In this episode Steve and Mark respond to Daisuke’s request that they discuss dead or dying languages.
For an excerpt from the text, click below:
Steve: And, probably, you know, European society was like that as well at one point because people couldn’t travel very far, but probably at some point, even in Guinea, they will gradually…and it’s not because of the evil Internet, American imperialists or anything else. I mean right now they speak French and then their native language, but they may eventually develop a common language for Guinea. Such as, we now have common languages in, say, France or Germany or Italy; whereas, 1,000 years ago, every little village had its own language.
I agree with you. Most people don’t like to maintain five languages, they’re quite happy with having one that serves their purpose. And having one language for a country of 20 million people may be more useful than having one that only works for 25, so, yeah.
Mark: I mean, I think in countries where they’re trying to revive native languages, Daisuke talked about Cornish. I don’t know anything about Cornish, other than, presumably, it was spoken in Cornwall, I don’t know, in England. But, I’m guessing, they’re not going to have a lot of success there because England is not that big a place.
So if you learn English, you live day to day in English, you might be forced to learn Cornish in school, but it’s like one hour a week and the rest of the time you’re in English. I just don’t see a future for a language like that.