Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Magister Question & my answer !!!

1- The question:

The increasing contemporary globalization has had a dramatic impact on the diversity of languages worldwide. What should be done to prevent the extinction of many endangered minority languages, and preserve the human cultural diversity?

2- My humble answer:

An easy, short-cut definition that may be given to globalization is the widespread idea of making the world a narrow place, wherein a technological, political, economic & cultural exchange is made easier. It may also be regarded as an attempt by powerful organizations, governments or the leading powers of the world to impose certain ideologies, concepts & rules to guarantee a rapid growth of their economies & preserve their own interests.

The impact of globalization on languages and the threat it represents is so clear & obvious that most of the world countries took measures to prevent any further damage or possible extinction of their languages.
No one would argue or impose the fact that English is the language most growing & widely used worldwide. According to a late study almost 75% of the websites in the internet use English in their pages. Another statistic given by the "Organisation Internationale de Documentation" states that 85% out of 7000 articles published everyday are in English.
Furthermore, English is being used as a medium of instruction either in schooling systems of for higher education. In countries like Indonesia & Hong Kong, for instance, English has been adopted to serve as a medium of instruction in schools. Similarly, in Sultan Qubous University - Oman, students should pass an English test required for their admission.
UNESCO, being highly influenced bu Micheal E. Krauss, defines an endangered language as one that will not be used by kids in 100 years. An estimate of 65% out of the 6000 languages used worldwide are under the threat of extinction.
The initial four amendments proved by UNESCO that deal with language rights & human linguistic rights talked about language preservation & the right of individuals to choose & use a language.
Different methods can be used to prevent the extinction of a language or a variety, such as revitalization or what is also known as language revival. It is a process through which a political power or an organization increases the users of a certain language. Language planning could be used here as a tool to promote a given language & widen its use in society by using it as a medium of instruction in schools, or through its integration in other domains (administration, commerce, the army...)
Another way can be through the documentation of the language & its cultural heritage (songs, religious texts, folk stories...) and its partial integration into other languages through the use of some vocabulary items (code-switching).

Last but not least, it is worth to mention that nations in their quest for development seeking a solid position in international commerce to build a strong economy should not abandon or neglect their cultural heritage or put minority languages into a threat. Paving the way for a better future suggests by no means turning our back to our culture & our traditions & customs, after all " a nation with no past, has little hope for a better future".

NB: I hope my humble essay would make it, meet the needs & hit the target.

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