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We should attempt to rescue endangered languages through language revitalization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,918 times Debate No: 26381
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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Resolved: "We should attempt to rescue endangered languages through language revitalization."

Should: Ought to

Endangered language: A language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language. [1]

Language Revitalization: An attempt to reverse the decline of a language [2]



Language is a huge part of world history. So much culture is based around them, and quite honestly they are important to preserving human history. I believe we should seek to preserve theses endangered languages, if not by speaking, then by finding a way to save them in museums.
Debate Round No. 1


Language evolves naturally. We should not artificially try to put dying languages into cultures. A language progresses because it is no longer culturally relevant to a group of people; by trying to force a language to exist, you are attempting to artificially alter its cultural relevance. This is not pragmatic. And languages cannot be revived by being displayed in museums, contrary to what my opponent states.


When I stated that languages can be saved in museums, I did not mean writing it on a wall and displaying it as my opponent makes it seem. I meant that the languages could be preserved in writings and such like Latin, a "dead" language but still lives on in some ways and that people choose to learn. If they preserved like that, cultures could still hold on to ancient languages. I do not believe that something as culturally important as languages should die out and be forgotten.

And I do not believe that it is possible to force a specific language among people. I could be saved in subtle ways, such as offering college courses, or foreign language classes on it so that some people might be interested in speaking it for fun, like high-school students in America who learn languages like German, French, or Spanish that they may never really use in life but enjoy speaking for fun.
Debate Round No. 2


"If they preserved like that, cultures could still hold on to ancient languages. I do not believe that something as culturally important as languages should die out and be forgotten." Why SHOULD cultures want to hold onto ancient languages? Surely, languages are "culturally important," but they are dynamic and evolving. When a language becomes less culturally relevant to a society, it naturally evolves or transitions into another. Why should we artificially include languages that we are evolving from or transitioning from into our new, changed language.

"I [sic] could be saved in subtle ways, such as offering college courses, or foreign language classes...". Let us remember this: without native speakers, a language dies. Therefore, my opponent has not stated how or why we should promote people to speak dying languages as native speakers.



Language defines a culture, through the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea may not translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost.

Much of what humans know about nature is encoded only in oral languages. Indigenous groups that have interacted closely with the natural world for thousands of years often have profound insights into local lands, plants, animals, and ecosystems, many still undocumented by science. Studying indigenous languages therefore benefits environmental understanding and conservation efforts.

Studying various languages also increases our understanding of how humans communicate and store knowledge. Every time a language dies, we lose part of the picture of what our brains can do. Languages are an important part of human history and deserve to be preserved in as many ways as possible.
Debate Round No. 3


Culture and language define each other and evolve alongside each other. It is natural for parts of a language that are irrelevant to the culture (or no longer generally favored by it) to fall out of use. By forcing outdated languages to be spoken, we are halting natural cultural transitions, which is far more costly than the loss of a culturally irrelevant language. And stories that are culturally relevant can be translated.

I don't think any new scientific insight was acquired strictly through language.

And humans communicate and store knowledge using the same language, regardless of language, whether its dead now or not.


Like_a_Boss forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Like_a_Boss 5 years ago
I apologize for my atrocious grammer in Round 2. I had multiple mistakes...
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
Good debate topic: I'm in two minds whether I am pro or con, I think pro...
Posted by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
:( waa
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
I strongly disagree but don't have time to accept.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
I would have accepted if I didn't agree.
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