Dying words

October 27, 2006

The story "Drop 'raiders of lost argot' act" (October 20) does little more than trivialise the issue of language endangerment. The preservation of linguistic diversity is important. It is not merely a question of "documenting dying languages". Linguistic diversity, cultural diversity and biodiversity are all interlinked; loss of a language inevitably leads to a diminishment of the world's cultural heritage, as has been recognised by Unesco with who we worked in Cameroon.

Far from being an endeavour in which individuals can play the hero, endangered language work is a painstaking venture, always collaborative, and resulting in little tangible reward for the linguists.

Bruce Connell and David Zeitlyn
University of Kent, Canterbury

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