Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The English language has by now reached the status of lingua franca throughout the world, to the point that the vast majority of people, to a specific question on their knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon idiom, answer “I know English!” (despite uttering a sequence of unintelligible sounds when it comes to using it). In many countries, including Italy, there is growing concern about the possibility of losing the heritage of the mother tongue, because of the invasion of internet caf├ęs, intercity trains and ministries such as welfare. In my view, the possibility of Italian being replaced by English is still a quite remote one (even though I had rather start worrying about it, since it would put me among the unemployed) and, in any case, there are some who fare worse than we do. DOBES is a Dutch program dealing with endangered languages, describing their history and giving the opportunity to listen to the sound of some of them. At least, if and when our language is on the brink of obsolescence, we will know whom to turn to…

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