In every linguistic class that I have taken during my academic career at Michigan State, we have always discussed the dangers and consequences of language loss. This class has really stressed the idea that language is so much more than words and meanings, but is a cultural entity that includes different kinds of communication. Language not only includes the grammatical rules, but the repertoires, dialects, and history of the people that speak it. Therefore, losing a language does not mean just losing the verbal communication, but a whole cultural system and history of the people who made and spoke it. I personally believe that having a diverse world filled with hundreds of different languages is what makes our world go around. The cultures and differences make us human, and having different languages teaches us to overcome obstacles in communication to connect with one another. I think that having one spoken language would definitely make things easier, since all kinds of communication would be translated and people with all kinds of backgrounds would always be understood. However, just because it is easier does not mean that it would be better. Even with hundreds of languages we are able to communicate with people all over the world, so just switching to one language would be unnecessary and inconsiderate of those with rare and generational languages.
The people who grew up with English would be able to benefit from a worldwide standard of English, since they would not have to learn a whole other language and abandon something that they’ve known forever. If I was losing my own language, I would feel like an outcast. I would feel that people don’t appreciate my culture and language for what it is, obsessed with making everything conformed. It reminds me a little of the lecture of AAE, and how people who disregard it as a language or try to change it are devaluing the people who speak it. Languages were created for so many different reasons, and trying to eliminate them do more damage than one may think.
I think if I was faced with the situation of English being destroyed, I would definitely fight to try and reverse the process. I think that I would also end up continuing to speak it at home, since English is a part of who I am and how I communicate. I think raising awareness for minority languages could also help prevent extinction, since knowledge has power. If people are aware of how a language impacts or embodies a people, they would be less willing to destroy it.
This class was very different than I had imagined it to be. Going into it, I had expected another linguistic class, or a combination of LIN401 and LLT346. However, the content surprised me, and I found it very interesting to learn about. I have never taken an online class before, so at first the video lectures were not my favorite. However, I found the professors easy to listen to, and I was easily able to take notes to refer back to. I really liked the sections about children and language, since those sections really applied to my future as an elementary teacher. I’m glad I was able to take this class, because I feel like I have a well-rounded approach to language and its relationship with culture and communication.