Tag Archives: Daniel Kaufman

Language Life and Death in New York City

Linguist Mark Turin rides the New York subway’s 7 Train to explore a few of the city’s 800 languages. Some of these languages thrive, at least briefly. Some survive, in spite of the odds. Some live on through the words they loan to English and other immigrant tongues. But nearly all of them eventually die.

This is the final part of a BBC series called Our Language in Your Hands. In the first part, Turin returns to a village in Nepal where two decades ago he learned and documented the Thangmi language. In the second part, he’s in South Africa to assess how its languages are faring nearly 20 years after the end of Apartheid.

Here’s a related BBC post on part three. And here’s a 2012 story that we did on a Garifuna language music project that was sponsored by the New York-based Endangered Language Alliance.

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