Emma Hart: Edinburgh Napier University Jeremy Pitt: Imperial College London Ulle Endriss: University of Amsterdam Presentation from ECAL 2013
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“Unjust laws exist.” So wrote Henry David Thoreau in his 1849 essay, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.” The naturalist and pacifist asked, “Shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”
Himalayas and tropical regions likely next hotspots for language extinction. The world's roughly 7000 known languages are disappearing faster than species, with a different tongue dying approximately every 2 weeks. Now, by borrowing methods used in ecology to track endangered species, researchers have identified the primary threat to linguistic diversity: economic development. Though such growth has been shown to wipe out language in the past on a case-by-case basis, this is the first study to demonstrate that it is a global phenomenon, researchers say.
Many people know about the threatened polar bear and extinct passenger pigeon, but few have heard of endangered and extinct languages such as Eyak in Alaska, whose last speaker died in 2008, or Ubykh in Turkey, whose last fluent speaker died in 1992, says Tatsuya Amano, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and lead author of the new study. It’s well known that economic growth or the desire to achieve it can drive language loss, he notes—dominant languages such as Mandarin Chinese and English are often required for upward mobility in education and business, and economic assistance often encourages recipients to speak dominant languages. Whereas specific case studies demonstrate such forces at work, such as the transition from Cornish to English in the United Kingdom and from Horom to English in Nigeria, this is the first study to examine losses worldwide and rank economic growth alongside other possible influences, he says.
Data on the number and location of surviving fluent speakers of endangered languages are scant, but Amano and colleagues used the most complete source available—an online repository called Ethnologue—for their analysis, he says. From the database, the group was able to calculate the geographical range, number of speakers, and rate of speaker decline for languages worldwide and map that data within square grid cells roughly 190 km across, spanning the entire globe. Although they were able to obtain information about the range and number of speakers for more than 90% of the world’s estimated 6909 languages, they could only glean details about the rate of decline or growth for 9%, or 649, of those languages, Amano notes.
Next, they looked for correlations between language loss and factors such as a country's gross domestic product and levels of globalization as calculated by an internationally recognized index. In addition, they examined environmental factors such as altitude, which might contribute to language loss by affecting how easily communities can communicate and travel.
Of all the variables tested, economic growth was most strongly linked to language loss, Amano says. Two types of language loss hotspots emerged from the study, published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. One was in economically well developed regions such as northwestern North America and northern Australia; a second was in economically developing regions such as the tropics and the Himalayas. Certain aspects of geography seemed to act as a buffer or threat, Amano says. For example, recent declines appear to occur faster in temperate climates than in the tropics or mountainous regions—perhaps because it is easier to travel in and out of temperate regions, Amano says. More research is necessary to determine precisely what it is about economic development that kills languages, he adds. Figuring out how growth interacts with other factors such as landscape is the next step, he says.
"This is the first really solid statistical study I've seen which shows principles about language decline that we've know about, but hadn't been able to put together in a sound way," says Leanne Hinton, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. Economics is far from the whole story, however, she says. In the United States, for example, current attitudes toward endangered tongues stem in large part from historical policies that forced young American Indians to eschew their native tongues in order to learn English, she says. Generations of disease, murder, and genocide—both historic and present, in some regions—have also played an important role and were not included in the new study's analysis, she says.
Although the study is silent on the subject of interventions to help preserve endangered languages, there is a range of revitalization efforts that can serve as examples, such as the incorporation of the Hawaiian language into school curricula and daily government operations, she says.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
"It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam."
Via Seth Dixon
What is Agile? Is it a set of practices, a set of values, or a set of mind—or some combination of the three? Is it “Doing Agile” or “Being Agile?” Is agile defined by a checklist of offered practices—the Nokia test for Scrum, or checking 9 of 12 practice boxes for XP? Is agile a ... Read more
Comparez l’inversion de polarité et l'émergence sociale..
Observez bien votre comportement et vous verrez qu'il n'est pas facile de changer de modèle et pourtant nous allons y adhérer. Alors prenons notre courage à deux mains et osons faire le saut. Plus nous tarderons plus la chaos s'installera et plus les perturbations seront grandes.
Montrons nous les français la voie comme nous l'avons fait avec la charte des droits de l'homme à la révolution !
Mobilisez l'intelligence collective est un moyen pour changer de modèle et y arriver collectivement dans nos organisations.
De nombreuses méthodes d'IC existent mais le travail n'est pas du domaine du mental et du rationnel. D'abord c'est bien plus profond que nous pouvons le penser.
