The death of language… sort off.

The death of language… sort off.

Recently I had a discussion with friends about the abuse of language (Dutch in our case) by the youth. Things like Internet short-hand and their abbreviations like 133t speak or lolspeak have changed the appearance of language exceptionally. My friends are not so charmed by this phenomenon and see it as a loss of identity and culture.

I am of the opinion that language can not be created. It evolves. Languages change with every new generation. New words are invented or borrowed from other languages. Sometimes by necessity, sometimes because it is easier and sometimes because it is just plain funny. Now, try reading English or Dutch for that matter but written hundred or even fifty years ago. It is readable but not without effort. My point being that languages are destined to change. Better yet, they need to change to suit the present. We are living in exciting times. Everything around us is changing. New discoveries and inventions are made every single day. Then why should language stay exactly the same? Like children, humanity is still growing up and with that does their way of communicating.

We most not forget that we are also living in an international world. Your country and language are not alone, nor is it the most important. We depend on each other and things like the internet (in the past that would be ships and aeroplanes) brings us all closer together and if we want to understand each other it would be very impractical to learn every language. Instead it is easier to stick to one or maybe two. Better yet, it is more beneficial than holding on to your own slang. I don’t see how your Dutch blog can get a worldwide acknowledgment when 97 % of the world can’t read it. Or how about your webshop. Do you want 16 millions potential costumers or 6 billion? For the greater part this is already happening which only proves that I am on the right track here. But for one you shouldn’t try to consciously stop it because you can’t and you really don’t want to. Think about how you would feel if one of your grandchildren talks to you about his schoolday and you can’t understand the shit he’s saying.

I also never understood why the dissapearance of language would be a cultural loss. That means that everything that disappears or changes is a cultural loss. In that case, why did we ever leave our caves? And why would it impact your identity. Wether you speak a language with 16 million or 6 billion others doesn’t really matter, now does it? Would it change someones identity if he’d started wearing loafers instead of sneakers? I doubt it. I remember that a few years ago Spain abolished the siesta because humanity invented the airco. Now that is what I call an un-conservative progress in culture that can only be applauded to.

And the matter of fact is that languages don’t really get lost anymore. That a language isn’t used doesn’t mean that the knowledge of that language also vanishes. Right now there exist like millions of dictionaries and other documents. Not to mention the many, many books all over the world. Does one really think this all would be thrown away? The past preserves the culture and will always be there at a hands reach (looking at you WWW).

I conclude that languages only exist by the grace of boundaries but as boundaries disappear languages will become uniform. If you can’t handle that I suggest you go live on an island somewhere and stick to your own. For all I know there is no good reason to try and keep 7000 languages and God knows how much dialects intact.

About the Author

Long haired, tattooed and with an attraction to everything not so ordinary. Loves the world, not so all of its inhabitants. Open minded, floaty, down to earth and a bit of everything else... Likes to spend time reading, traveling, sports, boozing, gaming, watching movies and more. Yep, that sums it up quite right!