Posted inEditor's Pick

On Learning & Losing Language: A Reading List

Emily Perper | Longreads | August 30, 2015 | words
Posted inNonfiction, Reading List

On Learning & Losing Language: A Reading List

Language shapes every facet of our lives—how we communicate, how we act, how we feel.
Photo: Mark

Language shapes every facet of our lives—how we communicate, how we act, how we feel. When we can name something, we feel comfort and security (think of the medical diagnosis, the new baby’s name). We feel relief: common gestures while haggling in a marketplace, cognates in a textbook. Without language, we are lost. But what happens when language gets lost—violently uprooted by colonialism, for example, or dissipated in the annals of time? Can language be reclaimed? These six articles explore how language is disseminated, preserved, decoded, and, ultimately, cherished.

1. “How an Artificial Language from 1887 is Finding New Life Online.” (Sam Dean, The Verge, May 2015)

Lernu! When L.L. Zamenhof invented Esperanto in the late 19th century, he hoped it would erase language barriers and bring about world peace. Today, Esperanto is gaining traction in the digital language-learning community due to its enthusiastic adherents, relative simplicity and logical structure.

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