Shelha & Language Endangerment

Lameen Souag has a post up at his blog Jabal al-Lughat* (hosted on Blogspot and thus blocked in China. Apologies to the proxiless) on efforts to preserve a Berber dialect called Tabeldit or in Arabic Shelha شلحة. One method was the creation of an Arabic-Shelha dictionary. I highly recommend taking a look at the post which bring to the front a common debate on the topic of dialect preservation. Namely, the resistance of protection by the very speakers of the endangered language/dialect.

While far outside the borders of the PRC, it’s a topic with equal relevance here where great efforts are sporadically made to force the populace to speak Mandarin. There is a fair amount of this among Wu speakers for whom many refuse to speak to their children in Wu, choosing the head start in Mandarin instead.

Hop over to Jabal al-Lughat and share in comments any similar experiences you may have had or witnessed.

* Editorial Note: His blog, aside from being a good read on the topic, has perhaps my favourite name. Jabal al-Lughat جَبَل آلُّغَات translates as “the mountain of languages” in Arabic.
Begging forgiveness for departing from the Sino in this particular instance of glot.

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