Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Languages, links and identities in a society on the move: M. Carme Junyent
M. Carme JUNYENT
Universitat de Barcelona
The XX century represents the culmination of linguistic homogenization, a process that has accelerated and multiplied in the last centuries and which has taken us to where we are today, with almost 95 per cent of the languages of the world at risk of disappearing. Different elements have intervened in this process, among which linguistic imperialism stands out. So long as linguistic imperialism is a static mechanism that imposes but doesn’t create, it will lead us to a paradox; the more chance we have of changing – today’s communication facilities are unprecedented in human history –, the less chance we have of creating, subjected as we are to homogenizing pressure. So, we end up creating false or volatile links and a growing incapability to collaborate creatively. This dynamic takes place in various fields, from Medicine, where Western Medicine has been established as the “good” and, thus, legitimate Medicine; to Literature, where the use of dominant metropolitan languages by acculturated writers has meant, on one hand, that they have entered a collapsed market where they are ignored or seen as exotic individuals, but hardly ever as members of the corpus of Universal Literature; and on the other, that they have hindered authors who write in autochthonous languages, on the understanding that we have already had enough of whatever those languages could bring about, thanks to their post-colonial friends. In fact, the imposition of a unique model is clearly visible in societies on the...
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