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According to National Geographic, "Every 14 days a language dies. By the year 2100, over half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth -- many of them never yet recorded -- will likely disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and how the human brain works."
It has always been my opinion that language is free and language is fluid, but those two conditions cannot be met if a language dies. But why are languages dying? Both a difficult and nearly obvious answer exists. Earth is slowly developing into a single civilization. Traditional societies and languages are dying; disappearing and waves of rapid modernization aid in the erosion of tradition. The answer cannot be left at just that however, because there are many reasons, effects, and causes intertwined in the death of a language.
This fifth element of my debate on language comes as we see Imus booted for his racist comments and as I recently viewed a youtube video of Frank Zappa defending the right to say what you want.
I have argued for learning more than one language and not restricting the official language of the US. I have discussed the true political correctness and how using language should only be restricted when it is used as hate. I have covered ebonics and what is percieved as 'standard' english. I then explored the ideas of anonymity and apathy and their impact on the credibility of language.
The deep root and anchor of language lies in its power, language has an immense degree of power. With that power comes a great responsibility.
As a fourth element of my language debate is the ideas of anonymity and apathy. The ideas of anonymity and apathy being so easy and simple to carry out is evidenced in our society everyday. Many people would rather build-up their online profiles on social networking sites, than get to meet people face-to-face and interact without a digital middleman. Apathy runs rampant in our society as more people vote for an American Idol winner than for the American President. A friend told me the other day, "I should be one of those people who are not allowed to vote, I don't know anything." These ideas are a plague on the future of our society. These two words represent double trouble for our world.
The Oakland Resolution of 1996 states in the third resolved: "BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Superintendent in conjunction with her staff shall immediately devise and implement the best possible academic program for imparting instruction to African-American students in their primary language for the combined purposes of maintaining the legitimacy and richness of such language whether it is known as "Ebonics," "African Language Systems," "Pan-African Communication Behaviors" or other description, and to facilitate their acquisition and mastery of English language skills;"
Who is to say what is the most important or accepted or standard language? Who is to say that Ebonics is not good enough and should be used as a tool to teach children 'standard' english? Why is the historically white and Western language the precedent?
With the needs to know the languages of life and learn about other peoples, and the need for your actions to speak louder than your words, there is a third element to the ways of communcation. This third element is your actual speech. I hope that your actions embody your words that come out of your mouth. This now brings us to very specifically the words we all use, the most common language of life. Do the words you use offend people? Are you politically correct in your speech? Is that speech progressive?
Last week, a press conference held on the sweltering steps of City Hall called for the recruitment of more bilingual and multilingual poll workers in New York City.
The event was covered by numerous members of the press, including NY1. The press honed in on People For the American Way's placards for multiple frames, proving once and for all that our interns are the best looking. Check out the full story and video.