Sustainability is all-encompassing, from the environment to the human condition. Likewise, sustainability begins not only at the macro level with such entities as corporations and governments but also, and perhaps more essentially, with the self and choices made on an ongoing basis.
Like many species of flora and fauna, human languages and their related cultures are becoming extinct at alarming rates. This researcher has studied and is studying the linguistic choices made by academics in their dissemination of their scholarship. In particular, he reviews the practices of applied linguists in this regard. What he has discovered is a paradox and contradiction in the stated mission and actual practice, even in the academic field most dedicated to the promotion of a diversity of languages and the nurturing of intercultural understanding. He concludes that languages are under attack, even from quarters where this might be least expected. Given the uncertain status of so many world languages, he proposes several changes in practice to ward off continuing ‘cruelty to languages’ (and their speakers and keepers of their cultures).
|Keywords:||Languages, Threat of Extinction, Sustainability, Dissemination Choices|
Full Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
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