Preserving local languages is extremely important. Now more than ever before, the languages which are spoken by smaller groups of people are in great danger of becoming extinct. In fact, from the 7000 languages which are spoken worldwide, 2500 are endangered. It is estimated that a language dies every fourteen minutes and that, by the end of this century, ninety per cent of world’s languages will be extinct. This is definitively an issue we should all care about, once the cultural loss which is associated to the death of a language is huge. Languages define people and their way of living. Therefore, taking them from their speakers is equivalent to removing the heart from a body.
Why is this massive phenomenon happening? It is due to some peoples’ disappearance, because of wars, genocides or natural disasters, to the discrimination that affects native speakers and makes them forbid their children to speak their mother tongue, and to the lack of written documents, which makes its preservation even harder, for example.
Globalization seems to be accelerating this process’ pace. Nonetheless, there is still something we can do to avoid language death. We can try to bring a language back to life (which happened with Cornish, a former extinct language from Britain) and develop new technologies that allow real time translation, so people from different countries can understand each other without being obliged to put their native language aside.
It is essential that people stop discriminating others for their mother tongue, that children become aware of the importance of language diversity from an early age and that minority languages start being perpetuated through written documents and a new generation of speakers.