Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Technology Meets Culture


The article is titled, "Executive Director's Message: Our Languages on the Air: A Sense of Home, Place, and Belonging." The article revolves around the issue of languages, and therefore culture, going extinct. To get a grasp of the situation, 6,912 languages exist in the world, but as of 2009, 2,500 languages are endangered and 200 are completely lost. They state that one of the main issues that is causing so many languages to disappear is none other than technology. But technology is also how they are solving this problem of preserving languages and cultures. Other issues for the loss of language include language repression, assimilation, and the younger generation's replacement lingo. I too am a part of this movement. I am a Korean-American. In American society, I can see the digital language merging into daily conversations, such as LOL, BRB, photobomb. Words that have been popularized by media are being added to the dictionary as a permanent place in our language history, such as deets (detail), tweet (Twitter status), and crowdfunding (a new phenomenon in raising capital through the public). I feel like language is an ever-changing subject. I can name numerous words (or lingo) that have specific origins and signify specific time periods. The digital age is just what's happening now. But I also agree that technology can as easily be the best method of preserving languages. Language carries culture and there’s no better example than Chinese characters that span across most, if not, all of the Asian languages. Chinese characters are interesting because with just one character you can tell a cultural story of how that symbol came to be. They are a deeper version of prefixes and suffixes, since they not only have a meaning, but also a story. So I completely understand the need to preserve language, because its more than just communication, but a record of our history and culture.

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