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Languages
Languages 

A great diversity of languages? 

There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today, not counting dialects.

As the expression of a culture, a means of communication, a language emerges to serve the community that uses it; it is also constantly evolving, although written languages evolve less rapidly that those that are only spoken. The influential force of a language, however, is not so much linked to any more or less great intrinsic quality it may posses, but more to the role played, whether in the political, religious or cultural field, by those who speak it.

A language which remains rigidly fixed to its past, refusing, for the sake of purity, to adapt to the constantly changing world, in the end gets left behind. The linguistic scene before us today has thus been forged by history: the languages of great civilizations such as Sanskrit or ancient Egyptian have practically disappeared, as have countless numbers of little known or unknown languages. There is little doubt that the 5000 languages spoken in the world today represent but a very small proportion of all the languages that have been spoken since the origin of Mankind.

If one considers that each language is the result of thousands of years of effort on the part of a section of Mankind to comprehend the world, is is easier to understand why linguistic diversity is a blessing rather than a handicap, an asset rather than a disadvantage.

And this "Tower of Babel" is more valuable than any single language, because the different populations living on earth do not only fight with each other : they meet, they mix, they converse and make exchanges, they translate each other. Mankind could ill do without such enriching experiences!





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