Preserving languages is important as it is connected to an identity. The International Language Service inc. reports there are 573 known extinct languages, such as Latin, meaning they are no longer spoken or studied. While the majority of the lost languages are from tribes, dialects and other lesser-known languages risk extinction. This is incredibly sad as most of these languages date back thousands of years.
Globalization may be one factor contributing to the extinction of languages. People are moving and relocating more often, necessitating the use of a shared language. The most commonly used language is English. This has its disadvantages as it forces everybody to express their most fundamental thoughts and encourages people to practice and learn English rather than another language. Being bilingual or multilingual is a valuable advantage in the workplace and in social settings because it helps articulate your full thoughts and feelings.
Another reason languages are disappearing is as an indirect result of immigration. In the late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States, many immigrants began speaking their new country’s language when they arrived at Ellis Island in order to seek social and economic advantages and escape prejudice. As they attempted to integrate into their new culture, future generations missed out on the opportunity to learn a second language. This mentality still exists today, but there is an increasing demand for people to be multilingual since it is now considered a skill.
Solution 1: Continuing to teach younger generations endangered languages
In the hopes that they will continue to use and exchange languages, teaching younger generations is one way to retain languages. While some dialects are considered “useless” because “no one speaks it anymore,” dialects are more than just a language; they are part of an identity. Educating people about the language’s roots will also aid in its preservation.
Solution 2: Practice accepting new cultures
This is critical to our society and the preservation of these languages. After the cultural revolution in the United States this past summer, several schools around the country have pledged to expand their curriculum. In addition, University College Dublin has been working on the Intercultural Development Programme, which is the “first and only program of its kind in Ireland.” While some languages have gone extinct and are hard to revive, there is still hope for the remaining languages on the endangered list.
About the Irish language and people’s fluency from the Central Statistics Office: While Irish is taught in schools, the “total number of persons (aged 3 and over) who could speak Irish in April 2016 was 1,761,420, representing 39.8% of the population. They reported a decrease of 13,017 from the 2011 figure of 1,774,437. More females than males identified themselves as being able to speak Irish with 968,777 female speakers (55%) compared with 792,643 males (45%), a pattern repeated from previous censuses (excluding not stated).” Irish Gaelic is considered the number one language going extinct according to Mental Floss. The Irish Government’s efforts to preserve the language include incorporating the language class into the curriculum and keeping signs up with both English and Gaelic languages.