Monday, October 22, 2007


Just to be fair and balanced, here is an opposing opinion about the diversity of languages and the loss thereof:

War as We Babble On: "

In the 'The exodus from the Tower of Babel,' Marco Visscher writes in Ode magazine that it's probably a good thing for world peace that 50 percent of the world's 7,000 languages are threatened with distinction. Contrary to the alarm sounded by the National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute, Visscher's brief commentary suggests that, 'just as extinction of several European currencies ultimately yielded economic and practical advantages, the same applies--to an extent--to the extinction of languages.'

Parents in Lausitz, on the border of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, would rather teach their kids German than traditional Sorbic simply because German will help them' get on in the world. A forgotten language should be seen as signalling rather than causing the loss of cultural identity.

Language was conceived so people could understand one another. In a world in which people are increasingly connected and work in close co-operation, it is only logical that the need for local languages would fade.

More to the point, less confusion in our Tower of Babel is conducive to world peace. How different might things be if Israelis and Palestinians could--literally--understand each other?

Well, just ask the Catholic and Protestants in Northern Ireland. What's the optimum number of languages we need to go extinct? 6,999?


(Via Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments.)

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