Language and Culture in Laos – An agenda for research

Language and Culture in Laos – An agenda for research
Author: N J Enfield
Publisher: The Journal of Lao Studies
Number of pages: 7
Format: PDF / excellent
Size: 382 KB
[quote]The Journal of Lao Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, pps 48-54. ISSN – Pending.
Published by the Center for Lao Studies at
N. J. Enfield1
Language and Culture in Laos: An Agenda for Research
1 Senior staff scientist, Language and Cognition Group, Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen and Professor of
Ethnolinguistics, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
There is at present a vigorous public debate in Laos on the issue of language, with
the participation of scholars, researchers, educators, and politicians. This debate goes to
the highest level, and has been on the agenda for decades. The issue? Whether the letter ‘r’
should or should not be included in the Lao alphabet. Meanwhile, dozens of distinct human
languages spoken in Laos are in danger of extinction in the immediate or near future. We
know little or nothing about the structure, history, or social setting of these languages or
the people who speak them. There is no public debate about this issue in Laos, and little
research activity to document the country’s dozens of minority languages, whether for
scientific, practical, or social purposes. The problem is identical in research on culture. This
paper offers a number of reasons why this must change.
Remarks: tags: country studies, Lao, Indigenous languages