The Power of the Internet in Language Maintenance

by multilingualmania on September 6, 2010

in Bilingual Language Development, Bilingualism, Language in Society, Web Resources

L'espace internet du musée de la Communication  (Berlin)

I read an interesting article online today about the maintenance of the Welsh language and the necessity for Welsh language independent online media in assisting with language maintenance. I thought that this point was particularly interesting and applicable to all of us:

If we want the Welsh language to grow and prosper then we’ve got to create an independent online Welsh-language culture as well. By doing one of these small things, people can play an important part in dragging Welsh into the digital world.

It’s very important to see the Welsh language on the television and radio and the same thing is true of the web. We want to invite everyone who can speak Welsh or who’s learning Welsh, old and young, men and women to take part. There’s no need for previous experience. There are enough support and ideas available on the website.

Another important point about the psychological implications of language maintenance:

If the language was left at the breakfast table, in the chapels and in the libraries then it would face a sure demise but if it was given its rightful place at the forefront of the latest cultural and technological development then it would prove a massive psychological boost.

As I read the article, I started thinking that the same holds true for any minority language that is being taught to children. Even when the minority language is prevalent in a community, such as the Spanish language in California, children growing up in today’s digital age will need exposure to the language online. Subtle messages about language status are sent in many ways, and lack of exposure to online content in the minority language for children will surely lead to the perception that the minority language is only important in the house as well as the local community.

Read the rest of the article here.

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