No “Superior Language”

There are numerous languages across the world.  Some are variations of another, some are related and some are so completely different as to have nothing in common with another one.  Some languages borrow words from another language in their vocabulary.  English certainly does this over and over.  Just consider the word bureau.  This word is actually a word from the French language, and English has taken it right into the English vocabulary.  So, the languages end up being somewhat related through shared vocabulary, but this is generally the exception rather than the rule.

With all the many languages, there certainly must be opinions as to which one is “better“.  Latin is often seen as a foundational and classical language, but it is honestly rarely spoken any longer in most areas.  While it is still studied, it is not considered a “living language” as it is not used exclusively by any one people group.  But, Spanish, French and several other languages are based on Latin and vocabulary may be recognizable from one language to another.  Latin is frequently seen as a root language.  Even English uses a great deal from Latin, particularly in the use of prefixes and suffixes and grammar structures.  However, none of this makes Latin superior to any other language.  Nor does it make a language that sprouted from it superior.

Each language carries its own value and benefit, both in cultural context and in uniqueness.  Language is shaped by the needs of its people and grows and changes with time.  Consider “Old English” and “Modern English”.  In both spelling and vocabulary these are very different, although from the same geographical areas, but different time periods.  When you compare the two languages, it is possible to see where the later language grew from, and even trace out the changes over time.  Although we would have difficulty managing to converse in “Old English” in our daily lives, we likely can read it with only mild to moderate difficulty.  And if an “Old English” speaker were to appear in our modern times, it is likely that he or she could manage to communicate with us, however with some challenges due to the changes.  But neither language is better than the other, they are just influenced by the times and changes in which they were spoken.

Language carries its value in what it can express, in meeting the needs of the native speakers, and in allowing people to interact fluently.  If one were to pit one language against another, it would be a fruitless endeavor.  Each language meets the needs of its own culture.  What works in one cultural context will likely not work in another context.  If we were to compare the function of one language to another it would be like comparing apples and oranges.  Similar but not at all.  Each with its own unique qualities that meet the needs of the user.  Language is of value because it lets people communicate richly, vividly and continuously.

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