Speaking one tongue

Essay by mwanidaCollege, UndergraduateB, November 2008

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Week 2

Speaking in one tongue

With a language spoken somewhere in the world disappearing every fortnight, this article examines the reasons behind this trend and what needs to be done in order to preserve the languages that remain. The Gaelic language and many others around the world seem to be doomed to extinction. The reasons range from age to government policies. In the case of the Gaelic language many of the remaining speakers are old making the transfer of the language difficult. In Africa and other places around the world many governments are suffocating these languages by introducing official languages, forcing many of the inhabitants of those countries to overlook and in some cases disregard their indigenous languages. In most cases the dominant language in a country usually becomes the dominant culture of that country. Over a third of the world's population are conversant in English, but this brings with it the fear that English will one day dominate the linguistic world crushing thousands of minority languages as it does.

A world where there is only one dominant language may seem far fetched but the writer many people fear we may already be heading there. Already half of the world's population speak just 11 mother tongues between them. (……………………….)When we consider that individual identity comes from native language and culture this brings simply means that we lose a lot more than just the spoken language when a language disappears. We loose cultures, traditions and customs that are unique to the speakers of those languages. Language maintenance is vital for all minority groups

The best way to kill off a language is to teach another one. I believe the monopoly that a few national languages such as English have on education makes it inevitable that languages not taught in...