WXXI AM News

Connections: How languages become endangered

Apr 4, 2019

A language can say much about a culture, and when a language is in danger of being lost, what does that mean for the culture and those who celebrate it? WXXI reporter Caitlin Whyte spoke with local Native Americans about this question; they are working to preserve the Mohawk and Seneca languages.

This hour, we discuss the process of language shift, how languages become endangered, and what can be done to protect them. Our guests:

  • Ronnie Pollack, member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Eagle Clan, executive director of the Native American Cultural Center, and host of "Two Canoes with Ronnie Pollack" on WYSL 92.1 FM   
  • Robbie Jimerson, Ph.D. student at RIT and member of the Seneca Nation of Indians
  • Maya Abtahian, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester
  • Nadine Grimm, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics, and director of the Language Documentation and Description Program at the University of Rochester
  • Caitlin Whyte, WXXI reporter