Globalization Helps Preserve Endangered Languages

Globalization Helps Preserve Endangered Languages. YaleGlobal. Mark Turin. December 3, 2013.

Tools of globalization like the internet, so often blamed for homogenizing the world, are also encouraging diverse lingual communities to connect and even revitalize their endangered languages. “Linguists estimate that of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages, up to half will no longer be in regular use by the end of this century,” notes Mark Turin, linguist and anthropologist. Many are indigenous languages, which “function as vehicles for the transmission of cultural traditions, environmental understandings and knowledge about medicinal plants, all at risk when elders die and livelihoods are disrupted.” Turin describes linguists’ efforts to compile archives of digitized audio, visual and other documents to ensure that these languages and the cultures they reflect do not simply vanish, their contributions going unforgotten. Globalization is often more process than intent, and the real force behind cultural homogenization, Turin maintains, is unbending beliefs reinforced by monolingualism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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