Namaste, Ce mai faci?, Guten Tag!, Ciao, Bonjour, nǐ hǎo and ¡Hola! are some of the beautiful ways people around the globe greet one another. Language is an expression of art, a means of communication, and an important asset to diversity. However, one would be hard-pressed to find a native speaker of Livonian for which to say Tēriņtš! This is because Livonian has recently become extinct (CharterBerlin, 2013). The loss of Livonian and other languages is concerning for many reasons, one of which is the narrowing of diversity.
Diversity within a group is the differences among the individual people (Pennsylvania State University, 2017). Additionally, diversity has two parts: surface level and deep level (Harrison, Price, and Bell, 1998 as cited in The Pennsylvania State University, 2017). Language is an asset to diversity as it presents value to both the surface and deep levels of diversity (Cisneros, 1997).
Moreover, diversity is important for organizations in a globalized world (Why is diversity so important, n.d.). Subsequently, endangered languages could pose a threat to the quality of diversity. The criteria for endangerment status of language is one that it is likely to lose any remaining speakers within the next century (Woodbury, n.d.). This brings me back to wonder: is a narrowing of diversity to blame for the endangerment of languages?
According to Woodbury (n.d.), the answer is yes, the increase in creating a globalized society does impact the decline of minority languages. For example, when the decline of native speakers of a minority language reaches vital lows, then the people who possess a deep-level diversity with the language will tend to experience a sense defeat. Moreover, the rise in popularity of mainstream regional language—such as English and Spanish—lead minority-language speakers to feel pressured to assimilate. Overtime, this leads to fewer native speakers of the minority-language and a disconnect with the heritage of the language.
The initiative of globalization is affecting diversity, including the variety of languages. Yet, 49% of respondents feel there should be a single, global language (Should there be one global language, n.d.). Although, per Woodbury (n.d.), if the world ever became mono-linguistic, it would take tens-of-thousands of years to recreate differences within and between groups that could ever resemble the kind of diversity we have right now. Subsequently, diversity—as an entity—could become endangered itself. This idea suggests that the importance of preserving language and diversity stretches far beyond organizational reasons. It seems that the overpowering of minority languages could eventually impact the entire global dynamic.
On the other hand, there is something that can be done about this rapid loss of language (The Day, n.d.). For instance, people could preserve endangered languages by studying and creating records of them. In addition, communities could establish support systems to instill the value of different languages in students (Woodbury, n.d.). Perhaps, through preserving language, one would be preserving diversity.
CharterBerlin, D. (2013, June 5). Death of a language: last ever speaker of Livonian passes away aged 103. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article3782596.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2013_06_05
The Pennsylvania State University (2017). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1826457/modules/items/21654095
Cisneros, H. G. (1997). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/ampu/cisneros.html
Why is diversity so important (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from https://www.reference.com/world-view/diversity-important-32cd76d567ddff1c
Woodbury, A. C. (n.d.). Linguistic Society of America. What is an Endangered Language? Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/what-endangered-language
Harrison, D. A., Price, K. H., & Bell, M. P. (1998). Beyond relational demography: Time and the effects of surface- and deep-level diversity on work group cohesion. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 96–107.
Should there be one global language? (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-there-be-one-global-language
The Day (n.d.). Modern tech saves ancient tongues from extinction. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://theday.co.uk/health/modern-tech-saves-ancient-tongues-from-extinction