In writing this piece, I had the pleasure of speaking with many linguistic experts, language instructors and multilingual people from all over the world. Their insight was invaluable, not only for their expertise, but also because I gained a deeper understanding of the value of language. Not only does it connect us with our own personal histories, it has enormous potential to shape our futures. For me, learning Spanish was never easy, but I enjoyed doing it. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that it would lead me to my husband.
Considering the inseparable link between language and identity, it seems unlikely that people will ever voluntarily give up their native languages. On the other hand, given the ease with which children can learn other languages -– combined with the increasingly global nature of our society -– it seems likely that the world will remain marvelously multilingual for years to come.
- Columbia Missourian. "Americans Lag in Learning Foreign Languages." (Feb 18, 2012) http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2011/01/04/language/
- Chomsky, Noam. Linguistics Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, personal correspondence (Feb 15, 2012)
- Esperanto USA. "Esperanto is..." (Feb 18, 2012) http://www.esperanto-usa.org/en/content/esperanto
- Fitzgerald, Dan. Language Professor. Personal correspondence (Feb 11, 2012)
- Census. "Language Use in the United States: 2007." (Feb 18, 2012) http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acs-12.pdf
- Ethnologue. "Languages of the World." (Feb 18, 2012) http://www.ethnologue.com/
- Linguistic Society of America. "How Many Languages are there in the world?" (Feb 15, 2012) http://www.lsadc.org/info/pdf_files/howmany.pdf
- National Geographic. "Disappearing Languages." (Feb 18, 2012) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/
- Net Bible. "Genesis 11." (Feb 18, 2012) http://net.bible.org/#!bible/Genesis+11:1
- Palomar College. "Linguistics." (Feb 18, 2012) http://anthro.palomar.edu/language/language_1.htm
- Pearson, Matt. Linguistics Professor. Reed College. (Feb 15, 2012)