The Importance of Preserving Endangered Languages
The purpose for caring about languages, such as Chulym, Chemehuevi, or Kallawaya, is to sustain and shield the languages from extinction. There is fulfillment and a feeling of self-belonging in knowing and perceiving one's background. Thus, it is imperative to take into account measures that protect and facilitate the unfold of the languages.
Moreover, people, or rather the generations that are born after the extinction of their languages, face the assignment of interpersonal conflicts, which never end unless solutions are found for them. There is no devastating struggle as that which concerns one seeking for identification that is defined by cultural ties in view of beginning and cultural background. Therefore, lack of response to factors that lead to extinction of languages is comparable to disowning one's identity which later on has many consequences. I would feel the same if English too was endangered. For instance, by letting a language disappear, one's best-known mechanism through which interactions with other human personalities and characters is lost. Nonetheless, identifying one's roots depends on and begins with a particular search of language that a society is identified with. Hence, extinction of languages presents the challenge of a given type of community or people disappearing from the historical records making it difficult for next generations to know their backgrounds.
The Role of Education in Language Death
A critical stage in language death is reached when children stop learning their language. The major conditions that make children want to or not want to speak their native languages are the places they go to for education. For instance, David and Greg inform the audience of the effects that sending children to a boarding school have on the ability of the children to learn their languages. In the boarding schools where children come from different communities and believe in different cultures and societal norms, they are forced by their teachers to learn and speak a common language (12:27-13:00). Much worse is the fact that children are barred from speaking their native languages. Children, on the other hand, fear to speak their native languages due to fear of punishment they are likely to get from their teachers. Additionally, languages disappear when children go overseas to stay with their parents where they work and never or occasionally come back to their native communities. Above all, there are no tribal schools to encourage communication through native languages, hence the observed extinction of languages in the society (14:27).
Lessons Learned from Watching the Film
Concisely, there are very many lessons that I learned from watching the film. For example, I came to realize that in order to be self-aware, there was a greater need to understand, know, and relate with other people. People themselves are complex creatures because any form of cultural identity is complex and unique. Learning a new language and the effort one has to put in order to understand as well as master the language, reflects directly on the effort to be put to understand other people. Most importantly, I learned that I am defined in relation to other people in the perspective of their individual character. Furthermore, the film exposed me to the disadvantage that boarding schools have on children's developmental capacity and capability. It is overlooked such that parents only see the advantages that it presents yet a child needs to understand him or herself first before coming to detailed aspects of life.
The Linguists: Retrieved form https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaZw9Jynf4o&t=63s on 2/3/2017.