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As I said, one can assume the statistics are made up.

The Onion probably picked on Navajo because it was fairly easy to get
information about to weave into the story; ironically, the reason this
is so is because it's not nearly so endangered as many languages.

Heck, my stepfather speaks fluent Navajo...

Ed Heil ------------------------------- [log in to unmask]

John Cowan wrote:

> Tom Wier scripsit:
>
> > <sigh> Unfortunately, this should be of no particular suprise to
> > anyone here.  There are *tons* of languages which have just a
> > handful of speakers left (as any cursory reading of the ethnologue
> > will show), and so the sad fact is that the Onion, in this case, has
> > some serious content to it. ;)
>
> No it doesn't.  Here's what the Ethnologue says:
>
> # 148,530 speakers including 7,616 monolinguals (1990 census) out
> # of 219,198 ethnic Navaho (1990 USA Census Bureau). Northeastern
> # Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah, and a few in
> # Colorado. Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan,
> # Apachean, Navajo-Apache, Western Apache-Navajo. Language use is
> # vigorous. The people prefer the name 'Dine'. Bible 1985. NT 1956-1959.
> # Bible portions 1910-1994.
>
> I find it hard to believe that 150,000 speakers have shrunk to a
> thousand or less in a mere ten years.  It sounds to me like the
> number of speakers has gotten mixed up with the population figures.
>
> http://www.ncbe.gwu.edu/miscpubs/stabilize/ii-policy/hypotheses.htm
> (which is dated 1996) says that 18% of Navajo kindergarteners are
> monolingual in Navajo and 28% are bilingual. This is down from 20
> years ago, where 95% had Navajo and most were monolingual, but
> hardly incipient language death just yet.
>
> --
> John Cowan                                   [log in to unmask]
>        I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin
>