Linguistic diversity creates a sense of cultural identity in an increasingly individualistic world and should therefore be preserved
In many ways, language provides a sense of identity. We establish our identity through our use of language. Language is so deeply embedded in culture that cultural identity is defined to a great extent in terms of language. In a more and more globalizing and individualistic world, this means that the loss of one’s language would mean the loss of one’s culture. Maintaining one’s linguistic integrity can protect one’s cultural identity.
In the past few years, projects and networks for maintaining minority languages have been put back on the map. The world begins to realize that we have to take action, in order to prevent extinction of these minority languages.
However, many different voices can be heard on this topic. Critics of cultural identity state that an identity based upon difference does nothing but divide society. They argue that individuals get a greater sense of shared citizenship out of cosmopolitanism.
In this position paper I will defend the following hypothesis: Linguistic diversity creates a sense of cultural identity in an increasingly individualistic world and should therefore be preserved.
“To have another language is to possess a second soul”, Charlemagne said. The way I see it, this means that learning another language opens a door to another culture. Language is inextricably connected to culture. Although Krauss (1992) estimates that “50% of languages could die in the next 100 years and that in the long term 90% of the world languages could die”, there is a growing awareness of the necessity to sustain minority languages.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen states that “Globalization entails both processes of homogenization and processes of heterogenization: it makes us more similar and more different at the same...
Bibliography: Eriksen, Thomas Hylland, Globalization: The Key Concepts, Oxford: Berg, 2007.
Gans, Chaim, The Limits of Nationalism, Cambridge: University Press, 2003.
Krauss, Michael E. (1992). The World 's Languages in Crisis. Language 68(1).4-10.
Le, Quynh and Thao Le, Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Identity: A Global Perspective. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011.
Minkov, Michael, Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011.
The Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) (website). http://www.npld.eu/about-us/objectives-and-key-principles/.
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