Language endangerment is not always language death
abdul at October 1st, 2015
However, we should not see language endangerment in simplistic terms. Because there are so many factors involved, a language does not usually die out uniformly. It might be vanishing in one place but not in others, for a variety of different reasons. Population size, though important, is not always critical: a smaller group can dominate a larger one – as has been seen often with the European presence in Africa. Moreover, geographical proximity is not always critical for one culture to influence another. The Québécois variety of French (very distinct from the French spoken in France) is being successfully maintained in eastern Canada, despite being surrounded by hundreds of millions of English speakers (see below for an account of how this previously-endangered variety is now secure). And we should be wary of seeing English (or any other globalizing language) as a “killer language”, since the spread of such international linguistic varieties are resisted successfully at local levels:
McDonald stores in non-Anglophone countries are not operating in English, just like their menus have not replicated the original American menu. Nowadays, Hollywood movies are usually released concurrently in many major languages (sometimes in editions adapted to local cultures), because the industry is more interested in making money than in spreading English and/or American values. The literature accompanying American computers in non-Anglophone countries is not exclusively in English. BBC and Voice of America radio programs also broadcast in a wide range of languages other than English, which suggests that even at such an ideological outreach level, the spread of English is not the main goal.