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PRESERVATION OF MINORITY'S LANGUAGES
Language has been used as a means of communication among society members as time began. Each and every community has its own unique language which is used to convey a certain message from the sender to the recipient. For a language to be appreciated as a mean of communication among society members, it should be clear, simple to use and understandable among the users. There are approximately six thousand different languages which are used in the whole world. Such languages, are unique and distinct from each. Yagmur (2009) supports that; a language acts as a reflection or like a mirror of the society from which it originates from. For instance, a language may portray the culture and origin of a certain community.
Due to current globalization effects, language integration has constantly been taking place. This has made some languages be adopted as the major communication tools. For example, English and French languages are now being used as the major languages of communication. People who are not conversant with these languages are being termed as society laggards who do not appreciate changes. This has received some support from Jiang (2007) who adds that; this language integration has rendered some languages to be marginalized and prone of being out of existence. Such languages which are considered to be minor are usually spoken or used by communities which are minority and marginalized within the society. Various debates on whether to preserve these marginalized languages have arisen for the past decades. These minority's languages accrue various society elements like culture, religion, beliefs, behaviors and practices. These languages are like an archeological site which should be preserved. As a result, marginalized languages should be preserved because they carry with them unique aspects and ideas which are unique from other languages.
In the current world, among the six thousand used languages, approximately fifty percent of these languages are considered to be dying while forty percent are endangered. Basing on these statistics, only ten percent can be termed to comprise the safe languages in use.
Factors which have led to marginalization of some languages
One of the key elements which have led to marginalization of some languages is globalization. In these modern days, people from different geographical regions interact highly with each other. This is supported by Ushioda (2006) who acknowledges that, free trading among nations has led to adoption of a common language among traders in order to enhance communication. Apart from trading, formal education had highly contributed to the adoption of a common language. Currently, students from various nations all over the world share common education systems. For instance, the extensive use of English by a majority of nations in the world was led by the colonizers who invaded majority of these nations. The natives had to adopt the English language in order to benefit from the colonizers in one way or another. This has led to dilution of some native languages thus rendering them to be marginalized.
Why minority languages should be preserved
Minority languages should be preserved and nurtured. In every society, a certain language is used and this language form part of the culture and norms followed by those society members. In addition, a language gives a clear distinction or an identity of a certain society. For example, in Europe community, different languages are used by different societies. According to LaPonce (2004), the language used in Austria society members is different from that used in Sweden. People in Sweden have different cultures and practices from those of Austria. Since the formation of free trade agreement among the European countries, some languages from specific European regions have been marginalized. English is slowly being adopted as the major common and official language of use. This has led to loss of culture and practices which were originally held by some societies within the European region. Though culture has no financial or monetary value, it forms the foundation on how people behave within a certain society. Basing on this, loss of a language will result to a definite loss of culture. According to Hoare & Stella (2008), learning of different unique cultures has led to some major economic activities like tourism. For example, majority of European citizen visit different countries within Africa in order to learn their cultural practices. This has created some major economic activities like trading and cultural interaction. If a common language is adopted, a monotonous environment is created.
Though, a marginalized language may seem to be valueless to the majority of people who do not use it, it accrues an equivalent magnitude to its indigenous speaker and should be preserved. Such native speakers can only express themselves fully through these native languages. They can fully express their emotions, feelings, ideas and thoughts through such languages. As a result, abandonment or discrimination of these languages can acts as a denial of personal rights to these native speakers. Though these native speakers are minor within the community, they have their own rights to retain their own language. Huguet (2007) insists that, the government should work to retain the use of these languages among the society members. In addition, a language acts as an indicator of one's origin. For example, in America, the Native Americans who are known to have their origin from India are distinguished from the rest of the American members by the language they use. Though, these Native Americans are highly marginalized, they still retain their language. Through the use of their native language, these members have retained a great cohesion among themselves. Their cultural practices and beliefs are effectively bequeathed to their offspring through the use of this native language. For example, traditional doctors who had a vast knowledge on how to deal with certain ailments successfully trained their students by use of these native languages. Some of the terms used in these native languages cannot match with the emerging foreign languages. As a result, death of these native languages will automatically lead to loss of valuable resources like knowledge of such traditional medicinal practitioners.
Minority languages should be preserved and cherished. This is because; every language contains idioms, accents and ideas essential for day to day activities especially on the entertainment industry. For instance, generation of poems requires a diverse study of languages and literature. Harrison (1997) insists that these minority languages may possess the essential elements for framing of brilliant poems and related literatures. According to studies done in the United Kingdom, majority of its citizens are much interested in poems which have their origin from unique languages which are considered to be marginalized or minor. Dal & Dorian (2005) acknowledges that poems framed in commonly held languages are perceived to be monotonous and not interesting to the listener hence majority of individual are interested in learning things which are not common held and known by the society. This makes its essential to preserve these marginalized languages. Apart from poems, different songs can be formed or composed from different languages. For a song to be enticing and entertaining, it has to have a unique tune and accent which is not familiar to people. This is supported by Kouega (2008) who adds that, diversity of languages creates a room where such accents and tunes can be generated. This creates diversity in the entertainment and recreation sector. Basing on this information, people should not have a narrow focus concerning on why retain a minority language.
Minority languages should be preserved to avoid them from getting extinct. According to studies done in the United States of America, almost half of the existing languages will be extinct in the coming century. Some of the communities, which have lost their native languages feel short changed and cheated by their respective administration. For example, Romanian citizens found within the Balkan region feels short changed. This is because; their Uralic language within the region was absorbed by the commonly spoken language which is English. The cohesion bond which initially persisted among the Romanians no longer exists. Currently, Romanians feel as if they are slaves of another foreign body due to loss of their entity.
According to Ediger (1995), preservation of minority languages should be cherished to avoid the emergence of conflict. Adoption of a common language while neglecting those of minority can create some levels of conflicts. For example, the Native Americans are always in regular conflicts with white Americans. This is because; the white Americans try to enforce adoption of a common language within their community. Native Americans who are minority are not given priority within the American society. This may create a picture of discrimination where some communities having a certain language, are considered to be mightier and superior to others. To deal with issues of minority languages, the administration or the government should try and promote the existence these languages. For example, these languages should, be adopted in the education systems.
A language is a tool which is used by society members for communication. Apart from communication, a language forms a great fraction in the formation of a culture of a certain society. Loss of a certain language from a certain society will result to loss of a culture of the affected society. Diversity in the languages is thus required to maintain a diverse culture.
Maintenance of language diversity among societies will reduce the discriminatory feelings against the marginalized communities. Language maintenance promotes equality and even playing ground for society members. In addition, native language serves as a binding accessory to members who speak it. Bearing this in mind, loss of such languages will result to disintegration of society members. Therefore, to maintain the cohesive bond among these minority members, their languages should be cherished and preserved.