dying languages & technology


I’ve written before about my interest in the loss of minority languages around the world. The dominance of the English language on the internet and in popular entertainment is just one factor that is blamed, but here is a hopeful note about how young people are using today’s technology to communicate in their native tongues.**

This was accompanied by another article called Silenced Voices**, how a huge number of languages are dying along with the remaining few elders who still speak them.

So, in light of the first article, is this not a very a good reason, amongst others, to provide the internet and related technology at a low cost to still-deprived isolated communities such as many of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit people to assist the younger generation in practicing their native languages in a lively manner? Language loss is surprisingly quick without usage, even for me since I rarely get to speak Finnish since my parents passed away two decades ago. The internet and reading Finnish blogs and news is preventing complete loss, and keeping me in tune with my original culture. Language and culture go hand in hand, or should it be, hand in glove.

For interested readers, more related links can be found under the linguistics theme. I would be happy to hear what experiences you, dear readers, have had with language loss, personally or in others you know.

Also, a bit about the photos here… how very timely for me to have suitably related images literally come up while reading and writing about this. This ancient typewriter, now old technology within just a generation, was retrieved out of the storage dungeon, erm, crawl space for our ten-year-old granddaughter who is eager to try it out. It needs a cleaning and new ribbon which I believe are still available in some shop in Vancouver.


P.S. This was probably made sometime in 1930’s, says husband. I also learned that the typewriter was invented in 1870 – so that is well over over a hundred years of steady use. A little off topic, yet interesting.

** UPDATE 15Dec2013 – links have expired already! I really must stop linking to the Vancouver Sun’s articles which are not kept active for very long!

July 30, 2011 in Culture, Ethnicity, Linguistics by Marja-Leena