14:00, Thursday 18th June, Cinema 3


Director/Anthropologist: Koert Davidse, Mark Janse
Year of Release: 2015
Duration: 29 mins
Country of Production: Norway
Location: Greece and Turkey
Ethnic Group: Cappadocian
Language: Dutch, Greek, Cappadocian with English subtitles

After finding people who still spoke Cappadocian, a language believed to be extinct, both Professor Mark Janse’s world and that of the speakers’ changes. Of the 6,000 languages spoken today, each year some twenty disappear. At this rate that would mean that within a few generations half of all languages may become extinct. In many cases, this has to do with a language being marginalized by cultural- economic pressure and with the development of new technologies, which often tend toward homogenization. For instance, a native American language is not of much use on the Internet. The loss of linguistic and cultural diversity is to be regarded as an integral part of wider ranging processes that threaten the biodiversity of the planet. Language plays a crucial role in acquiring, storing, maintaining and transferring human knowledge of our natural environment and how to interact with it. Therefore the issue of endangered languages raises essential questions about the conservation of knowledge that may be useful in preserving ecosystems all over the world. Furthermore, speaking one’s own language is important to the self-esteem and identity of a people or ethnic group. For this reason, UNESCO is actively involved in making people proud of their language again.

Return to the 2015 film programme