Are we ALL moving forward on the tech side, or is it a solo ride?
The ongoing Corona Virus Pandemic has made individuals sit at home, while simultaneously allowing technology to move forward and digitize everything. This however a comprehensive move on their part, has left out a silent majority of people to avail of these technological advances because of the lack of acknowledgment and understanding of their language and culture.
Experts claim that there are at least 41 Asian Languages that are currently excluded from technology and have not been brought to light in any of the advances made. This not only makes them vulnerable but also endangered.
These 41 languages are parts of cultures that are used solely for tourism purposes by their respective governments, and when tourists do visit them, they leave a part of their own language for the locals to use. Small phrases or words, whichever they may be, become part of their vocabulary, and the original word in their language is soon forgotten, as no documentation of the original language is present.
Sherley Wetherhold in her famous article “Going, Going, Gone” explained languages have a comprehensive grasp of the cultural heritage, medical, scientific, and botanical aspects of that region, making it an utmost important subject to work on.
At the end of the 21st Century, at least 7000 languages will disappear from the face of the earth, leaving not one individual who speaks those languages. That is not only 7000 languages, but also 7000 cultural heritage aspects, 7000 scientific types of research, 7000 medical research, and 7000 botanical types of research in the said languages.
Issues of Natives
The most common languages to be neglected in the technological soft wares and applications to use, are Asian languages not recognized by the world, therefore it allows the natives to step back from the technological advances and not be part of them, as they are unable to understand or use the said advances.
This is not the problem of soft warehouses or application designers, as they themselves are not aware such languages exist. What can be done to bridge the gap is by active promotion of these languages by the governments of their regions.
Measures to Promote Languages
Instead of making countless souvenir shops in the region, all of which sell the same products. The governments should invest in friendly exhibits or sessions, free of cost to the tourists, where they interact with the locals in their language. By no means do I mean to start language courses for people who are just there for vacation, but like the tourists drop their language for the people to adopt, maybe the locals can drop theirs too.
These activities can also be done in a bigger and more elegant manner, which attracts the rich of the region like sugar attracts ants. And what the elite talk about, is what’s talked about by the rest of the world. Presenting these languages as Art. Exhibitions of posters, illustrations, sculptures, installations, music, theatre, or paintings, all of which attract a crowd.
These activities can help bring awareness to the people about the various languages, which can allow soft warehouses to include them in their products, making the products useful for even the natives of these endangered cultures. The governments of the respective regions should take serious action, as no documentation has been done on these languages.
A culture can only stay alive by the transmission of its language to the younger generation. And what is a culture without its language? Tragically lost nothingness.