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1. How do languages become endangered?

Five reasons are mentioned in the chapter: intermarriage (where two people marry/have a relationship and one of them has to stop using her language, which might be an endangered one); market forces (people stop using a language because it won't get them a job); migration (speakers move to an area where their minority language is not spoken); assimilation (people, especially young people, want to be like the rest of the population in their country, and thus adopt the majority language) and education policies (schools may not teach the endangered language). Other reasons include: physical genocide (whole populations who speak an endangered language might be wiped out), linguistic genocide (where there is an active campaign to change the language of the people, for example, the policy of Russification in the Russian Empire in the 19th century when Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, and Belarusian were either discouraged or banned), or religious reasons (some ministers in Protestant churches in Scotland see the decline of Gaelic as "God's will" and say steps should not be taken to preserve it).

2. What is language conflict?

Language conflict is a term which indicates the use of languages as a manifestation of a deeper, political conflict in a given society. For example, many Dutch speakers in Belgium complain about the lack of opportunities to use their language in the country's capital, and this indicates a deeper unrest about the way Belgium is governed and constituted.

3. Is language endangerment a problem?

The answer to this question is very personal. Some minority language speakers are not at all concerned about the loss of their language, whereas outsiders may come into their communities and do more than the locals do to preserve the language. Some people are opposed to promoting minority languages, saying it is a waste of money. Most linguists agree that the loss of any language is regrettable, since we lose a valuable record of human speech behaviour and of culture, which may in many respects be unique.