Everything is connected to language
Michel Kenmogne, Executive Director of SIL International, explains that language plays an important role in forming our identity and place in the world:
Our first language connects us to our identity in a way no other language can. My first language is Ghomálá’, one of the 283 languages spoken in Cameroon. Words in Ghomálá’ don’t just convey a message to my brain. They evoke deep memories, touch my emotions, and remind me who I truly am.
Over the years, I have had the painful experience of needing to deny myself, and the language I spoke at home, in order to access education and to enjoy a better socioeconomic status. This is the tragedy faced by speakers of many lesser-known languages of the world.
As the cultures and languages of the world continue to be impoverished, the quality of human life will be endangered as well. That is because language is tied to our emotions, and our identities, and all social, political and economic aspects of our lives. Everything is connected to language.
It is my desire and hope that as a global community, we will use the opportunity of this International Year of Indigenous Languages so that this generation will be known as the one that intervened for languages so that the world’s linguistic tapestry and cultural diversity was preserved.
Dr Michel Kenmogne
Executive Director SIL International
Source: SIL International’s website (2019)