endangered language

Topics: Culture, Linguistics, Sociology Pages: 2 (418 words) Published: June 19, 2014
At present, both individuals and governments are concerned about language diversity as an increasing number of reports have demonstrated a considerable decrease in the number of languages during the last few centuries (Romaine, 2007). Additionally, the future of many languages is also dismal. As a consequence, whether or not to protect endangered languages is a quite controversial issue at present. This essay will discuss both advantages and disadvantages of preserving languages, which are quite essential for governments and other organisations. One argument put forward is that humanity should care about languages because it may promote the development of cultural diversity. Just like biology, a language is not only related to an individual nation’s value or right, but also connects to the culture system all over the world (Crystal, 2000). From this perspective, the damage to any factor in the system will cause unpredictable results in this system as a whole (ibid). In addition, the diversity may promote the development of culture. That means languages often play an important role in our society through diversity, regardless of its population. Nevertheless, it is advised that some linguists’ claims for the protection of language may neglect its essence and true function: that is communication. In other words, if a language is spoken only by a few people, it is not a true language (Malik, 2000). Certainly, it is beneficial to other languages and cultures. However, the benefit is not because of the uniqueness of different languages, but due to removing barriers and making connections across them (ibid). Therefore, a language becomes extinct because it has lost the function of communication instead of other reasons. Additionally, protectionism seems to cause a negative impact on economy and society, especially in some multicultural society. Take Indonesia as an example, the government impose an ethics test in the local language on foreign lawyers (Krieler, 2013)....

References: Crystal, D. (2000), Why should we care? Language Death, Cambridge University Press 32-45
Kriegler, Y. (2013), Jakarta’s cold hand of protectionism, The Lawyer, 28 October 2013, viewed 27 March 2014 http://www.thelawyer.com/analysis/notebook/jakartas-cold-hand-of-protectionism/3011529.article.
Malik, K. (2000), Let them die, kenanmalik.com Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.kenanmailk.com/essay/die.html
Romaine, S. (2007), Preserving Endangered Languages. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1(1-2), 115-132
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