Languages originally started out as a medium for communications.1 as required by your publishing guidelines… In a living society, not everything can be in a harmony and one group of people could become dominant over the others. Ancient and modern migrations have left a small group of members of a society alienated. Colonization and neo-colonization in the age of the Internet continues to affect societies and eventually languages. Languages that are Lack of formal education system or tools or availability of jobs to use one’s language sometimes push native speakers to migrate to using the major languages. Lack of the right kind of resources in a language really subdue the use of any language. Out of 419 indigenous languages of India, only one—Santali—has a Wikipedia of its own.
The UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger currently lists 2,464 languages—which is half of the world’s languages—that are in danger as the use of the languages have already started to shrink or has almost reached the brink of extinction. It further categorizes languages under five major groups—a) vulnerable (592 languages), b) definitely endangered (640), c) severely endangered (537), d) critically endangered (577), and e) extinct (228). It’s important to note that 230 languages were already extinct by 1950. Regions that are home to the most number of languages are also the places where more and more languages are vanishing really quick. Papua New Guinea (832 languages, 98 in danger) and India (780 languages, 197 in danger) could be two examples to elucidate this.
With a language dying, there dies the culture of a society, the stories, songs, unique recipes and many nuances of the society. Let’s look a Yaghan language word called “Mamihlapinatapai“ which means a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin. The word is just untranslatable in any other language. Thanks to the colonization and many other real world problems—we have lost a significant portion of the world’s cultural heritage. The world, in the age of no Internet, was way much harder than it is today. Think what we could together to save these languages before they die.
- Though the basic purpose of most languages started out as a medium of communications among a group of people, it branched out—as a living lexicon of the culture of a society and a reservoir of the lifeline of the native speakers. It became an identity for a society as people started to associate with other people who speak their own language. Languages served as a device for transferring encoded messages in the time of distress and they also had use to inscribe the victory of one kingdom over another. Languages got even more importance in modern societies for politics, education and a lot more.