"I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else."
An article from Schwa Fire (although they normally charge for subscriptions, this one is free!) on how media and especially a new Vodafone commercial have distorted what’s really going on among speakers of Ayapaneco:
Ayapaneco is a dying Mexican language with only two living speakers left…who refuse to speak to each other. Thanks to the stubbornness of two bitter old men—don Manuel and don Isidro (who’s nicknamed Chilo)—a language will be lost forever.
This story has something so compelling, so primordial, that it keeps getting repeated—in prime time news broadcasts and public radio broadcasts, on websites, and in magazines around the globe—even though it’s entirely untrue. Because of my expertise in the languages and communities of the area, every month I receive emails from curious journalists, documentary filmmakers, and linguistics majors eager to capture the Manuel-versus-Isidro conflict in more detail. I try to tell them the real story of Ayapaneco. But the fictional version continues to circulate.
Also some important points on what’s actually important in “saving” a language:
The best of these initiatives empower speakers of endangered languages by equipping them with the training and technology needed to document and revitalize their own linguistic heritage, as they see fit. If implemented correctly, these projects can be sustained with minimal outside assistance, long after the experts have left. A real contribution by Vodafone would have been to design the Viva Ayapaneco website to serve the needs of actual Ayapa residents, using its impressive design elements to make language learning fun and exciting for the children of Ayapa, not to mention children in other nearby endangered language communities such as Oluta.
Very much worth reading the whole thing.
"I’m not running away from my responsibilities. I’m running to them. There’s nothing negative about running away to save my life."