HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Verbal communication #8

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Since I’m a native english speaker I agree that I cannot personally say I know what it feels like to have a language of mine be at risk. However, I am aware of language extinction because it is taught in history and it sometimes even makes it to the news. I am thinking of a specific article in the National Geographic where they sent a team to the Amazon to find the last man that spoke an indigenous language. Even though this isn’t something that affects my ability to communicate directly, it still presents a big problem overall and even a big problem for individual people. With languages dying out, there is culture being lost. Like the textbook said, language is informed and informs culture. It defines groups and creates community. So if a language goes extinct, then the entire culture and way of life of a people is threatened. This is tragic in and of itself, and it also presents a problem for everyone in the world. It’s a problem because that means there are less perspectives being shared and our world view won’t be as nuanced or expanded as it could be. It’s important for us to interact with people who see the world differently because that’s how we learn and grow.

The last question is really interesting because it’s something I’ve never thought of. I think that speaks to the privilege of having English as my secure language because that ensures the security of a culture of mine. It’s hard to imagine if English was endangered. I imagine that I would be scared because I use English to be understood and to navigate the world. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to explain my thoughts and ideas or articulate my feelings. I might feel sad too because there are so many personal emotions attached to a language. Like the idea of personal idioms, there are many words or concepts in English that I would feel like would be lost. As such, I would be sad that there would be no one to share those things with anymore.  

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