Lost in translation: saving Europe's endangered languages
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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Apr 6, 2013

A Pity:
Mind your language - experts call for the preservation of Europe's linguistic diversity © BELGA_Berliner Verlag_S.Steinach
Dozens of languages in Europe are not much lost for words as short of speakers with some 120 believed to be dying out. The EP's culture committee discussed the problem with experts on 20 March. However, MEP François Alfonsi believes the final word on these languages has yet to be said. The French member of the Green group is drafting a report on what can be done to support them. Is there still time to save languages such as Lombard, Polesian and Saterlandic?

Mr Alfonsi wants Parliament to play a key role in protecting and promoting endangered languages. "Linguistic diversity is the soul of the European construction," he explained. "There are hundreds of languages in the European Union and each is a part of the European identity."

His report will include examples of best practice such as in Finland, where there are seven endangered languages. Mr Alfonsi believes that communities that want to implement best practices should be supported. "Without concrete support at European, national and local level, we will see a further decline in linguistic diversity over the next decades," he said. "This will leave all of us culturally, socially and economically impoverished."

His concerns were echoed by Dr Christopher Moseley, an UNESCO expert on languages. He told the culture committee on 20 March that a language becomes endangered when children no longer learn it and its speakers stop using it. Worldwide one language dies every few weeks.

REF. : 20130322STO06743


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
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Culturally and socially impoverished, but economically enriched Apr 6, 2013

Josephine Cassar quoted:
"Without concrete support at European, national and local level, we will see a further decline in linguistic diversity over the next decades," he said. "This will leave all of us culturally, socially and economically impoverished."

Yes, culturally and socially impoverished, but not economically. After all, the prime purpose of a language is to earn a living, and the fewer the languages, the easier it is to work with other people. The result is the reverse of impoverishment - greater productivity, efficiency and mutual understanding helping to make people better off. People are voting with their tongues, and that trend will only continue.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
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To earn a living? Apr 7, 2013

Language is one of the most essential phenomena in the development of the human race -- perhaps what makes us human. Definitely incentives have to be taken to save the endangered languages. To earn a living you may just be as well a banker, or a miner -- better chances to earn a living.

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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Economically enriched Apr 8, 2013

Hi Philip,
I do not agree with you. I see it exactly opposite. The whole society will lose and also the translation industry. Meant to rite yesterday but was busy translating. I think it will mean less work for translators in the first place. Fewer language variants while there will be more translators. Furthermore, I agree wholeheartedly with LilianBoland. Nowadays I never hear my language dialect, so when I hear it, I like it and appreciate it more whereas before, I used to look down on people who spoke the dialect, as if they were uneducated. Language dialects and variants are very enriching, not like dumping everybody in the same pot. So, there you are; the more people move, for study, education, various reasons- it has become easier now- the more these lesser languages will die out. Again Pity!
Good day to all.


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