The disappearance of language was a featured article and overall topic in this month's National Geographic.
The planet is losing a large number of mostly native languages to globalization and the westernizing effects it is having on many parts of the planet.
This got me thinking about the "unifying effect" globalization is supposed to achieve upon it's implementation. More importantly, many questions have begun to spin around in my head regarding the disappearance of certain languages and how it affects our government, our society and the richness of our life.
I mean, lets be realistic about something, history has shown us that like empires, language has come and gone or changed. A perfect example would be Latin. Used by the known world at it's peak, the Romans built an empire on the back of the Latin language and conquered the world with it. What the sword did not strike, the language covered like a blanket, bringing forth followers toward a sense of enlightenment.
Nothing has changed since the time of the Roman Empire compared to now, except maybe the accuracy and deadliness of the weapons we use. Our current state of affairs still consists on the presumption that the world needs enlightenment and with that we have an era of great change that our generation will witness whether we like it or not. In today's world you are either speaking English or Mandarin and if these two are not your mother tongue, than it is likely that your working on them.
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone really and one might question if such a topic really deserves a blog post to discuss it.
So, I guess the question I cannot really answer myself would be: Should we be worried about a world without many languages? Does a singular language bring forth more unity and a sense of peace compared to multiple languages and differences?
I tend to look at globalization with a lot of strife as it seems to benefit the few at the top as opposed to the many that the idea once idealistically promised. However, I do not see harm in the current trends that see our world unify under one or two main languages. History will continue to move forward and with it the winds of change will push us along, so shouldn't we adapt and unite as opposed to fighting what essentially seems like an uphill battle?
As our planet enters the space age, would it not make sense to have a single language that not only identifies us, but also pushes us to not only declare peace, but also work toward a stronger future? In the end, you rarely see English speaking countries that are involved in trade go to war with each other right?
Although this may seem very realist and depressing, I shine some light on the subject as there is still hope in the world. With great organizations like National Geographic and Google, language will be far from lost in the coming future.
I wouldn't be surprised if Google is working on a data storage system right now that will capture every word and every sense of almost every language currently on the brink of extinction....and well, if they aren't already doing this...do not take my idea, I call dibs!!!!
With a rise in education being seen throughout the world and the current age of enlightenment beginning, I forsee a future where our children continue to look at the stars with wonder and curiosity and where no single child walks a path using only one language, but two or three or maybe even four! Technology has made the world a smaller place and with it's continuous revolutions, has broken down many of the barriers that have stopped people from different parts of the world from "mingling."
So, I end this post with more optimism than my words can contain and leave you with the hope, no the guarantee that all is not lost and although our societies are drifting toward singular languages, it does not mean we will lose ourselves in the change, only redefine who we are and what we consider this beautiful planet of ours. Italian will always remain the language of food, French the language of love, Spanish the language of dance and English and Mandarin the languages of business! ;P
Until next time!