Amid worldwide accounts of dying languages, author Leanne Hinton and a group of dedicated language activists are doing something about it: they have created a master-apprentice language program, a one-on-one approach that has been remarkably successful in ensuring new speakers will take the place of those, often elderly, who are fluent in an endangered language.
How to Keep Your Language Alive is a manual for students of all languages, from Yurok to Yiddish, Washoe to Welsh; complete with exercises that can—can and should—be done in the most ordinary of settings, written with great simplicity and directness by a member of the linguistics faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
Leanne Hinton is associate professor of linguistics and director of the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books, including Flutes of Fire (Heyday, 1994) and The Green Book of Language Revitalization (Academic Press, 2000), and she is a co-founder of Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. She also writes a column on languages for News from Native California and works with native people throughout the state on language preservation projects.