Friday, February 20, 2009


I’ve edited some of the information, but this is the essence of an Associated Press story out of Paris and the genesis of this post.

“PARIS (AP) — Only one native speaker of Livonian remains on Earth, in Latvia. The Alaskan language Eyak went extinct last year when its last surviving speaker passed away.
Those are just two of the nearly 2,500 languages that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, says are in danger of becoming extinct or have recently disappeared. That's out of a total of 6,000 world languages.
A new language atlas says 200 languages have become extinct in the last three generations, and another 199 languages have fewer than 10 speakers left.”

I am saddened that languages are either becoming or are now extinct. In order to understand our collective cultural future, we must have knowledge of our linguistic past and when a language becomes extinct so does the nuance of its specific history.

But then again, I am saddened too that the English language we use today in every day communication has become so perverted that at times I cannot understand what someone is saying to me. No wonder they say, “you know what I’m sayin’” in every other sentence.

Ask nearly any student, high school or college, to diagram the parts of speech or describe a simple declarative sentence and you will get a blank look.

What happened?

We have dumbed down the elegance of speech into prattle where grunts, syllable elimination and a rhythmic beat seemingly convey a quasi-poetic ablution of how one feels.

Language is the grace of a society. It is the elegance of sophisticated communication and clear conversation. It is the archive of great literature. It is the essence of understanding and the language of peace, creativity and harmony.

We need precise language. We need people who love it, embrace it, share it with eloquence and who will not abandoned it to colloquial poppycock.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As Shakespeare sayith, "Sometimes when I am Stvck for a rhyme, I new-mint a Worde because I jvst want to get the Damned script ovt the fvcking doore." And thus, the language, always and ever evolving...

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation