Why Languages Die? What Are Methods To Revitalize Dead Languages?

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. (At least 250 words)

There are about 6500 to 7000 languages spoken in different geographic locations of world. Languages are one of the most effective ways of communication and business across the world. As nothing is immortal in this world so languages also die out after a certain period of time. A language is considered “dead” when it’s no longer the native language of a community of people.

There are many reasons why languages die. These reasons can be political, economic, cultural or environmental in nature. 

Speakers of a certain language may prefer some other language because of economic and social benefits. For instance, Speakers of a minority language may decide that it is better for their children’s future to teach them a language that opens up job opportunities for them and allow them to survive and communicate globally. Likewise, the vast majority of second-generation immigrants to the United States do not speak their parents’ languages fluently. It is economically and culturally more beneficial for them to go for English.

Becoming a bilingual can also be the reason that a native language be ignored intentionally or unintentionally. Many languages die out gradually as successive generations of speakers become bilingual and then begin to lose proficiency in their traditional languages. This often happens when speakers seek to learn a more-prestigious language in order to relocate, work and communicate with the people of more advanced nations. 

Apart from these reasons, languages also die when its speakers are dead due to some calamity. Climate change can be a cause of language death. For instance, if a certain area or a country is hit by calamity like earthquake or heavy floods causing the death of native speakers and hence death of their language. Latin language is by far the most well-known dead language. Latin was an Indo-European language that started in Italy, but spread with the Roman Empire throughout much of Europe and parts of northern Africa. Latin essentially “died out” with the fall of the Roman Empire. It was later transformed into other languages like Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.

Languages can be revitalized through various methods. First, there is total-immersion method for the revival of a language. Immersion in language learning is the situation where the learner spends time in an environment operating solely in the target language. In this way, the learner is completely surrounded by the language that he wants to learn. The learner hear, speak and learn the language in everyday contexts. This is how they learn the new language as naturally as their mother tongue – without any pressure or vocabulary stress. For example, a non-English-speaking French child moves to England and is placed in a regular English- speaking classroom and is taught exclusively in English in the same way as the English-speaking children.

Second, bilingual method is the combination of the Direct method and the Grammar translation method. It suits both rural and urban schools and makes use of linguistic method. It makes Pupil learn two languages at a time and saves time as well as energy. 

A language can also be preserved if a community of people be convinced to use a vulnerable language to speak. This can be done through media. If TV shows, dramas and movies be made in a vulnerable language the audience would automatically be attracted to that particular Language. Also, cultural events should be organized to revive a subdued language.

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