Lost Languages Essay

Submitted By ajack
Words: 1108
Pages: 5

Language is the most complex form of communication used by all species. Language is what all humans have in common despite their culture or beliefs. It is a device used for all communication whether written, verbal, expressive or gestured. As humans have developed and migrated languages have become more complex and shared. With more than 6,000 languages accounted for today that number is decreasing at a faster rate then animal extinction. Indigenous languages are in danger greatly due to many factors of globalization throughout world. Looking at indigenous tongues throughout the world we can now classify certain geographical locations as “hot spots” for dying languages. Language is determined extinct when they last speaker who learned it as their primary tongue dies. With many linguist, anthropologist, and activist desperate to save these dying languages we are seeing more institutions being established to preserve the heritage of native tongues. The world’s population is growing at 1.10% though it is predicted to be on the decline, we are still seeing the population increase. With the population over 7 billion, and only 6,000 plus languages being spoken we can be absolute that the number of native tongues will decrease rapidly by the turn of the next century. With globalization in full effect indigenous languages are becoming less used, therefore less recognized through teaching and culture practice. Sons and daughters of native speakers are seeing their parents and ancestors’ language as insufficient in today’s world, as part of the past when the world is rapidly growing especially in more urban settings. As population grows so does the need to be closer to these urban or populated areas. With relocation and use of the more common language there is seen to be a disconnect to the native language. When this disconnect happens there is a greater chance that the next generation will not need to know or learn the language since they are now immersed in the more common language. Therefore, since language is skipping a generation it is harder to teach future generations the language again thus becoming endangered. When you are the minority in these majority settings there is also conflict and discrimination, native speakers are exposed to this leading them to de-associate themselves with their own beliefs and culture to fit in. We can see this with the demise of Gaelic language and the discrimination of Irish from the English. When communities give up their values and the practices are not being adopted by future generations we see the loose of a cultural heritage. Native communities are also being forced by governments to immerse themselves into urbanized settings. This is the true reason why we have lost so many native languages; it is what we as a population have done to ourselves. We can clearly see this right here in the United States and in Australia, having the governments strictly force native people to abandon their native languages and forced to learn the common language. Alone here in the United States, according to UNESCO, we have seen 115 native languages become extinct in the last 500 years with at least 53 being in the last 60 years. India is also facing trouble with their rapidly growing population. From colonialization to globalization Hindi and English are the two official languages now. In 1961 there were 1,652 ‘mother tongues’ reported in India, today 310 of these languages are on the endangered list. Looking at the image below we can compare the “hot spot” locations of endangered languages. Looking at these statistics the probability of increasing endangered species is on the rise.

With the ban of native language there is a negative chain effect that the world faces especially dealing in part with history and natural sciences through plants and species. Scientist have hardly touched all the species in the world and with the extinction of the species themselves and the extinction of