By Jacomine Nortier
Photo Credit: Ahmad Zamri
“In my next article I will discuss the importance of maintaining
the home language and why there is no harm in using
a home language that is different from what
the outside world is speaking.”
These were my last words in July, before I left for a long holiday trip to France. There I felt once more how it is to be in a country where you speak the language but not quite well enough to fully understand and use it with all of the finesse that native speakers do. I was happy to be with my partner with whom I could talk about every thinkable topic without linguistic barriers, despite the fact that our language is considered relatively unimportant in French eyes and is not understood by most.
Economic value of language
Many people who make laws and know a lot about economics talk about languages as if each had a monetary value: On a global scale, the language currently with the highest economic value is English, with Spanish and Chinese gaining.
So why bother investing time and money in learning languages such as Berber, Quechua or Kurdish? Why should people be encouraged to bring up their children in such economically unimportant mother tongues? There are several reasons why all languages are equal candidates – the most important reason is the fundamental right each of us has to maintain our language and cultural identity. But are there not additional values as well?
In this article I want to elaborate on the the view that speaking and using the home language is not just a matter of human rights. It has objectively measurable cognitive advantages that are connected with the function language has within families. Below I will attempt to explain this… Click here to read more…