Week 7 Post – Milano

This week’s lectures were very interesting to me and brought up a lot of questions and points of view that I had not considered being a speaker of a more dominant language. Though the idea of language death is not new to me, I had not critically thought about the impact that losing these languages would have on me. When we lose a language we lose not only diversity in our society but also different points of view or ways of seeing the world. This was talked about in the lecture, and it makes sense. As we discussed in the last section, language shapes how we think and perceive the world around us. I might have a very different perception of certain topics than a person who speaks a native language. Because of this I do believe that our society and world benefit greatly from having many different languages. Different perspectives are needed to solve problems and now in the information age, spreading these ideas are much easier than ever before.

I cannot argue that it would not make things easier if we all spoke the same language. Miscommunication would be decreased however; the easiest solution is not always the correct or best solution. As a species we’d lose parts of culture and history from all these different languages. If we all spoke one language like English, the people who grew up speaking English or have had the language embedded in their culture and ideology would benefit the most. They would not have to worry about communicating to other people nor would they have to worry about losing a part of their culture to fit in with the norm.

If English was a minority language that was threatened with extinction I could not possibly fathom what it would feel like.  I might feel a sense of overarching dread knowing that people in my community might not speak the same language as I do, having to switch to a majority language to get services or possibly a job would be frustrating. Also if I was someone who grew up speaking English but then slowly stopped in order to fit in with the majority might make me feel guilty like I was betraying my heritage. The steps I could take to make sure that it continued as a spoken language would be spreading awareness about it. Encouraging younger children to speak it and possibly get a program in the local school to teach English as a language in order to ensure that the younger generation comes in contact with it.

All in all, I enjoyed this class immensely. Though I was probably aware on a subconscious level about certain topics like power in language, I did not consciously think about it in my everyday interactions. I believe that this course has made me more aware of my own language and interactions with people and what implications certain actions or phrases might have. I don’t really know what I was expecting for this course to be honest. Truthfully I was looking forward to it, but I was not sure what we’d learn about or how this would actually help in my future career as an educator. However, I think that I will find this information to be invaluable in my future career, especially since my dream job is to work in bilingual education.

One thought on “Week 7 Post – Milano

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I especially liked how you mentioned that the perceptions of people who did not grow up speaking English may be different from yours, or mine, since that is the language that we grew up speaking. As we have seen throughout the semester, language plays a huge role in shaping how we view the world around us, so it would make sense that different languages create different perceptions of the world. These different perspectives just go to show that, as you stated, society and the world as a whole do indeed benefit from having such a diverse set of languages spoken, and what a crime it is when languages are extinct. These different perceptions and identities are lost when the language is lost, and it is a struggle to try to get the language back.

    I can definitely see your point of view when it comes to the amount of miscommunications being decreased if we all spoke the same language, such as English. However, I do not know how much easier everyone speaking the same language would really be. As we saw in the film “Do you speak American”, even people who all speak English speak it differently. Vowels and consonants are pronounced differently all over England, and there are many different dialects of English right here in the United States. One example that was provided in the film was that of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Here, even though they speak English, to someone who does not live in this area would potentially have a very difficult time understanding what was being said due to differences in pronunciation.

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