Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NAT: More Disappearing Languages

12 native Peruvian languages in danger of disappearing

24 September, 2006 [ 13:33 ]

(LIP-wb) -- During the last decades 30 of the 100 existing native languages in Peru are extinct and today 12 more are in danger of disappearing, warned James Roberts, director of Peru's Summer Institute of Linguistics.

The decrease in native Peruvian languages is mainly due to the influence society has on the various ethnic groups living in rural areas and the fact that the population within each group is getting smaller, Roberts said.

In ethnic groups with a population less than one thousand people, only the parents speak the native language because the children learn Spanish.

If authorities and parents continue to send their children down this educational path, it is likely that their linguistic identity will be lost after one or two generations, he warned.

In addition to Quechua and Aymara, the common indigenous languages spoken mainly in the Peruvian Andes (departments of Cusco, Ancash, and Ayacucho), there are several other languages spoken in Peru's Amazon rain forest.

Some non-quechua languages that could soon be extinct are Sharanahua, Yaninahua, Kashinahua, and Kapanahua in the department of Ucayali, as well as Sequoia and Arabela spoken in Loreto.

45 percent of Peru's population is indigenous and 25 percent speaks a maternal language other than Spanish.

Currently the Summer Institute of Linguistics is advising Peru's "National Program of Alphabetization", and initiative recently launched by the Ministry for Education.


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