Im­pli­ca­tion of glob­al­i­sa­tion on lo­cal lan­guages

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Sam­reen Aamir Bari Email: paes­thet­ics@ya­hoo.com

LANGUAGE is the fore­most present of so­ci­ety to an indi vid­ual. We sense, com­mu­ni­cate, ex­press, con­vey, dream, and reg­u­late our di­ur­nal does with the aid of words that are com­pre­hen­si­ble, and mean­ing­ful to us. Language is back bone of cul­ture. The skele­ton of cul­ture is in­com­plete and can­not sur­vive with­out sup­port of language. The death of a language is the death of a civ­i­liza­tion, the end of a cul­ture, the moral end of a na­tion hence con­tin­u­ous strug­gle for the re­vival, prop­a­ga­tion and trans­fer of lan­guages from one gen­er­a­tion to other gen­er­a­tion is in­dis­putably im­per­a­tive. Ac­cord­ing to UNESCO ‘Lan­guages are threat­ened by ex­ter­nal forces such as mil­i­tary, eco­nomic re­li­gious, cul­tural or ed­u­ca­tional sub­ju­ga­tion, or by in­ter­nal forces such as com­mu­nity’s neg­a­tive at­ti­tude to­wards its own language’.

Glob­al­iza­tion can be con­sid­ered as the fun­da­men­tal head hon­cho that is min­i­miz­ing the im­por­tance of the lo­cal lan­guages. We can say that the in­crease in glob­al­iza­tion means the loss of spo­ken lan­guages. Peo­ple find it eas­ier to carry out busi­ness and cor­re­spond with those out­side their own cul­ture if they speak more broadly used lan­guages. Peo­ple do not find it ben­e­fi­cial or use­ful to ed­u­cate their chil­dren in lan­guages spo­ken by lim­ited num­ber of peo­ple. Ob­vi­ously be­cause of this rea­son the lo­cal lan­guages are dy­ing out.

Around 6000-7000 spo­ken lan­guages can be found and it is a bit­ter truth that 50% of th­ese lan­guages are di­min­ish­ing or are dy­ing out. Los­ing a language and its cul­tural frame­work is like burn­ing a ref­er­ence book of a par­tic­u­lar so­ci­ety’s his­tory, its folk tales, its re­li­gious pa­ram­e­ters, its lit­er­a­ture, the mind­set of its schol­ars and com­mon peo­ple. Ac­cord­ing to Keebe (2003) loss of language is the per­ma­nent ir­rev­o­ca­ble loss of a cer­tain vi­sion of the world. This is the harsh re­al­ity of cap­i­tal­ist so­ci­ety and the core need of eco­nomic devel­op­ment to have a sin­gle and ac­cept­able language. The bank­ing sys­tem, highly ex­pen­sive and up­graded soft­ware, multi­na­tional com­pa­nies and the glob­al­ized com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work all re­quire a uni­ver­sal or a glob­al­ized language. Joseph Nye’s idea of ‘soft power’ can cer­tainly elu­ci­date the an­swer of language im­pe­ri­al­ism and con­se­quently we can claim glob­al­iza­tion for damaging or di­min­ish­ing or threat­en­ing the lo­cal lan­guages of the devel­op­ing and un­der de­vel­oped na­tions.

It is an honor for our na­tion that Pak­istan is cul­tur­ally rich and di­ver­si­fied coun­try our lo­cal tra­di­tions have their own beauty and power to fas­ci­nate and mes­mer­ize .The sweet lan­guages of the het­ero­ge­neous groups have their own charis­matic at­trac­tion but due to the fever of mod­ern­iza­tion and Amer­i­can­iza­tion or we can say be­cause of Glob­al­iza­tion th­ese lan­guages are slowly and grad­u­ally dy­ing. Ours is a mul­ti­lin­gual coun­try with six ma­jor and fifty nine other small or lo­cal lan­guages this is our draw­back that this cul­tur­ally and multi lin­gual coun­try’s of­fi­cial language is the one that we adopted from our “Masters”. Due to the in­flu­ence of Cap­i­tal­ism the English is al­ready be­ing con­sid­ered as the de facto lin­gua franca or global language. An es­ti­mated 85% of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions use English only. We can­not deny the im­por­tance of English but not at the cost of other lan­guages. Just take the ex­am­ple of Pak­istan peo­ple who are sit­ting and en­joy­ing the pow­er­ful po­si­tions, high gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials , actors, higher army of­fi­cials , busi­ness ty­coons and their fam­i­lies usu­ally con­sider it shame­ful to speak lo­cal lan­guages in their rou­tine com­mu­ni­ca­tions English has be­come a sym­bol or a brand of up­per class fam­i­lies it is a sym­bol of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and power. Al­though passed in 1973 the con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan un­der Ar­ti­cle 251 spec­i­fies that the gov­ern­ment un­der all cir­cum­stances must make Urdu the na­tional language within 15 years and it was also em­pha­sized that Pres­i­dent and Prime min­is­ter should de­liver speeches in Urdu, even on for­eign trips.

This is high time for us and govt to take nec­es­sary steps to en­cour­age and mo­ti­vate peo­ple to de­velop and com­mu­ni­cate in their own na­tive lan­guages with­out any hes­i­ta­tion and with great pride and it is also nec­es­sary to pro­mote the lo­cal lan­guages on na­tional ba­sis and on na­tional tele­vi­sions. We should ed­u­cate our chil­dren in the lan­guages in which they can eas­ily ex­press and com­mu­ni­cate. — The writer is free­lance colum­nist based in Karachi.

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