Saturday, September 22, 2007

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

To return for a moment to Poser's comment on Language Log that increasingly efficient communication and travel are the cause of accelerated language death: this may be true, and surely this is the hand of humans wielding the knife of change, but it's also the cause of far greater language contact, which, ya know, has it's own benefits. This analysis of causation still gives us no reason to believe that language death is bad.

So, we are faced with the conflation of three phenomena: language change, death, and murder. It is language murder (the rational choices by governments and institutions to affect policy changes that cause the decline of a language or languages ... that's my definition for now) which should be challenged and fought against, not the fact of language death per se. Let's not transfer our anger over language murder to language death, which may turn out to serve some positive ends, if only we would study the effects with dispassionate hearts.

Mad props to Russ.

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