Charles Pillsbury III

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Death of a Language

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I found this to be a tragic but fascinating piece. Marie Smith Jones was the last speaker of, and last full-blooded, Eyak (an Alaskan language). She helped a university compile a dictionary of the language, and I hope they recorded her actual voice speaking it. We’re in a unique position at this point in time, where we can actually preserve the sounds of languages as well as the written form. It’s tough to say what the value of this information would be, but it seems tragic for cultures to die off without us recognizing their contributions, and remembering them for it.

A woman believed to be the last native speaker of the Eyak language in the north-western US state of Alaska has died at the age of 89.

[From BBC NEWS | Americas | Last Alaska language speaker dies]

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January 26th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

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