Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 6

Diminished Languages in 2115

Rhetorical Analysis of What the World Will Speak in 2115


Elisa Rivera
University of Texas at El Paso

Diminished Languages in 2115


In the modern world there are a variety of languages that are vastly diverse in a multitude
of aspects: from the way each language carries its own historical background, to the extent of
linguistic rules that are applied to the specific dialect. Dr. John H. McWhorter, a Professor of
linguistics, American Studies, Philosophy and Music at Columbia University, believes that the
large variety of languages and their complexities will gradually diminish with time -due to their
high diversity-. McWhorters stated argument is that from the approximate 6,000 languages
today, only 600 will survive around the world in the year 2115 (McWhorter, 2015). The
informative, op-ed article titled What the World Will Speak in 2115 published Jan. 2, 2015,
was written in a didactic tone serving as an informative read in order to convince the audience
that languages will slowly vanish to a few dominate ones. Linguistic scholars is the central
audience for this article. Moreover, the author of this article is successful in delivering his ideas
due to his use of euphemistic diction, pathos, logos (logical fallacies), and ethos.
McWhorter writes ... humans can express themselves in several thousand languages is a
delight in countless ways; few would welcome the loss of this variety to stress an emotional
appeal of a community in the text to support the idea that the loss of a language is not optimal,
but the necessary, because the exigence of so many languages can also create problems
(McWhorter, 2015). McWhorter understands that every language has a cultural significance to
the natives of the language, but only includes this idea to progress to the reason why people all
over the world are gradually practicing their native languages less. The exigence McWhorter
mentions is the importance to maintain so many languages for the sake of cultural preservation,
but in reality having so many languages separate us and prevents smooth interactions between
people. The exigence for this article is to acknowledge the slow death of all languages and
present the thought of remaining in a future with just one language.

Diminished Languages in 2115


Furthermore, McWhorter goes on to say its possible that only about 600 languages will
be left on the planet as opposed to todays 6,000(McWhorter, 2015), this is an example of an
appeal to probability. McWhorter forms this example of a logical fallacy in order to exaggerate
his argument of the lessened languages throughout time. McWhorter also uses the logical fallacy,
Slippery Slope in the following sentence Colonization has led to the disappearance of
languages (McWhorter, 2015). The rethor uses this this form of logical fallacy to introduce and
sharpen the topic of colonization having to play a major role in the reason why so many
languages are no longer in practice. This Slippery Slope addresses the controversial topic of
languages dying off, suggesting that it will ultimately end up being completely true only because
of colonization.
Additionally, McWhorter believes that if one generation no longer passes a language onto
their children while young, this language not implemented, hence not practiced, will lead to the
loss of that particular language. This is because McWhorter states that as adults it is difficult to
actually learn and practice a language vs. a child whose mind can absorb a whole language while
in childs practice. The rehtor, provides imagery in his text by stating children whose minds
are plastic (McWhorter, 2015) to emphasis that children are more capable of learning a
language rather than an adult who is already proficient in another dialect. Furthermore,
McWhorter gives the analogy that languages grow in complexity the way that people pick up
habits and cars pick up rust (McWhorter, 2015), to suggest that people as adults tend to
complicate their own language. This is another reason that places weight on the idea that as
adults it is harder to comprehend a new language, besides their own.
In addition to the analysis of What the World Will Speak in 2115 the authors diction
was euphemistic in its own nature. The choice of words can be described as academic and

Diminished Languages in 2115


formal, but in the sense that it can be read and understood by all audiences High School level
and beyond. Although an easy read, the constraints that are present in the article are eminently
the lack of statistical data. McWhorter only listed approximations for example 6,000 languages,
when in reality its 6,909 languages. Although his opinions as to how fast the languages were
decreasing lacked factual support throughout, McWhorter did list various examples of the many
languages in the world that are truly difficult. Such as, Mandarin Chinese, the examples also
include those that have spread like English, and even those that have been lost like Volapuk.
Another noted constraint happens to be that the article is published through the company Wall
Street Journal, this can limit the accessibility to the article itself, limiting the amount of diversity
of individuals who read it. But at the same time this allows his article to gain attention from a
variety of Wall Street Journal subscribers, often literate individuals.
Moreover, the credibility -ethos- of the article is found in the author himself. Dr. John H.
Mcwhorter is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Columbia. The fact that he is a titled
individual in a linguistic profession implements reliability towards the information stated by Dr.
McWhorter in his article What the World Will Speak in 2115. Inclusively he is the author of
the book The Language Hoax which was published by Oxford University Press. Having a
published book about linguistics aids the topic of his article. What is more, his article published
by The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal is a prestigious newspaper company, the
largest newspaper in the United States. This acquired credibility makes it an article already
attractive to read and trustworthy. McWhorter is eminently a credible individual.
The exigence for an article such as this one What Will the World Speak in 2115 is
grand. Not only do linguistic scholars need to become aware of diminishing languages, but so do
individuals all over the world who wish to preserve their native language. McWhorter through

Diminished Languages in 2115


the rhetorical use of pathos, logos and ethos created a polite, engaging, informative read that
truly succeeded at establishing the thoughts for the languages of tomorrow.

Diminished Languages in 2115

References
McWhorter, John H. (2015). What the World Will Speak in 2115. Retrieved from
http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-world-will-speak-in-2115-1420234648

Похожие интересы