Capturing Endangered Tongues of Yunnan

After decades of Chinese central government policies that baldly aimed at replacing non-Han languages with Mandarin, or at best simply tolerated their existence, real money is apparently now being spent to document and preserve them in ways that meet international standards. According to an article published at Chinawriter.com.cn (临危语言), several linguists from the Yunnan Endangered Languages … Continue reading Capturing Endangered Tongues of Yunnan

By the Numbers: Endangered Tongues in the People’s Republic

In <四成少数民族语言临危,> Wang Bo at Chinanews.com reports that up to four of ten languages native to minorities in China are threatened with extinction. Here are a few numbers that appear in the report: Non-han languages: 55 officially designated “peoples” (民族) speak an estimated 130 languages Scripts in use: 40, including Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur, Kazakh, Kirghiz, … Continue reading By the Numbers: Endangered Tongues in the People’s Republic

Tungusic Twilight: Languages of Reindeer-herding Evenki and China’s Last Dynasty Threatened with Extinction

The mid-term outlook for the five main Tungusic tongues of the People’s Republic — Manchu, Xibe, Evenki, Elunchun and Hezhen — is frankly bleak, at least insofar as classifying as “living languages.” Such is the impression one gets from China’s linguistic experts who spoke at the “Academic Conference: Tungusic Language & Culture Under Threat,” held … Continue reading Tungusic Twilight: Languages of Reindeer-herding Evenki and China’s Last Dynasty Threatened with Extinction