Until recently, I had been thinking that internet spoils –or even destroys- the minor languages. As a Turkish native speaker, I was furious that every social media tool was in English or in other major languages. Last year, Facebook was translated into Turkish and a couple of months ago, Twitter added Turkish alternative, which were very good news because before all the translations, new phrases emerged in Turkey- half English and half Turkish! Since we have a certain conscious about languages, it is very annoying to see the degeneration of a language. When Facebook was translated into Turkish, it also began to make spell check and to underline the words that you misspelled. This was a huge favor to the new generation because they read everything on internet and some people are not conscious enough protecting and saving languages. They just ignore all the grammar or punctuation rules, they even misspell their own mother tongue! Anyway, I read an article on BBC by Jonathan Amos who proves digital tools are helping to save minor languages. Now let’s see the points that I find most interesting. You can also read the whole article by clicking the link at the bottom:
– Of the 7,000 or so languages spoken on Earth today, about half are expected to be extinct by the century’s end.
– Globalisation is usually blamed, but some elements of the “modern world”, especially digital technology, are pushing back against the tide.
– North American tribes use social media to re-engage their young, for example.
– Tuvan, an indigenous tongue spoken by nomadic peoples in Siberia and Mongolia, even has an iPhone app to teach the pronunciation of words to new students.
– “Small languages are using social media, YouTube, text messaging and various technologies to expand their voice and expand their presence.”
– “But a positive effect of globalisation is that you can have a language that is spoken by only five or 50 people in one remote location, and now through digital technology that language can achieve a global voice and a global audience.”
– “Digital dictionaries contain more than 32,000 word entries in eight endangered languages. All the audio recordings have been made by native speakers.”
– “What we do with technology is try to connect people,” Prof Noori said. “All of it is to keep the language.”
– “The new digital tools do offer a way back from the brink for a lot of languages that seemed doomed just a few years ago.”
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