Digital devices only function in a handful of languages. Without the power of big tech, an entire language can die simply because it isn't relevant online. Despite the necessity of language to connect a group of people to their cultural heritage, history, and identity, the resources required to keep smaller languages afloat can diminish many speakers’ enthusiasm.
One country investing millions of dollars into battling the extinction of their mother tongue is Iceland. Iceland’s Language Planning Department is composed of scholars and researchers creating new terminology for modern concepts, from computer to mansplaining. By creating new words and finding new ways to educate Icelandic youth, the government and other linguistic agencies are attempting to adapt their language to the times in the hopes that doing so will keep it alive.
Do you think Iceland’s approach is a good idea that will be successful? Are the benefits of the country’s efforts worth the cost? Add your thoughts to the ongoing discussion on Vialogues.
Excerpts from the discussion:
@00:14 Toland Lawrence:Yes, I think there is value in preserving their language in this way because it connects the people to their past and culture. Know your origins can be helpful in forging a better future. Still, it's unclear whether these efforts will succeed, but I think there's something beautiful about just trying.
@04:57 Rebecca Sullivan:There are many words in every language that can't be translated. These experts are right that preserving a language means much more than preserving words; language is a safeguard of culture, history, and ways of seeing the world. We lose unique and valuable perspectives when we lose languages.