The lost language – Erosion of the regional languages.
Jul 27, 2023
Approximately 1.5 million years ago, the concept of language was born out of the need for communication, initially through gestural communication imitating animals and birds. As time went on, the development of vocal language became evident, a significant advancement that allowed humans to engage in complex exchanges of ideas and emotions. Whether it began as a single protolanguage evolving slowly in different regions or emerged separately in various regions at different times remains a mystery.
One of the oldest known languages, Tamil, first appeared approximately 5000 years ago. Sanskrit, on the other hand, emerged 2000 years later and became the foundation for many classical Indian languages such as Bengali and Marathi. Over the course of its 1300-year history, English has risen to dominate the global stage, largely due to the British Empire’s influence over vast territories.
Throughout history, languages have played a crucial role in shaping cultures and societies, acting as a unifying force for communities and fostering human development. They have served as the gateways to diverse civilization, each with its unique traditions, values, and ways of expression. In countries such as India, where languages define states, they have become key identifiers of cultural identity and heritage.
However, as we enter the age of technology, with the rise of mobile devices and computers, the influence and dominance of languages face new challenges. Artificial intelligence (AI), with its immense capabilities and potential, threatens to reshape our linguistic landscape and alter traditional patterns of communication.
As AI rapidly advances, there is a possibility that it will overrule regional languages, favoring a single dominant language in its interactions with humans. The integration of AI technologies into everyday life will make it increasingly convenient to rely on a universal language for communication. This could result in a gradual decline of regional languages and a shift towards a more homogenous linguistic landscape.
Furthermore, as AI-driven applications and technologies become more prevalent, the cost and effort required to develop and maintain language-specific interfaces and software may outweigh the benefits for developers. This would further drive the adoption of a dominant language as the primary mode of interaction, eroding the importance of regional languages in the technological era.
If this shift occurs, there is a genuine concern about the potential loss of cultural heritage and identity embedded within language. Languages have deep connections to cultural practices, traditions, and perspectives, and their diminishing usage could result in the gradual erosion of individual and collective cultural identities.
In this scenario, the importance of native, “mother” tongues could be forgotten and eventually superseded by the practicality and convenience of a dominant global language. Communication barriers could diminish, but at the cost of cultural diversity and variety of expression. Technology, while offering immense benefits, could also contribute to a loss of human connection, as our ability to communicate effectively diminishes in the face of AI-driven solutions.
The delicate balance between embracing technological progress and preserving our cultural fabric becomes ever more critical. Ultimately, it is up to society to determine how to navigate this new era, ensuring that cultural heritage and linguistic diversity are valued and preserved alongside technological advancements.