Professor Marianne Milligan
Linguistics and Anthropology 

Course snapshot: Language loss is accelerating at alarming rates. In fact, linguists predict that only 5 percent of the languages currently spoken in the world are expected to survive into the 22nd century. In this course, we examine the historical, political, and socio-economic factors behind the endangerment and/or marginalization of languages around the world. We also concentrate on the globalization of English (and other major languages), which plays a primary role in language endangerment and marginalization. 

Why should I take this course? Language endangerment turns up in the news a lot and can seem inevitable with globalization. But Indigenous and minoritized communities are resilient and have been revitalizing and reclaiming their languages, even languages that haven’t been spoken for decades or longer. 

Fun fact: There are around 6,000 languages spoken in the world today. That’s a lot of diversity! But human languages also show remarkable similarities too.

Research projects: Students choose one endangered or minority language to research throughout the semester. They get to research aspects of the language that interest them and fit their previous knowledge since some students are senior linguistic majors and for others this is their first linguistics course. For the final project, they can write a research paper or make a podcast either about the language they have been researching or a topic related to the course.

February 24 2021

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