Our Martian friend Siganus Sutor sent me this BBCNews piece by “Dr Mark Turin, Linguist and broadcaster,” a sort of sequel to the Economist article I posted about last year, like it focusing on the Endangered Language Alliance. Turin quotes one of its founders, Daniel Kaufman, as follows:

Several languages have been uttered for the very last time in New York, he says.
“There are these communities that are completely gone in their homeland. One of them, the Gottscheers, is a community of Germanic people who were living in Slovenia, and they were isolated from the rest of the Germanic populations.
“They were surrounded by Slavic speakers for several hundreds of years so they really have their own variety [of language] which is now unintelligible to other German speakers.”
The last speakers of this language have ended up in Queens, he says, and this has happened to many other communities.

You can hear an audio clip of Kaufman with speakers of Chamorro, Mixteco, Livonian, and others. Thanks, Sig!


  1. Umm, you do realize that your title instantly began to play in my head to the tune of Freude, schöner Gotterfunken?

  2. Every now and then I comment here on some aspect of “playground Scots” i.e. the Scots of Annandale of my childhood. I have just read about what must have been the first census of Annandale. I invite you to guess the approximate date of it.

  3. I bet it was really, really early and not 2012. 1124? 1661?

  4. Here‘s a direct link, but there’s nothing in there about New York English. (New Yorker English, yes, but that’s a very different kettle of diëreses.)

  5. There are, in the comments, disparaging remarks about Noo Yawkas and their English. Or has my memory let me down already?

  6. Oh, I never read comments.

  7. Heh.
    The answer to AJP Ratting-Cap was that the first census of Annandale was at the end of the first century AD: the ‘tallies did a tally.

  8. Mark Turin’s accompanying radio piece on linguistic diversity in NYC is well worth your time.

  9. dearie, did you find this out at a website that might be interesting for all of us?

  10. Source: David Mattingly “An Imperial Possession” Britain in the Roman Empire 54 BC-AD 409, Penguin, 2007, pp495 & 555.

  11. Wow, twice.

  12. “The career inscription of Titus Haterius Nepos, who was governor of Egypt in 120, shows that he was responsible at an earlier stage for conducting a census of the Brittones Anavionenses, the people of Annandale in south-west Scotland.”

  13. I think those are the non-flying Brits.(The others lived in Ayr.)

  14. Wait a minute, Titus HATerius? This is some ancestor?
    I suppose everyone’s got this book but me.

  15. dearieme: I accidentally deleted your comment in the course of cleaning out spam; please repost!

  16. Aye, aye, sir. It’s a reference to the literature on the census of the Anavionenses. People might forget that the Dark Ages weren’t just dark themselves: they sent great beams of darkness back on the preceding era.

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