What do we gain or lose when languages go extinct?
In his lecture on Thursday, April 7, Prof. Parks reported that approximately half of the world’s 6000-7000 languages were in danger of going extinct. Language extinction has been going on for some time and the rate has probably accelerated in the past 200 years.
In this assignment, we ask you to consider the effects of language extinction. What is lost when a language dies out? What do we as a species gain when we lose a language? Do individuals or humans as a species gain anything when the number of languages decreases? What?
Your job in this assignment is to write brief essay in which you give both:
- Two reasons to be concerned about language extinction. That is, two downsides or things that might be lost when languages go extinct.
- Two reasons why we shouldn’t be too concerns about language extinction. That is, two possible benefits for individuals or humanity in general of having fewer languages in the world.
Essays will be shared and discussed in small groups on Friday (4/15). Please bring two printed (not handwritten) copies of your essay. Be sure to put your name on it, double-space the printing, and be sure to proof for errors in spelling and grammar. You will hand in one copy of your essay to your TA at the beginning of sections. No late assignments will be accepted. You must come in person to hand in your essay. Full credit involves turning in your essay and participating in the section activity.