The Importance Of Indigenous Language

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Today, the disappearance of indigenous languages has been becoming one of the most serious problems in the world. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 2000 languages in the world have 1000 speakers or less, and it is estimated that half of the world’s 7000 official languages will become extinct by the end of the 21st century (Ludovica 2015). This is mainly because most indigenous languages are nowadays replaced by the dominant languages and they are not properly passed down to the younger generation. Sometimes having a minority language as their first language can be seen as a disadvantage as well. As the Endangered Language Project (ELP) states, "Of the Native American languages…show more content…
This is because most of the students only learn basic words or numbers in Maori in elementary schools and they do not learn anything more. Therefore, it is almost impossible for them to construct any complicated sentences or hold conversations in Maori. According to New Zealand Progress Indicators, from 1996 to 2013, the proportion of people who can hold an everyday conversation in Maori has decreased from 25 percent to 21.3 percent (2013). Two interviewees in their 20s said that even though they sang Maori songs in schools, they never understood what they meant. One said that although the Maori songs have stuck with her as she grew up, there is no point in learning them without understanding the meaning and that the schools should teach those meanings to children. Even though Maori language is offered throughout all education levels, it is not mandatory for schools in New Zealand to offer Maori. Therefore, the level of Maori education each school offers completely depend on the school and the choice each student makes whether or not to take Maori…show more content…
If nothing was done to prevent the decline of Maori since the 1980s, it is possible that Maori would be a dead language very soon. Additionally, it can be said that the government and other agencies actively creating a better condition for the indigenous language and promoting its revitalization is yet to be seen in many parts of the world. Therefore, the rest of the world can learn from the revitalization effort of Maori and reconsider how they treat their respective indigenous languages. Maori revitalization was in a sense, more successful than some of the other indigenous language revitalization because the government greatly valued the culture and its heritage and was positively involved in the promotion and the encouragement of the language use. This puts a very positive image to the language and ordinary people will get to see and hear the language in their daily lives. Therefore, letting people learn and feel the presence of the language in their surrounding environment can be very effective in revitalizing

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