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Preserving Language Diversity

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The world has an estimated 6,000 plus languages. Disturbingly, by the end of the century, half of those languages will die out according to a UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The article, Preserving Language Diversity, reports smaller indigenous cultures are at a risk of losing distinct and group identity as a result of reduced linguistic diversity. Today it is possible to safeguard vanishing native languages and language diversity with tools such as the computer. Under conditions of marginalization, discrimination and exclusion, language is vital for small minority communities to maintain distinct group and cultural identity.

Language is an important means of reinforcing independence, national unity and territorial integrity. Cultural identity is established and maintained through language. Language is a cultural right. It is important to preserve language diversity not just for the language in danger of extinction, but for all mankind.

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Our adaptive process is achieved by communication. First, the loss of cultural information captured by the language’s lexicon is lost when the language dies.

For example, an indigenous language can have a lexical distinction between two different medicinal plants in the Amazon. Ultimately, the communication between people in diverse environments is important for humankind survival. The loss of linguistic information reduces the amount of data used to understand how language works. Scientists use linguistic data to understand language and brain function impairments like dyslexia, hearing loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Linguistic anthropologist have found that minority languages are at risk because the younger generations are abandoning their native language and learning the mainstream language for better educational and economical opportunities. Most indigenous cultures lack literacy skills like reading and writing to preserve and maintain their language. The few that do write, cannot afford the costs of publishing.

Today, computers are used to preserve and maintain vanishing languages. Also, with the advancement of word processing programs, special characters of a native language can correctly convey a languages’ phonetics. With this technology, native peoples can learn, write and teach in their native tongue without costly publishing processes. Computers can now be used as a tool for creating extensive dictionaries to document and teach literacy. Utilizing computers, a culture does not lose oral tradition nor language tone, but gains literacy and opportunity for bilingualism. Instead of abandoning the native language, indigenous generations now have the opportunity to keep sovereignty, document history, and maintain identity with computers.

Cite this Preserving Language Diversity

Preserving Language Diversity. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/preserving-language-diversity/

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