Free “Let Them Die” Essay Sample

In the article “Let Them Die,” the author states that the 6000 languages of the world are in the verge of extinction. Every day, the number of these languages reduces as their last living speakers die. The author gives examples of some of the world’s languages, which have faced extinction after the death of their last native speakers over the past few decades. For instance, in 1974, the last native speaker of the ancient Manx language, Ned Madrell, died on the Isle of Man (Malik, 2000). In 1992, Tefvic Escen, a farmer from the Turkish village of Haci Osman, and the last-standing native speaker of Ubykh language also died. The author continues to give other examples of world’s languages, which have ‘died’ after the death of their last native speakers. Such languages include Wappo and Catawba, which are some of the Native American Languages (Malik, 2000). 

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According to the author, by the beginning of 22nd century, half of the world’s languages will have disappeared (Malik, 2000). This is actually true, given that most of the remaining native speakers of various languages are old people. It is obvious that all of them will be dead by the beginning of the next century. Furthermore, by the beginning of the next century, only a few individuals from the current generation will be alive. Therefore, the probability that many of the native speakers of various languages will be dead is very high.

However, the author states that some pessimists suggest that by the year 3000, only around 600 languages will be left. Actually, the author is right when he refers to these people as pessimists. This is because such people do not seem worried by the high rate of disappearance of the world’s languages. However, the pessimists’ views are echoed by findings from the American Summer Institute of Linguistics. These findings indicate that currently, there are 51 languages with only 1 speaker left, 500 languages with less than 100 speakers left, and a further 1,500 with less than 1,000 speakers (Malik, 2000). Based on these findings, it appears that the pessimists might actually be right when they say that there will only be 600 languages by the beginning of the 31st century.

In the article, the author emphasizes on the importance of preserving our native languages. The author refers to the words of one linguist, David Crystal, to illustrate the importance of preserving these native languages. According to David Crystal, by allowing our languages to die, we are reducing the diversity of our planet. David crystal states that people should care for dying languages for the same reasons they care for dying species of plants or animals (Malik, 2000).

In the article, the author is determined to illustrate the importance of preserving the world’s languages. He states that the campaigners for linguistic diversity depict themselves as liberal defenders of minority rights. However, the author makes it clear that the importance of preserving the world’s languages is not to make the world’s culture dynamic or responsive, by rather, it is to maintain the diversity of the world. The author states that there is not point of preserving a language, which has only a few speakers. Such a language cannot be termed as a language but as a private conceit. In fact, the author states that by having a language that almost every individual in the world can speak and understand would be better because it will help in overcoming of barriers to social interaction. Moreover, if the world can communicate more universally, the culture of the world will become more dynamic because people will be open to new ways of thinking and doing things (Malik, 2000).

Although the author supports preservation of the world’s languages, he disagrees with some preservers who encourage individuals in third world countries and minority groups in the west to follow their local ways of life and pursue traditional knowledge, instead of receiving western education, all in efforts to preserve the world’s languages. The author states that people should not be excluded from the modern mainstream, where the rest of the world belongs.   


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