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How do languages become extinct?

10 June 2016 12:19 PM
Friday Stand In Neo Miyanga in conversation with Matthias Brenzinger about the endangered language N!U, and the book he wrote.

Friday Stand In Neo Muyanga spoke to Matthias Brenzinger, linguist and director of the Centre for African Language Diversity about why and how indigenous languages could cease to exist.

Brenzinger spoke about the ancient Khomani San language called N!U (pronounced "ncu") which is currently spoken by only three people in the world. He says this language is endangered.

Brenzinger came to South Africa to start working on African languages. Upon his arrival at UCT he immediately founded the Centre for African Language Diversity.

According to Brenzinger the youngest speaker of N!U, Katriena Esau is 84 years old.

Brenzinger further explained how languages become extinct and how he has been working on various projects to try and document them before they become extinct. He wrote a book about the N!U language.

Listen to the full conversation below:


10 June 2016 12:19 PM