C'est pour cela qu'il n'est pas facile d'y adhérer, c'est un vrai changement de paradigme.
Via Philippe Olivier Clement
Harold Jarche features Chee Chin Liew’s presentation on moving from hierarchies to teams at BASF. It shows how IT Services used their technology platforms to enhance networking, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration.
It features an approach to “building flows of information into pertinent, useful and just-in-time knowledge” so that... knowledge can flow in order to foster trust and credibility.
In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle. ...It means giving up control.
....many companies today have strong networks...coupled with strong central control. Becoming a wirearchy requires new organizational structures that incorporate communities, networks, and cooperative behaviours. It means giving up control. The job of those in leaderships roles is to help the network make better decisions.
Related tools & posts by Deb:
See the companion post about Holacracy, here.
Via Deb Nystrom, REVELN
88% of Hong Kong investors say that a company’s sustainability efforts would affect their investment decision according to this new study on Environmental, Soc…
Claude Emond's insight:
Doing business taking into account sustainability matters. This presentation from MSLGroup presents the facts about investors' interest in sustainability issues as well as 6 points to consider in taking action
The journey towards Social Leadership takes us through nine stages: we CURATE our space, choosing the stage we will perform from. We develop our STORYTELLING skills, learning how to structure the n...
Claude Emond's insight:
Many components of an agile mindset here. Brilliant
Many of us now realize that the kinds of thoughts we think throughout most of the day create our reality. We try to program ourselves with positive self-talk, such as: ‘I am going to have a great day. All good things will flow to me, and everything that’s supposed to happen will happen.’
A post-apocalyptic Earth, emptied of humans, seems like the stuff of science fiction TV and movies. But in this short, surprising talk, Lord Martin Rees asks us to think about our real existential risks — natural and human-made threats that could wipe out humanity. As a concerned member of the human race, he asks: What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?
The Neurobiology of “We”. Relationship is the flow of energy and information between people, essential in our development.
“Relationship is key,” he emphasizes. “When we work with relationship, we work with brain structure. Relationship stimulates us and is essential in our development. People rarely mention relationship in brain studies, but it provides vital input to the brain.
Relationship stimulates us and is
essential in our development.
People rarely mention relationship
in brain studies, but it provides
vital input to the brain.
Every form of psychotherapy that works, works because it creates healthier brain function and structure.… In approaching our lives, we can ask where do we experience the chaos or rigidity that reveal where integration is impaired.
We can then use the focus of our attention to integrate both our brain and our relationships. Ultimately we can learn to be open in an authentic way to others, and to ourselves.
The outcome of such an integrative presence is not only a sense of deep well-being and compassion for ourselves and others, but also an opening of the doors of awareness to a sense of the interdependence of everything. ‘We’ are indeed a part of an interconnected whole.””
by Patty de Llosa
Via Edwin Rutsch
A group of German researchers, working in the Middle East and Germany, have found that civilizations who depended on agriculture for food and their well-being also feared climate change as we do now. The scientists found that there were periods of extreme drought that affected the growth of grains which were a staple of their …
How do you know what your calling is? And how do you make it happen? Echoing Green has interviewed hundreds of social entrepreneurs over the last 25 years who each found their purpose and manifested it in the world. From their stories, Echoing Green culled ten principles for identifying your purpose and putting it into action. Read on to learn what the ten principles are.
I have chosen this infographic specifically to promote this theory, because I feel that it is time for humanity to embrace and accept it as the most plausible explanation of (as Darwin put it so eloquently) the origin of species.
Claude Emond's insight:
lot of info in that. Great stuff
The famed, unique Las Vegas-based shoe retailer...will eliminate traditional managers, do away with the typical corporate hierarchy and get rid of job titles, at least internally.
The unusual approach is called a “holacracy,” replacing the traditional corporate chain of command with a series of overlapping, self-governing “circles.” In theory, this gives employees more of a voice in the way the company is run.
According to Zappos executives, the move is an effort to keep the 1,500-person company from becoming too rigid, too unwieldy and too bureaucratic as it grows.
“As we scaled, we noticed that the bureaucracy we were all used to was getting in the way of adaptability,” says Zappos’s John Bunch, who is helping lead the transition to the new structure.
Holacracy ...has a couple of high-profile devotees — Twitter cofounder Evan Williams uses it at his new company, Medium, and time management guru David Allen uses it run his firm — but Zappos is by far the largest company to adopt the idea.]
Related posts & tools by Deb:
Via Deb Nystrom, REVELN