Inspirational Story Of How This Woman Saved Her Dying Culture

CULTURE | 3 minute read | | 0 Comments | 723 Likes

In the wake of globalisation, a lot of languages worldwide are facing a serious threat. We are so focused on making a living, that we end up doing whatever it takes to make the big bucks. To make this happen we often adapt to modern lifestyles, immigrate to countries that offer more opportunities, all in a hope to see more, learn more, and earn more.

A recent UNESCO report indicated that India has the largest number of endangered languages in the world. So what makes a country lose its language? Usually it’s when a large group adopts another language - one that is used more commonly or because it’s used by a more powerful group.

“There are an estimated 7,100 languages spoken in the world; approximately 80% of these languages are spoken by less than 100,000 people; about 140 languages are spoken by less than 10 people - CIA's World Factbook published in 2015

So while the world suffers the global crisis of people losing their cultural uniqueness, one woman has taken it upon herself to preserve something precious to her.

Even though some argue that modernisation and technology comes at a cost and it has made us lose our cultural identity, there are people young and old fighting to preserve this and one such story is of Marie Wilcox.

Marie’s Dictionary, a film directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee focuses on the last fluent speaker of the Native American language Wukchumni and the dictionary created by her to keep her language alive. This film reflects on the loss of culture by giving it a human face and interviews Mary and her family on the subject.

When we speak about attempting to preserve the language of a country, we are not trying to protect a single heritage but we are attempting from something disappearing globally. Our differences make us unique and there’s a lot that can be learnt from unique cultures and languages, but when they start disappearing they are gone forever and it’s a global loss.

“Languages help to shape the way we think and look at the world, and how sad it is that around fifty percent of the languages spoken in the world are no longer being taught to children.” - Wade Davis, a National Geographic explorer

If you’ve watched Marie’s Dictionary and loved it then we would also recommend Wade Davis' TED talk ‘Dreams from endangered cultures'.

Ultimately the most important thing that can be done to keep a language from disappearing is by creating favourable conditions for its speakers to speak the language and teach it to their children. So how are you making a change?


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