Did you know, that in the future that we will loose 90% of the worlds diverse languages? This figure is astonishing, because we only have about 6,800 from our previous amount from 10,000 years ago, of about 12,000 languages. Since the beginning of time, whether it be events at Babel or just evolution, language diversity plays a major role in keeping the various world nations from quarreling with each other.
So, why are we loosing so many languages, and what can we do to stop this process? According to the article, languages that a culture uses have a specific purpose. That purpose pertains to a pattern associated with their natural environment. For example: Farmers in different regions of the world will have varying languages that suit their climate, terrain and farm types. Likewise, in todays economy people need to use English because its words are heavily bent towards trade concepts. Also, English is the largest international language due to its heavy impact of trade negotiations. This is due in most part of England’s former empire’s influences forcing trade across the globe. In short, The type of language spoken largely is a result of a cultures experience with nature and other people. There is a sub-factor that the article points out: the displacement of cultures. When a group of people are forced migrate to another area, they will displace another. This process can happen through assimilation, extermination, diffusion or expulsion. A group can be forced to migrate and/or be assimilated, exterminated, diffused or expelled. Back to the question. I believe that English will continue to grow and replace languages that don’t reflect its economic advantages. Any other surviving languages associated with English will maintain close proximity with its definitions and eventually assimilate. A good notion of this is in German. I took German for 3 years and I know for a fact that English slang is seeping into German culture. Words like cool, rad, and ok were used more than compared to the traditional words like spitze, fantastisch( German word for cool or great). This is the result of English’s domination of economics. German peoples naturally adopt English words, making it easier for them to participate in a major English world economy. The exception to this, are countries like China, that hold dearly to its national identity. Chinese will most likely be the next in line if English ever fails. With the current economic crisis in the United States, I can see Chinese influence growing exponentially.
Will languages become consolidated once again? I think that English should continue to be the primary language unless the American Dollar and the Euro fail. Again, I believe the outcome of the current economic crisis shall determine whether or not these languages proceed. If those currencies fail, then the next rank currencies will take the lead following their languages. If the currencies prevail, then English will continue to grow until either the language becomes the monologue of our world, or its supporting currency fails. The world is so dependent on these currencies, which adds to the sensitivity their languages changing rank. I won’t be surprised at their outcome. Unfortunately 10% of our languages will be left despite which currency is in power, because like I said, languages reflect their culture’s experience. If the world is has one currency then eventually all modernizing citizens will need to switch to the currencies main language.
I shall close with the tower of babel scenario. It might occur again, and I sure wish the article would have implemented this story more, because it implies one aspect of human nature that it ignores. Human pride! According to the article and Genesis 11 the people’s of the earth gathered in their pride against God to build this tower. This tower symbolized their pride which was in discord in God’s eyes, that is why he split their language. God said in a portion of Genesis 11:6 “and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”
What the article suggests is different from what Genesis 11 suggests. The article suggests that monolingualism today will cause quarreling between individuals. Genesis 11 suggests that monolingualism will be a mark to look for in which man will soon be dealt with by God. However, I am open to the idea that monolingualism will cause quarreling. That is in a large part, due to the fact that people misunderstand each other every second of everyday. With the process of globalization gaining strength, multilingualism will be hard to protect. A way to protect other languages from being snuffed out, would be through government laws. Law’s that require High School students to understand a certain number of languages would be an option. The other route would be for each individual country to pass an international language. One calls for internationalism, one calls for nationalism.
I like the nationalism for one reason. One each nation knows what it needs based upon its location on the earth. I believe in the end, the world will once again have pride in itself against God, build another Tower of Babel, and be dismantled by God’s hand. When the world is prideful, it will speak one language against God, which is the watermark for men being universally uppity.