Hegemonious languages or heritage? From modernity to postmodernity


Katie Wudel reflects on the above predictions made by Dr. John McWhorter in the Wall Street Journal recently. In her article, Katie balances ease of communication in more hegemonious languages against the potential loss of minority languages as well as elements of the cultures that are described by those languages. In terms of the dominance of the English language, this is an issue that has affected England’s closest neighbour, Wales, for longer than any other language, but can’t we use both majority and minority languages on a dual basis as Wales has done? To return to McWhorter, this is easier said than done when a dying language has no written form but this excellent article by Valérie Guérin shows success in this in a project in Vanuatu. A potential result of such keen language preservation projects, would be that languages that have suffered from ‘modernity’ as described by David Graddol, could find their own places in the postmodern age of heritage language learning via the Internet.