How languages shape our understanding of the world

There are currently about 7,000 languages spoken around the world. It is estimated that by the end of this century as many as 90% of them will have become extinct. Some people might think that the fewer languages there are spoken, the more readily people will understand each other and that ideally we should all speak the same language. The divisions of Babel would be gone. But as rational as this perspective might sound, it overlooks the degree to which humanity is further impoverished each time a language is lost — each time a unique way of seeing the world vanishes. To understand the value of language diversity it’s necessary to recognize the ways in which each language serves as a radically different prism through which its speakers engage with life. … [click on title to read the rest]

Powered by

Up ↑