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Endangered Language Jowshaqani

(Last Updated On: April 3, 2024)

Jowshaqani is an endangered central Iranian dialect. If you’re interested in linguistics, this article is for you. In it, we will discuss the endangered language Jowshaqani, other Iranian languages’ central dialects, and why languages become endangered.

Why is it important to protect the language from dying from the simple impact of language loss? So, if you are a linguistic freak, then let’s dive into the origin of the Jowshaqani language.

Endangered language Jowshaqani

Jowshaqani is an Iranian central dialect. This language has beautiful literature and very strong grammar. People in towns of central Iran used to speak this language frequently. But with time, Persian became the dominant language in all towns and villages in Iran. A Central Iranian language is spoken in the township of Jowshaqan in Iran’s northern Isfahan region.

The township of Jowshaqan lies 120 kilometers north of Isfahan, on the outskirts of an area where Central Iranian dialects are spoken. It has a population of 3500 people. Currently, less than 600 speakers of Jowshaqani speak it, making it an endangered language.

Language Affiliation

If we say Jowshaqani is rooted in a group of central Iranian dialects it would not be wrong. Jowshaqani is affiliated with many other indigenous languages like other dialects of the Kashan district. It is very much familiar to Central Plateau dialects.

Jowshaqani translation
Jowshaqani to english translation

Is Persian a reason for endangering other dialects in Iran?

The main language of Iran is Persian. It is the most spoken language of the Iranian language family. It is a very wide language that has several dialects. In addition, there are other languages that people speak in Iran, such as Hamadan, Yazd, Tehran, etc. All these languages are very ancient. The affiliation is with the wind Tales and Tati languages, which people speak in different regions of northwestern Persia to northern Azerbaijan.

The most famous dialects of the Iranian language family are Northwest Iranian dialects and Southwestern languages. The dominance of Persian in Persia has led to the extinction of local dialects in major cities and many small towns and villages, where only the elderly speak or remember some of the previous dialects. Persian is not necessarily the reason for endangering other dialects in Iran; rather, factors such as urbanization, globalization, and socio-political dynamics contribute to the decline of regional languages, including Northwest Caucasian and other endangered languages in the country.

Whenever we hear about Iran, the first and last language that comes into mind is Persian. No doubt, it is their national language, but its dominance over other neighboring languages has resulted in language loss as well. That is, languages like Jowshaqani are endangered languages. And many nonendangered languages also do not get that much appreciation from locals.

Beginning in the early Islamic years, Turkic dialects in the northern and western regions of the Central dialects area have had a similar role in displacing native Iranian dialects. However, there is significant resistance to the infiltration of Persian and Turkic, and several indigenous dialects have been preserved. Religious minorities provide information on the dialects of several cities where Persian is currently spoken.

Importance of languages and impact of endangered languages

It is impossible to overestimate the value of languages. They are a significant communication tool and vital link between people. Humans improve and rise above other species due to their ability to communicate. If it hadn’t been for languages, we would have been like wild animals with no means of communicating.

More than only new words and accents make up a language. It’s like sponges that absorb the culture, ceremonies, and traditions and store them within themselves. Through the literature of a given language, generations pass on their culture to the next. For its citizens, its symbols and letters are works of art. Language is alive and well in the hands of those who speak it. They’ve lost touch with the fact that their speaker base is dwindling.

Languages are important because they can convey culture and heritage, especially Indigenous languages like Tok Pisin, Northwest Caucasian, and others. However, the decline of fluent speakers and the prevalence of extinct and dormant languages underscore the urgent need for preservation efforts to protect linguistic diversity and prevent the loss of invaluable cultural treasures.

The linguistic diversity in North America, South America, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Northern Australia reflects various mixed languages and single languages, emphasizing the importance of linguistic documentation. In regions like the Northern Territory and the Solomon Islands, personal communication and traditional knowledge are deeply rooted, making the Catalogue of Endangered Languages crucial to address speaker number trends and safeguard unclassified and endangered languages such as Tok Pisin, Northeast Caucasian, and Southern Arawakan.

Initiatives like Ethnologue (Simons & Fennig 2017) underscore the importance of languages and the impact of endangered languages. This organization emphasizes linguistic documentation for Australian and Austronesian languages. Recognizing the cultural knowledge embedded in these distinct, separate languages is crucial for preserving linguistic diversity and the communities of native speakers.

Language and culture

Languages, like humans and other living things, require care and attention. They also require someone to keep them alive in their minds to avoid extinction. What if their loved ones abandon them? As a result, that particular language is extinguished. And the term “language” denotes the end of an epoch! Future generations will be deprived of its essence.

Many languages have existed for centuries. However, they are on the verge of extinction. About 3000 languages have less than 10,000 speakers, for example, and the number is shrinking all the time. People are losing touch with their original languages in pursuing modernization and success.

Jowshaqani language
history of Jowshaqani

In other words, people are unwittingly severing ties with their traditions. The extinction of any language costs the ethnic and social values of that particular society. One of those endangered languages is the Jowshaqani language. Language death is the death of the whole culture. New languages have replaced old languages, but the loss of language can never be compensated by any means.

Preliminary documentation is vital in understanding the intricate relationship between language and culture, especially when dealing with Austronesian languages and Caucasian languages. Recognizing the wealth of cultural knowledge embedded in these languages is essential for fostering meaningful connections with native speakers and preserving linguistic diversity.

Preserving language and culture involves recognizing the importance of linguistic documentation and personal communication, particularly in regions like Australia and those with unique language families such as Quechua II. Cultural knowledge plays a pivotal role in understanding mixed languages and the significance of maintaining one’s primary language as a separate, integral part of cultural heritage.

