JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Senate has voted unanimously to declare a “linguistic emergency” for Alaska Native languages.

The Juneau Empire reports that the vote ends a weeklong debate about whether the resolution should have included the word “emergency.”

The resolution will return to the House where it originated, and representatives are expected to agree with a handful of changes made in the Senate.

Independent state Rep. Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan sponsored the resolution in response to a recommendation made by the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council.

The resolution says that native languages are being lost at a rapid pace because the last remaining fluent speakers are dying of old age.

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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