What do we gain or lose when languages go extinct? Language is the most important aspect of language for humans. Because languages are alive and always changing, they are intertwined with identity and culture. As people migrate and move to different areas, some languages split and converge to create new languages, while others die out and adopt more common and popular languages. According to Park’s lecture, half of the world’s languages are considered endangered.
The origin of a language is what defines it, differing based on cultural background. The loss of a language can occur for many reasons, some of which are negative toward society. When a language dies out, it can occur by two ways. The native species dying out, or the transition toward a more popular language. A loss of a language in a certain region can tie in to a loss of culture. Languages are rich of culture and background of the specific area in which it was derived.
When a change of occurs, the words, phrases, and names of things that define the region are lost, or translated in a different way. In many cases, the ability to communicate something that was unique to the area is now forgotten. Likewise, story may be affected. A loss of language by a certain group dying out, may lose any translation of historical events documented by that culture. The loss of language can also lead to a loss of scripture, meaning the ability to read that language.
If anything has been written in the past, there is a chance that its historical significance can be lost in translation. When this occurs, history may be altered or unknown. The loss of a language also means the adoption of something new. In most cases this means the conformity of a smaller language losing importance and a more popular or common one taking its place among the people that it influences. This can be a good sign in terms of communication because it is a natural form of breaking a language barrier.
As more people migrate to the usage of Chinese, Spanish, and English, we begin to grow in terms of understanding. The spread of a language allows for more communication amongst its speakers. This is especially important in terms of trade. Communication is a key part of allowing trade. Without a language barrier, trade becomes more open and thus allows a community to flourish with more goods and better technology.