Indigenous Languages:

Indigenous languages are native to a specific region or community and have been spoken by the original inhabitants of that area for generations. These languages are deeply rooted in the culture, history, and identity of the indigenous peoples who use them. Indigenous languages are often distinct from official or majority languages in a country and may be spoken by relatively small, specific communities.

Many indigenous languages around the world are endangered due to various factors, including cultural assimilation, migration, and the influence of dominant languages. Efforts are being made globally to preserve and revitalize indigenous languages as they are crucial components of the rich tapestry of human linguistic diversity. Recognizing and supporting the use of indigenous languages contributes to preserving indigenous cultures and promoting linguistic diversity.

Urgent documentation and preservation efforts by UNESCO are underway to safeguard a variety of indigenous languages, including Caucasian languages and African languages, which face the threat of extinction due to their dormant status and dwindling number of fluent speakers. Audio recordings play a crucial role in capturing the richness of these languages, ranging from national languages to Tok Pisin, ensuring their legacy endures even as some become extinct.

Unclassified Languages:

“Unclassified languages” refer to languages that have not been systematically categorized or grouped into established language families or linguistic classifications. Language classification typically involves grouping languages based on shared features, vocabulary, and historical relationships. Unclassified languages may lack sufficient data, documentation, or linguistic connections to be definitively linked to a specific language family.

Sometimes, unclassified languages may be spoken by small, isolated communities, making it challenging for linguists to determine their linguistic affiliations. Alternatively, insufficient research or documentation may contribute to the lack of classification. Linguists and researchers often make efforts to study and classify these languages, contributing to our understanding of linguistic diversity.

Unclassified languages often face extinction due to cultural assimilation, displacement, and insufficient documentation. Small, isolated communities may struggle to pass down their languages, leading to a lack of intergenerational transmission. As a result, these unclassified languages may disappear without leaving sufficient linguistic data for classification, contributing to their extinction.

Distinct Languages:

Distinct languages are separate and different from one another in terms of their linguistic features, vocabulary, grammar, and, often, their historical development. Each distinct language has its own unique set of characteristics that distinguish it from other languages. For example, English and Mandarin Chinese are distinct languages, as they have different linguistic structures and are not mutually intelligible.

The term “distinct languages” emphasizes the lack of mutual intelligibility between linguistic varieties, highlighting their independence and separate identity within the broader spectrum of human languages.

How is UNESCO saving endangered languages?

Human beings have another essential and beautiful treasure: languages. Languages are a beautiful form of art and a means of communication. A language is a collection of specific utterances that do not emerge suddenly but develop gradually over many years and expand over time. It is a slow evolutionary process, which is what distinguishes it.

It’s also not only about knowing how to speak that particular language. However, if we lost a language, we would also lose all of the knowledge that language has uncovered.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) maintains a section identifying the world’s critically endangered languages.

They aim to revive the least spoken languages, which are on the verge of extinction. The world’s least-spoken languages, such as Chinese, English, and Brazilian, are just as important as the world’s most-spoken ones.

UNESCO’s efforts in preserving endangered languages extend globally, encompassing a diverse array from Australian languages to Northwest Caucasian, focusing on linguistic documentation and urgent preservation of precious field recordings. Through initiatives spanning Central Australia to Africa, UNESCO safeguards dormant and extinct languages, non-indigenous sign languages, and creole languages, aiming to protect fourteen languages from extinction and foster linguistic diversity worldwide.

UNESCO is actively involved in saving endangered languages by recognizing the value of linguistic diversity. Efforts extend to regions like South Asia, Central America, and Northern Vanuatu Vanuatu, where Austronesian languages, Indo-European languages, and unique language families like Ancash Quechua and Southern Bantoid are addressed. UNESCO’s initiatives, such as Ethnologue (Simons & Fennig), aim to preserve native languages and promote the use of primary languages as national languages, safeguarding the rich heritage of mixed languages and unclassified languages.

Endangered languages

Many African, Canadian, European, and Asian languages are becoming endangered daily. Species languages, like cultures and monuments, are vital to preserve. UNESCO has an initiative called World’s Altas of Language.

This is to safeguard and preserve endangered languages. They look for endangered languages and strive to discover native speakers or people who know them to preserve them. Cultures, monuments, and species, as well as languages, are also very important to preserve.

Preserving endangered languages involves understanding the distinct languages spoken by elderly speakers, especially in regions like Australia, where there are Aboriginal languages and Caucasian languages. Language solutions must account for the cultural knowledge embedded in these native languages, fostering personal communication and ensuring a connection to the heritage of fluent speakers in their primary language.

In Central Vanuatu, the Caucasian languages spoken by native speakers are facing a concerning decline in fluent speakers, echoing a trend observed in Costa Rica concerning endangered languages.

So, to protect endangered languages and to preserve them UNESCO has a project named World’s Altas of language. They search endangered languages, find their native speakers, or the people who know the language and try to preserve them.

Conclusion

Today’s humanity did not discover all of today’s information. As a result, losing any language means losing all of the knowledge discovered in that language. It’s a centuries-long evolutionary process. Without the knowledge our forefathers learned millions of years ago, we would not have today’s technologies.

Languages pass down knowledge to generations, so it is important to protect them. Knowledge is transmitted from one generation to another and keeps growing over time. But if no steps are taken to preserve its speakers, the number of speakers decreases. Its existence falls into jeopardy, and soon, it starts to go extinct. It is also not only about linguistic knowledge of that specific language.

But if we lose a language, we also lose all the knowledge discovered by that language. Only old languages become endangered, and today’s humans do not discover the knowledge of science, the arts, and other things of the world.

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