What Happens When A Language Goes Extinct?
A lot is lost during the homogenisation of languages! Cultural traditions, unique expressions and nuanced meaning that cannot be expressed in any other way are all in danger. Moreover, key information that can also help improve our planet is in danger. For example, medicinal therapies, food preparation and diet analysis, climate evolution, plants and animals may not remain for long. In other words, it is not just alternate vocabulary and a grammatical structure at stake when a language goes extinct.
Recent studies expect that, in the next generation, 3,500 languages will effectively die out. The most remote areas of the world are also adopting modernisation. Furthermore, our communication methods are some of the first to take over as we “educate” those living in less developed areas to the current modern standards.
Language goes Extinct Every Month
The most extreme predictions, forecast to occur by the end of this century at a rate of one per month, state that 90% of the world’s current languages will be in danger, if not completely extinct. Therefore, documenting the world’s languages is particularly a gigantic task that linguists globally are scrambling to complete before it’s too late. However, one researcher, David Harrison, believes there is no record for over 85% of the world’s languages. In fact, the sheer volume of work and the short time frame make this an onerous undertaking.
The International Congress of Linguists recognises this rapid deterioration of linguistic diversity as a crisis. The United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations are also making these facts known through world language recognition programmes and compilations of endangered languages.
As the world’s economy shrinks and communications speed up, our need to have common languages in which to communicate has outweighed the benefits of diverse expression. Currently, the most dominant languages include Arabic, English, Spanish and Mandarin, simply because they have the most native speakers globally.
But what if your native language goes extinct? Is it Japanese, Hindi or Portuguese? Does it make sense to teach your children and grandchildren the language that you inherited? Or do you encourage them to study English as a Second Language? If enough people choose to speak in the home the same language taught in schools, heard in the media and used internationally, it is easy to see how easily languages can become endangered in only one generation.
Just think: Saving the scrapbooks and letters from an older relative might not even make sense! It’s likely that future family members won’t be able to understand them anyway, without hiring professional translators.
Professional Translation Services
At Renaissance Translations, we take our role in sustaining linguistic diversity very seriously. If you assign us a work on a unique combination of languages or a project that could save critical information, we’ll give extra attention to this project. Let us preserve your cultural heritage by translating and protecting your family heirlooms.