Speaker: Don't mix English and Diné Bizaad
By Krista Allen
Western Agency Bureau
COPPERMINE, Ariz., Feb. 20, 2014
(Times photo - Krista Allen)
Nearly 68 percent of people on Diné Bikéyah speak Navajo. That sounds pretty good until you learn it has decreased from 80 percent in 1980.
Tom Chee, an educator originally from Leupp, Ariz. on Feb. 14 lectured to a chapter house full of people.
In his opening statement, he asked the audience if they prefer to listen to his talk in Spanish, Mandarin, or Navajo.
"I'm assuming that (the community) produces Navajo-speaking young people," Chee said before giving a discourse on language. "Do we need to hear this in English?"
In English, Chee first denoted that language is the most vital part of a culture. In other words, when a language dies, culture fails.
According to Endangered Languages - a project by the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity ó humanity is coming up against a massive extinction: Languages are disappearing at an alarming rate.
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