Ongoing globalisation is a process that has been caried out in the world for many years. With the help of technology, the unification of countries and the development of civilisation, our planet is becoming more and more a global village every day. We can write books and have very long discussions about the validity of changing the world in this way, so I will not focus on this aspect. The effect of globalisation that I would like to talk about in this article is the disappearance and dying of languages in different parts of the world.

So it is worth to explain here what it really means for language to go extinct. It is a state in which all native speakers of that language die or its form has changed completely from its original form. Examples of languages that have changed their form, but are still important in linguistics, are Latin and Greek. Latin in a spoken form does not exist and nowadays it is used in medicine, law and as a basis for the Romance languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. GreekGreek; on the other hand, it is still used by the native inhabitants of the country that is the cultural cradle of Europe, but the form in which it is now found is completely different from the one in which Homer’s ‘Iliad and Odyssey’ was written.

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Much more interesting, however, are the cases of languages that can be considered completely dead and not used by anyone, either spoken or written. An example of such a language is Sumerian, spoken about 5000 years ago by the inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia. It can be said that along with their civilization and culture, their language disappeared as well. Nowadays it is only used to study the tablets written in this language in order to understand the culture, laws and history of this people.

The modern languages which are in danger of extinction are for example: Icelandic – because young people from Iceland tend to use English more than their native language, Belarusian – because of the popularity in daily use of Russian in Belarus, etc. A similar case appears for the Hawaiian language due to the popularity of speaking English. The same situation applies to two dialects used in Great Britain – Welsh and Scots English.

Many of languages which are dying slowly are dialects. An example of such a language is the Manchu language spoken in the Chinese region of Manchuria. This dialect is almost dead because of the widespread use of Mandarin Chinese. Nowadays, only a few people can speak it, but there are those doing their best to preserve the language and pass it to the younger generations. You might think that it’s ‘only a dialect’, but the population of this ethnic minority is around 10 million. Many languages in danger of extinction are now the African ones. As there is a limited number of speakers of these languages, the translation and localization into them might be considerably more expensive than the ‘standard’ languages with many native speakers.

One of the most important reasons for globalisation is the ever-increasing popularisation of the English language. Like everything, it has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, the more people in the world who can speak English, the more people are able to communicate freely with each other regardless of what country they were born and raised in. On the other hand, an increasing proportion of the population chooses to learn the so-called ‘world language’ and focuses on this for most of their lives, instead of cultivating elements of their own native culture and language. Unfortunately, in the process of unifying the countries and cultures of the world, a part of our own national identity has had to be sacrificed. Hopefully we won’t have to pay the higher price again.

Many of the world’s languages are threatened with extinction, and some of them exist only in the pages of history. Sworn translators of Sumerian, ancient Greek or Latin do not exist, and no one will ever take up such a profession again. Commissioning such a translation or localization into such language is practically unrealistic.

(translation: M.L.K, M.K.)

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