Sunday, June 14, 2015

From Systems Thinking Perspective: Is the Diversity of Languages a Good Thing, or Bad Thing?

Language is the foundation to how thought processes are communicated giving to cultural differences.

Statically, “There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers; and there are an estimated 832 languages spoken by a population of around 3.9 million." ( And there are both alphabetic and symbol based languages as well. From Systems Thinking perspective, is the rich of languages the good thing or bad thing for the advancement of human society as a whole?

Language is the foundation to how thought processes are communicated giving to cultural differences. Solutions through systems thinking can only be enhanced because of diversity and differences in perspectives of reality. Human language is essentially a sound medium - one of the five senses. Different languages have evolved in isolation as people used different sounds to express the same thought. Thoughts are driven by our environments, both physical and socially. Consequently, languages are tied to unique cultures.

“Lost in translation” is indeed one of the root causes of mankind problems. Global communication would be more efficient if we had one language. There is a desire among unilingual people to have everyone using the same language at least for the Internet. But native language(s) is an integral part of our environment even if people grow up in a bilingual environment. The caution is towards creating a monoculture waning diversity. How do we push creativity through curiosity if we have nothing to challenge our thoughts besides the confines of one culture and one language? It perhaps leads us to homogeneous thought systems, thus against Systems Thinking’s goals and objectives.

The evolution of language
: English is the current Universal business language globally right now because of the previous expanse of the British Empire. English as a language is made up of several languages including Latin, french, Scandinavian and it is constantly evolving. The English we speak today is different from the English being spoken 100 years ago. So language will continue to evolve and change to the needs of the people using it. We will likely end up with a modified universal dialect.

Systems Thinking is a cognitive process that is enabled by the understanding that interconnectedness is a condition of many, but not all, of one’s experiences. This understanding is to be independent of language. Every language provides the window to see the world differently and intimately, also train us to think in different way via philosophical, sociological, psychological, and historical, etc. lenses, and languages are the root of varying world cultures as well. So the world would be a mighty dull place if everybody spoke the same language. Technology does continue to make progress on ease of communication. Language is the art, as creative beings, we need to be supporting the revitalization of language thus preservation of cultures. Languages are not supposed to be the wall to isolate us, but the full light spectrum to make the world more colorful and brighter.


Post a Comment