Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Language Do You Speak?

Over 6,700 languages are spoken around the world. But before the end of this century, half of those will be gone. About 200 languages now have fewer than 10 speakers, and another 200 languages have less than 50.

We use language to communicate our thoughts, pass along memories, share information, point to the future. As Jim pointed out today in Part 7 of our Purity and Holiness series, God gave us speech:
  • to praise Him
  • to encourage others
  • to inspire others
  • to do good
  • to be what He created us to be
So how are we doing? Do the words we speak live up to those goals? Are they expressing who we really are...children of God, saved by grace, created to give God glory?

Or would the world be better if some of the languages we speak disappeared? According to UNESCO, a language is considered endangered when its speakers quit using it, when it is used in less and less situations, and when its speakers fail to teach it to the next generation. Should we be doing that with some of our speech?

On the other hand, how do we keep a language from disappearing? The most important things are: “to create favorable conditions for its speakers to speak the language, and to teach it to their children.”

There’s only one native speaker of the language of Livonian left. When he dies, the language will be gone as well. If you were the last native speaker of the language you’re using, would it be a good or bad thing for the language to die with you?

Choose your words wisely.

My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. Psalm 145:21

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

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