You are not logged in.
Full Article: http://www.npr.org/2012/03/04/147728920 … -languages
The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.
Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.
"I put, I think, 25,000 miles on my poor, long-lost Subaru that has since been consigned to the afterlife for cars," she tells Jackie Lyden, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered.
The first part of the book deals with Native American languages such as Navajo. Little writes the language is disappearing fast. Among kindergartners in one reservation school district, fluency dropped from 89 percent at the beginning of the 1980s to just a few percent by the end of the decade. Little says one reason for its decline is that the Navajo community is less geographically and technologically isolated.