Native American languages in jeopardy, KU researchers find

University of Kansas researchers have written a book chapter contributing to efforts preserving Native American languages, the university said in a statement this week.

About 90 percent of nearly 200 North American languages could disappear in the next 100 years, the statement said. Linguists have predicted that, without intervention, as many as 90 percent of the nearly 200 native North American languages could die within the next 100 years.

“American Indians at Risk: Volume One,” describes problems in Native American communities including unemployment, alcoholism, suicide and language loss, the statement said. The KU authors contributing on language loss are Lizette Peter, associate professor of curriculum and teaching; Tracy Hirata-Edds, lecturer in the Applied English Center; and Marcellino Berardo, language specialist in the Applied English Center, the statement said..

English has displaced many of these languages, though years ago some Native Americans were also forced to stop speaking their languages, the statement said.