When a language…
I listened to a TED talk last night that I thought was very interesting regarding language.
When I listened to this talk I distinctly remembered a comment left on a random language blog I was reading about revitalizing indigenous languages. The gist of this particular comment was saying that:
It wasn’t so bad to have less indigenous speakers and have more of the population learn the mainstream language. The indigenous people gain so much with learning English even though they lose their own language (it might have been Spanish now that I think of it, referring to the indigenous populations in Mexico, Central and South America).
Now… my emotions ran wild with this.
Once a language is gone, an entire culture is lost! Of course it is bad.
What I couldn’t do was formulate an argument that would convince this particular commenter otherwise. At the time I wasn’t thinking of what the mainstream loses? They lose seemingly nothing. I am sure that the commenter was not thinking of loses on both sides; only a loss and gain on the indigenous end.
Now I am thinking differently thanks to this TED Talk. The quote I walked away with is, “When a language dies we don’t know what we lose with that language.”