Could Simplified Communication Lead To Language Extinction?

Is the art of learning languages soon to be a thing of the past? Over years linguists have tried a number of different ways to simplify communication between cultures; this is usually done via the pictograph (signs and symbols). 

Pictographs originate from the Ancient Sumerian, Egyptian and Chinese. These early pictographs were ideograms which essentially conveyed meaning via symbols. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to a considerable extent pictorial in appearance. 

Today pictographs are used in similar ways throughout the world in order to communicate at ease between different countries that do not speak the same language. For example ‘emergency exit’ signs, the sign with the little man throwing something in a bin or ‘hazard’ signs – anyone who sees this no matter what language they speak automatically understand the meaning of it. Signs and symbols will only increase as time goes on, but will this leave the population of the world not learning languages? 

In many parts of the world pictographs are used on a daily basis at public toilets, airports, around cities and towns when it comes to directions and even now on mobile games such as Angry Birds which is navigated by arrows and not language. Linguists are predicting that as communication becomes more digital and visual, the future of language as the use of symbols and signs are on the increase.  What will happen to the use of language leaning if language barriers can be reduced in day to day situations? 

There are both advantages and disadvantages of pictographs. A significant advantage is that it can communicate to a large audience of a number of languages and still convey meaning. On the other hand, the disadvantage is they can unfortunately only convey a minuscule amount of information. 

Undeniably pictographs make travel significantly easier; helping visitors navigate with ease around the country to see landmarks and sites. But in reality although signs and symbols allow some form of ease within communication, it doesn’t actually assist in human interaction. But general human interaction still counts for a lot for a significant amount of the population. Foreign languages are seen as a successful career tool, particularly with the growing demand for multilingual skills within businesses. 

Nevertheless could it be argued that despite the growing need for multilingual skills within businesses, laziness could take over language learning? What do you think? Share your thoughts with us.

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