10 The Ed Cunningham Award 2012

“When small communities abandon their languages and switch to English or Spanish, there is a massive disruption in the transfer of traditional knowledge across generations,” writes Russ Rymer in this subtle and moving investigation of the centuries-long decimation of tribal languages. From the 2,000 speakers of the Aka language in India to the Seri speakers of Mexico’s Sonoran Desert, who are bringing the language back after it dwindled to 1,000 speakers, to the growing number of Tuvan speakers in Siberia, Rymer’s report gives us a broad look across multiple cultures about the ongoing rescue of the world’s dying languages.

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