Disappearing Languages

Personally I think that it is a good thing that languages are disappearing. Imagine how easy it would be to communicate if there were only 3 or 4 world languages – Mandarin, English, French and Spanish for example. Nowadays people are considered clever if they know a major language. There are many advantages to having fewer languages in the world. Fewer languages would mean it would be easier to trade. Fewer languages would also boost national or even international unity and in turn probably sustain peace.

Many people say that the loss of some languages means that native communities disappear and with them the knowledge that could benefit humanity. I think that instead of trying to preserve the 3,500 languages under extinction we should try to distribute the knowledge from them into the wider world. After all what is the point of having knowledge of something if only a few hundred people can speak the language it is in? Especially in a world like ours where you can talk to someone in Australia in a matter of minutes, it is logical that as we become a more tightly connected world some languages should be forsaken.

In the employment realm of things it is much better for you economically and practically to know a major language, as this means you do not narrow your employment path. Also, the extinction of languages is similar to the extinction of currencies. It is so much easier to go on holiday now with the introduction of the Euro to 23 countries in Europe. Imagine having to keep changing from the German mark to the French Franc and then the Spanish Peseta. Just like currency I think it shows development if the world has fewer more widely spoken languages.

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One thought on “Disappearing Languages”

  1. You argue your case pretty well here, Mary, but I don’t agree with your view. You make a number of valid points but my objections come down to main things. First, I do not think that homogeneity is actually a good thing. The world is a less interesting place if everywhere becomes the same. And whilst I do not accept the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, I think that it is not quite as easy as you say to transfer or translate knowledge from one language into another without losing something in the process. Interestingly, the analogy you choose- the Euro- is actually a good example of the dangers of trying to reduce things down, as the present economic crisis in the Eurozone shows. And secondly, the philosopher Aristotle talked about what he called ‘the good life’. One of the most important things I think we have to do in life is to work out what this is but I am pretty sure that if making money is a part of it, it is not the most important.

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