Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crimean Tatar: A "severely endangered" language

The Crimean Tatar language is listed as “severely endangered” in the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Disappearing Languages. They estimate that, if nothing is done, half of the 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century.
Why should we care? This is what UNESCO says:
“Every language reflects a unique world-view with its own value systems, philosophy and particular cultural features. The extinction of a language results in the irrecoverable loss of unique cultural knowledge embodied in it for centuries, including historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge that may be essential for the survival of not only its speakers, but also countless others.”

Please consider donating to the Crimean Tatar Cultural and Language Preservation project and help at least one of those endangered languages survive. Click here to donate.

And if you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out the Gasprinsky Library’s website, please do—you can click on it under Websites of Interest. The website is in Crimean Tatar and Russian, but with the aid of Google Translate, you can read much of the site in English. The Library just started a children’s section on their website with games, fairy tales, and coloring books, all in Crimean Tatar, along with the Crimean Tatar Cyrillic alphabet. It is estimated only 5% of Crimean Tatar children speak their native language. This is just one more effort on the part of the Library to fulfill its mission to preserve and revitalize the Crimean Tatar language and culture.

Children at the Gasprinsky Library learn about the children's books in Crimean Tatar.
The Crimean Tatar television station, ATR, interviews one young reader.

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