Myth 1: Some Languages are superior
It is widely believed that some languages are inferior or unable to go hand in hand with scientific evolution. English, for instance, is seen as the only powerful language and lingua franca since it is the language of communication, business, air traffic, and scientific publications.
Conversely enough, many researchers and linguists like Ray Harlow have demonstrated that it is a fallacy to think so. Harlow has provided many instances that go against the claims of the laypeople. The main instance is the Maori language. The indigenous speakers decided to revive, use, and institutionalize the language. Over years, they succeeded in reviving and empowering the language. Now Maori has become a widely used language in New Zealand.
Myth 2: The dichotomy of the East and the West
Another idea is that a lot of people all over the globe discard using or learning new languages or using their mother tongues for many reasons including economic, political, ethnic, and mostly religious ones. For instance, the dichotomy of the East and the West in the minds of the laypeople led to the new phase of clashes; the linguistic one. Some think a lot of languages are ugly, rude, barbaric, or even useless. Additionally, speakers of pro-European languages adhere to the claim that any language that cannot explain nuclear physics or produces knowledge should be doomed.
Myth 3: Languages and the colonial legacy
There is a widespread claim that many languages are imposed and part of the colonial legacy. These powerful languages wiped out all the indigenous languages; thus, they should be banned. For the opponents, English for example maintains its position as a powerful language just because it is the first language that borrows a huge number of vocabulary and words from different languages.
Myth 4: Media are ruining languages
One of the other misleading facts people have about languages is that media are ruining languages especially English. Media are accused of being a linguistic criminal for corrupting languages. Many laypeople strongly condemn how journalists and news reports deteriorate the usual use of official languages. They are scared of making the abnormal normal. For some, journalists have no respect for the rules of language and all their concern is to communicate ideas and this leads to publishing very low-quality work in terms of word choice and sometimes grammar. But for linguists like Aitchison, it is a very wrong idea. Media are just linguistic mirrors reflecting the language use in society. As proof, people keep reading and interacting with informational texts because the end purpose is to reveal ideas and not use the language to conceal them.
Some things to think about
To overcome some of the misleading ideas that lead to the exclusion or underestimation of many languages, it is up to the speakers of the native languages to decide whether their language is and will be strong or not. Second, they should invent or coin new words based on the previously existing words or form new ones so as not to be left behind. Third, people should bear in mind that languages are not inferior or superior, or an intelligence measure. They are just a means of communication. Finally, language difference is a plus for human beings to think about. Language diversity is an asset and it makes the world a better place to live in.
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