People abandon obscure languages to gain prosperity


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A new study has provided further proof that the main driving force behind the abandonment of obscure languages is the desire of people to gain economic wealth.

Of all the variables tested, economic growth was most strongly linked to language loss, Amano says. Two types of language loss hotspots emerged from the study, published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. One was in economically well developed regions such as northwestern North America and northern Australia; a second was in economically developing regions such as the tropics and the Himalayas. Certain aspects of geography seemed to act as a buffer or threat, Amano says. For example, recent declines appear to occur faster in temperate climates than in the tropics or mountainous regions—perhaps because it is easier to travel in and out of temperate regions, Amano says.

As is usual for most of today’s modern intellectuals, already prosperous and speaking English, the author of the article as well as the researchers themselves lament the loss of obscure languages.

Although the study is silent on the subject of interventions to help preserve endangered languages, there is a range of revitalization efforts that can serve as examples, such as the incorporation of the Hawaiian language into school curricula and daily government operations, she says.

In other words, ordinary people want to improve their lives by learning the dominant languages that provide a gateway to wealth, and these self-righteous prigs want to do whatever they can to interfere with that desire. How nice of them!

4 comments

  • wodun

    I like that there are efforts to preserve these languages but the emphasis should be on preservation through learning more than one language not on mandating that populations have to speak their hereditary language. Mandating that government agencies use Hawaiian to conduct business would only serve to put up barriers between our fellow countrymen.

    I would rather see clubs and charities devoted to speaking Hawaiian and preserving the language. They need not be located only in Hawaii either. They should be inclusive of anyone who is interested and not exclusive to those who have a certain skin color.

  • Edward

    The last time I heard of a “lost” language, I wondered why the news reporter seemed to be lamenting its loss. If the language were important enough, then the people were free to pass it from generation to generation. Since they did not, and they were free to make that choice, then it was not important to them.

    It is interesting that the lesson of the Tower of Babel is lost on this reporter. The “problem” with everyone speaking a common language was that nothing restrained the people. They had freedom to pursue anything they wanted, including prosperity. Once there were many languages and the people were scattered, there was confusion.

    Thus, the beginnings of prosperity had to wait until about 1800 AD, a time when one language was common among many or most people.

    As for Hawaii, it was my impression that the native language *is* being passed down and is regularly incorporated into the local culture. The Hawaiians already hold enough importance in the native language to keep it alive. Portions of the language have spread into “mainland” culture, such as “aloha” and “mahalo.”

  • Tom Billings

    “The last time I heard of a “lost” language, I wondered why the news reporter seemed to be lamenting its loss. If the language were important enough, then the people were free to pass it from generation to generation. Since they did not, and they were free to make that choice, then it was not important to them. ”

    That means little to the academics that trained the reporter in his/her worldview. Their interest is in maintaining 2 things.

    1.) A large number of cultures for Social Anthropology students to study, and write thesis on.

    2.) The ability to point at an alternative to the industrial culture building around the world. These can then be called superior to industrial culture in some way.

    The point is to sustain a world in which there is support for studying people through Social Anthropology. This tendency has been growing since Boaz, at the start of the 20th century.

  • Pzatchok

    What helped bring Europe and thus modern industrial man out of the dark ages was a common language. Latin. It was taught to everyone in every school. Every Catholic priest had to know it. And from that the vast majority of teachers/professors ended up knowing it.

    German was dominant for a while or at least co-dominant with English. Now its pretty much English. If China has a chance to build more colonies then the next one might be Chinese.

    Languages for sociologists and or anthropologists are stagnant things. Not changing with the times. They don’t want them to change they want them to stay the same so others can study them in their original state.
    The English language is an ever changing and adapting language. In part due to our alphabet which is very adaptable for spelling and sound. Look at any modern English dictionary and see were the word origins are from.
    Just how many French words do we use every day thinking they are English in origin? How about Spanish words? Could we ever work an American ranch without using Spanish words? Assassin is an Arabic word. Tsunami is Japanese.

    Could the Hawaiian language ever adapt to modern society and still be called Hawaiian?

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