide a different outlook, like the different lenses on a camera, then losing touch with a language is like losing touch with the possibility to experience.

But there’s hope. With the help of programs like those facilitated by the Center for Indian Education at ASU and even the National Public Radio, endangered languages can be preserved and maybe even revived."

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