When I first signed up to take this class, I had no idea what to expect. I thought that I would be learning about different cultures each week, and learn about how they use their language, where their language is derived from, and the intersect between language and culture. Low and behold seven weeks later, and I feel like I’ve come out the end of this course knowing more than I ever imagined. There are many intersects of language and culture- it’s not singular. That’s the most important thing I’ve learned throughout this course. I never thought of language as something that’s simple. As someone that is bilingual, I am able to immerse myself in both English and Arabic and see how users of both languages are able to interact using different words that translate to different meanings.
For example, Arabic speakers use the word “yalla” in many different situations. The word “yalla” translates to many different things depending on how you say it within a sentence and situation. If you’re in a rush, you can say yalla. In this situation, “yalla” will be translated to: hurry up. However, you can use yalla to also express excitement. In this situation, saying “yalla” will translate to: let’s go!
I can’t imagine a situation in which a language you have grown to know and love become endangered. I am saddened to learn of a native language within my own home state of Michigan has become endangered. We lose a lot of things when a language goes extinct. Some of these were discussed in lecture. We lose diversity, identity, history and our connections to past communities, and the sum of all human knowledge. I think it’s a hard question to answer whether or not we benefit from having many languages. Of course, I think it’s great in the sense where you are able to understand ones culture and their background better. However, there’s a chance that the language and the stories and culture that come along with it may get endangered and go extinct, which is a very scary thought. However, I don’t think it would be easier if we all spoke the same language. As we have learned in this course, language effects our mental and physical state. If we all spoke the same language, we would all act the same. Essentially, we would become robots. I love the diversity that comes along with a foreign language. If English was a minority language and was threatened, I would be extremely scared. Even as a bilingual speaker, English is still my native language. Like you, I would lose my main source of communication among my community and the country in which I live. I would definitely teach English in schools to both children and adults.
I think it’s important that language is instilled within someone at a young and early age. When I was younger and went to Arabic school, I spoke beautiful Arabic and was able to read it fairly fluently. However, after I stopped attending Arabic school and meeting up with my Arabic tutor, I lost a lot of what I had previously learned. It took me to take Arabic my freshman year of college to gain back some of the knowledge that had escaped me.
I thought this course was fantastic. It could be overwhelming at some points because I personally find that the best way to succeed in online courses is to make sure you do all of the work required in one sitting. With that being said, I was able to learn so much throughout the 7 weeks of this course and am very thankful I was able to take it!