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Preserving Culture And Language In The 21st Century 

Culture is a living thing, and we are growing to recognise its tangible and intangible value. It lives and dies among us as we decide which aspects of it we will adopt and which ones have to be adapted or eliminated. However, the consequences of colonisation, globalisation and the hegemony of the English language have endangered various cultures. How do we keep cultures from dying in a world that is consumed with the idea of connecting externally and thrives on assimilation and acculturation? Initiatives have been pioneered to address this because societies recognise the fundamental concepts of social identity in cultural definitions.

In 2007, the Universal Forum of Cultures Monterrey gathered in Mexico to find means of sustaining different cultures that appeared to be fading. Pioneered in the late 90’s in Barcelona, the Universal Forum Of Cultures invites peoples from all over to a friendly convention to exchange language and culture; to grow more culturally-aware of the world around them. 

Why Is It Important?

The loss of cultural information has a chain reaction. Experts report that the world is in danger of losing almost 3000 languages. In a few years these languages that have not been preserved will be extinct, and with them, crucial pieces of the cultures that spoke them. Languages tie identities and peoples. The dominance of European languages, however, makes it difficult to use native languages prominently and share them. When English grew to become the most widely spoken language in the world, people had to adapt to lock in job opportunities and social ascension.

The loss of language is the death of civilizations that played a hand in history. The past holds evidences that are worth delving into to enrich our understanding of civilization and culture. While intercultural communication is significant and requires a common form of communication, within-culture interaction is also a crucial component of anthropology and cultural studies. The Universal Forum of Cultures attempts to not only promote different people of distinct language backgrounds and cultures to come together. Its goal is to shed light on the identities cultures instill, and the large role played by language. 

As literature continues the long journey of decolonisation, English becomes a lesser language for opportunism without consideration of other tongues. It still offers employment opportunities, but native speakers of other languages (including the younger generations) are attempting to connect with their roots and cultures by keeping their native tongues alive alongside another dominant. Chinese Mandarin is becoming a useful language to know as China experiences an economic ascension that could equal that of the USA. Therefore, many societies of Chinese ethnicity are aware of the influence of their language. 

How Do We Preserve Culture And Language? 

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Forums And Festivals

Global forums like the Monterrey Forum in Mexico have become an impactful part of cultural awareness and language preservation. Their aim is to ensure that interactions with other societies can increase our appreciation for language and culture variety while still appreciating our nativity. Held every four years, the festivities are accompanied by discussions and activities from some of the most unique cultures on the planet. It is an effective way to highlight the diversity that needs to be protected.

The road to saving languages proves to be an arduous one. The most apparent ways include learning these languages, but it is not that easy. Language holds a reservoir of data, from figurative speech to music and literature. It is vast and rooted, not only in the speech but in practices and concepts. For instance, as technology advances, many native languages do not have the words to accommodate them. While words can be made to fill the spaces, the rapid growth of vocabulary threatens to make it difficult to keep up with other large languages. Playing catch-up is difficult in theory and in practice. 

Interactions With Native Speakers And Technology

One wholly interesting method language preservation is speaking with native speakers and recording them. A speaker of the language Nluu died in 2021, leaving behind only one other fluent speaker. It is one of the oldest San languages spoken by the Khomani people of the Kalahari. It was only identified by researchers in the late 1990’s despite its existence for thousands of years. While they race against time to collect more information on the language, time races, too, to claim its speakers.

In learning a language, what is often required is translation. The most obvious and popular language of translation is English. However, just as some languages and cultures do not have equivalents of English scientific concepts, the English language does not keep the integrity of many other languages. The translations of reading material require a close analysis and consideration for what the term or concept means in the native tongue, because the nuance of words and concepts is lost through translation.

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Writing, collecting literature or recording speech helps preserve culture. Any kind of durable media can accommodate language, and in turn preserve elements of a culture. This is where academics, fluent native communities and researchers pull together their expertise. This way the data can be stored and distributed. An SAP analytics cloud Malaysia is able to hold large volumes of data for later recollection. It is a software that uses intelligence to connect people, information and ideas. It practises data collection and protection even when sharing the information. Therefore, researchers and experts involved in language preservation can securely transfer information amongst themselves. This can further their attempts to

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