The Survival of Language Depends How Often Its Spoken

The Survival of Language Depends How Often Its Spoken

Document details
Category: Linguistics Essay
Subcategory: Historical Linguistics
Words: 486
Pages: 2

Approximately 7,000 languages exist in the world today. Scientistsestimate that by the year 2100, only 200 languages will remain. Languagescan go extinct for a variety of reasons. In the modern world, lesser knownlanguages are often overtaken by more dominant languages. Other languagesare spoken by such few people, they simply go extinct once the remainingindividuals are no longer living. Languages can only survive if peopledocument them and continue to speak them. In a world where 85 of the global population speak one or more of only100 languages, it is often surprising to learn that thousands of languagesexist in the world. Many of these languages are found in indigenouspopulations. Approximately, 400 Native American languages existed beforethe European arrival to the New World. It is estimated that only around 175of those languages are still spoken today and many of these languages arelikely to go extinct in the near future, due to only a small number ofelders continuing to speak some of these languages. The extinction of some of these languages were exacerbated bygovernment policy. In Eastern Siberia, the Russian government has enactedpolicies to force locals to discontinue speaking minority languages. In theUnited States, up until a few decades ago, government policy forbid NativeAmerican children from speaking indigenous languages in U.S. governmentschools. Those that were caught speaking indigenous languages were severelypunished. The Native American Languages Act of 1990 officially declared asgovernment policy that Native Americans had the right to use their ownlanguages. It gave Indian Tribes the authority to declare an officiallanguage. If you speak a minority language, there is a strong incentive to learnthe dominant language of the country or region you live in. The dominantlanguage is the language that is spoken in schools, business, television,etc. To receive an education and to get a job, you need to learn thedominant language. This forces many speakers of minority languages to learnand speak multiple languages. Often...

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