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what happens when a language dies

what happens when a language dies

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Few of us consider what happens when a language dies. Though some of us may think how we speak is as much a part of the world as we are, the strength of a language is completely reliant on the amount of people speaking it. Once those people are gone, there is no one left to carry the torch, and that language may fade like a sputtering flame. It is exactly the fear of this that inspired the PSLI (People’s Linguistic Survey of India) to fight for the preservation of their country’s most important resource. In the last five decades alone, india has lost over 250 languages, with another 400 at risk of the same. The sole purpose of the PSLI has been to find and record these languages before the last speaker passes. To them, a language is more than a series of words used to convey meaning. The PSLI sees language as a cultural perspective, and not just a manner of speaking. Language is the currency of our thoughts, and when that currency is used to its end, there is no replenishing it. Chairman of the PSLI, Ganesh N Devy, feels he is doing all he can for the future of his language and his people. He likens the importance of a language to the smaller things we rarely consider. “A poet doesn’t create a word on a page. It takes decades, 100 years doing one kind of work to build words and meaning.”

Language is our most important asset. Not only does it help us to form tighter bonds, it helps to build communities, and bring us together.

Language is our most important asset. Not only does it help us to form tighter bonds, it helps to build communities, and bring us together. With our words we have built towns, which grew to cities, and those evolved into nations. Our world is the result of decades worth of words, and if we let some vanish from the conversation, how will that affect the rest of us?

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