Last Words By Walter Michaels

Decent Essays
In the essay “Last Words,” published on the first of October in 2006, the author Walter Michaels instills an idea of what to do when a language is loss. Throughout the essay, he gives examples of how languages are (and how they could be) lost. He also points out, that even though many of those reasons have been eliminated, that languages continue to go extinct. Thus, the author brings up the point, “Why would it be a tragedy if English disappeared?” Although people mourn the loss of a language, Michaels argues that speakers of the dying language should exert effort to learn the dominate one.
The reason for a language’s death having little importance is that it is just a tool for communication. Any tool can be replaced. For example, “The very thing that made it a mistake for the missionaries to try to stop people from speaking Native American languages…makes it a mistake to care whether people continue to speak (it’s not as if English is worse).” (Michaels, 2006) English became the tool for communication, replacing the Native American languages. This happens to places where a new language is introduced, and begins to grow more popular compared to the native language, for some type of need. This leads to the dominating language to become the lingua franca.
A lingua franca is a language that is the common grounds for communication. Major languages come and sweep the minor languages under the rug. While the minor languages aren’t completely forgotten, yet, the major language is
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