Protecting language rights, is not protecting culture
I keep hearing this comment,” if we don’t protect our language, we will lose our culture.”
My problem is I don’t believe that is a true statement. We have lots of different cultures who also speak the same language.
In the Great Britain there are the Irish, the Scots and the Welsh, and yes I know they also have had a different language in their past.
The fact is they now operate in the English language, but I am sure that nobody would argue that they don’t have a unique and different culture than England.
There are several countries and peoples who consider themselves French, but have different and unique cultures. For example there’s Quebec, Haiti and France. People mewl about their children not speaking their grandfather’s native languages, no matter how archaic or useless it is today and they justify their concern with my opening statement.
So listen up folks language is not culture. Language is a form of communication and if it is no longer relevant in today’s society then it doesn’t have to be protected or learned.
Culture is your stories, your history and historical figures, your art, your philosophy, your laws, your architecture and so on. It is not your language.
Language is a nostalgic thing, but we should not be wasting scarce resources trying to resurrect something that has no cultural significance. Language is simply a communication tool. Language if it is a living useful language changes over time.
You would not understand the English spoken in Shakespeare’s time. It is no accident that all pilots and all traffic controllers use English as their only language of communication no matter where in the world their airports are located.
If you want to learn your ancestor’s language, please do so, but not with the mistaken belief that you are protecting a culture. The only way I will acknowledge that language might be culture is where all your stories are verbal and they cannot be translated into writing.