On Reading

Wisdom is like a low-laying fruit, easily reached and gained, when one reads.

Books are embalmed minds, and libraries are time portals; hence, one who reads gains possession of the classic thoughts which became the foundation of the present ideas; understands varied perspectives, cultures, religions and politics which are cloths put together forming the colourful tapestry of society; knows the unchangeable events in past which shaped man’s present and future; and, sees the problem of bias, prejudice, extremist, racism and all others that cast onto the path of Peace darkness which could be expelled  brightness of understanding – all these kept from who flip not the pages.

Reading, in essence, goes beyond the idea of translating symbols into sounds. It carries a much greater meaning, and that is the grasping of meaning from text. It is an intimate process of conversation between minds. When one reads, he may find himself arguing with opinions of others. However, this argument neither ushers indifference nor violence as one understands that, in the ocean of ideas, his concepts may surf well with those of other, and that it may dive against those of some. This is the first wave of compromise. And, this greatly provides the wisdom that although variety does not necessarily mean enmity.

Hidden in the pages, a reader can stumble upon fascinating tales, life stories of men and women who challenged conventions of their time. They advance ideas contrary to popular beliefs. It is their understanding that a believer of idea is not just one, but one. Readers then identify themselves with others whenever similar views are shared, realizing that one is never alone. His views can be shared, and they matter.

A reader is never alone as he shares himself in the market place of ideas, and accompanied well by books.

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Language Attrition and Death

Language attrition is the process of forgetting a language due to lack of use. Language as skill is further strengthened through consumption in communication and discourse. Conversely, not using a certain language or languages for the case of multilinguals lead, like what happens to all skills, to decay.

The main point is that language attrition is rooted to the non-use of a language over a significant period of time. Language attrition literature has documented and proved that language attrition is selective in nature (Seliger, 1991, 1996). The total language system is not loss at the same or abruptly. The process of loss happens by stage or phase. Anderson (1982) and Kopke (2004) noted that vocabulary has typically been regarded as the most vulnerable area affected by language attrition.  For the domain of syntax and morphology, Anderson (1982) claimed that L2 replaces more complex rules if they serve the same syntactical functions. Moreover, It has been hypothesized that language attrition will first manifest itself on the level of the lexicon, and only later move on to affect grammatical and syntactic categories.

 A constellation of variables are studied to account for language attrition. Education is seen as one of the foremost reason influencing language attrition. Learning languages is one of offerings of institutions. The languages taught are those of majority cultures and are chosen in terms of their economic status and being a symbol of patriotism like the Filipino language. The school educates the young with the written codes causing more chances for use. The instruction given about the structures of languages and the opportunities for their practice inside and outside the classroom brings about greater retention relative to the language being taught and learned. Thus, Education is also held culpable for the shift from an indigenous language to a more prestigious main language. When a shift to English occurs in indigenous populations, the indigenous language itself may be lost.

Contact is another reason noted by studies to contribute to language attrition. The degree or amount of contact matters. The language-use opportunity matters in the context of this matter at hand. Those who are able to have high degree of contact will most likely not have their language forgotten. The constant use will even yield the strengthening of the same. However, if no contact is made, hence no language opportunity is given to an individual to use the language – the threat to language attrition becomes a reality.

 Another factor is the attitude towards languages. Attitudinal factors are strongly related, according to De Bot, et.al (2007), to both L1 and L2 attrition. In the case of migrants, a migrant with positive attitude towards L1 is considered to be more likely to put effort into the upkeep of the L1 linguistic system. Language attitudes and maintenance practices change with life circumstance and that there are many interdependent variables within the social environment and the psychological make-up of an individual that can alter the development of the language system.

Attrition leads to loss and eventually death. The forgetting of a language is like a degenerative disease that eats up the whole system piece by piece until the system itself is dead. There are numerous reason pointed out. The loss of a language may lead to a cultural devastation as Fishman (2001) pointed out in his study. Language is more than a tool of communication; it is a very special gift, a marker of identity and responsibility for the future generation. It can also be noted that language attrition and loss can be considered as disregard to minor languages and cultural minorities. Thus, Crawford (1995) states, “Language death does not happen in privileged communities”.

When a language is no longer spoken and use, language death happens. While language loss can be devastating to a community, it remains inevitable. In some cases, only two elderly are left to have known speaking a particular language. Along with the language death, a culture dies as well. The knowledge and wisdom shared in that culture find extinction and shall be kept in the realm of oblivion – a disadvantage to humanity.

Many, if not all, of us must dedicate to undertake the challenge of reversing language loss in communities and work in language preservation. The government, civic groups and individuals must contribute their share towards this cause, and give an honest effort for the endeavor.  Although these efforts may vary in size, resources, goals, and results, they share a dedication to specific heritage languages so that they may be spoken by future generations.

 

 

References:

Andersen, R. W. (1982). Determining the linguistic attributes of language attrition. In R. D. Lambert, & B. F. Freed (Eds.), The loss of language  skills (pp. 83-118). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

 

Crawford, J. (1995). Endangered Native American languages: What is to be done and why? The Bilingual Research Journal, 19(1), 17-38.

 

De Bot, K., Lowie, W., & Verspoor, M. (2007). A Dynamic Systems Theory approach to second language acquisition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10 (1), 7-21.

 

Fishman, J. A. (2001). Why is it so hard to save a threatened language? In J. A. Fishman (Ed.), Can threatened languages be saved? (pp. 1-22). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

 

Köpke, B. (2004). Neurolinguistic aspects of attrition. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 17(1), 3-30.

 

Seliger, H. W. (1991). Language attrition, reduced redundancy, and creativity. In H. W. Seliger, & R. M. Vago (Eds.), First language attrition (pp. 227-240). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

 

Seliger, H. W. (1996). Primary language attrition in the context of bilingualism. In W. C. Ritchie, & T. K. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 605-626). New York, NY: Academic Press.

Categories: My Perspective

Speech of Gratitude towards Cooperating Teachers

In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed – this is the fine words of the learned explaining how to make it through tough times. Read more…

Categories: Speeches

Resources for teaching Writing

Hello! Please find below the links to the materials that you may find use of. Please comment and like to simply signal that there are those who are accessing the shared materials. God bless!

1000 Quick Writing Ideas

Associate Press Sports Writing Handbook

Steps to Writing Well

The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing

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