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- IELTS Reading Matching Features
- IELTS Reading Yes/ No/Not Given
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IELTS reading passage – Saving Language
The demise of a single language is not unusual. Throughout history, communities have come and gone, taking their language with them. By the standards of the past, however, what is occurring right now is extraordinary. It represents the widespread extinction of languages. The best estimates place the number of languages in the world at around 6,000. About half of these will disappear over the course of the next century, which translates to 3,000 languages in just 1,200 months. Every two weeks or so, a language is thought to be disappearing from the planet.
How are we aware? Linguists from all over the world have been compiling data for the past two or three decades. They draw the conclusion that a language will soon become extinct if there are only a few speakers left and no one is making an effort to teach the younger generations the language. And if there are fewer than 100 speakers of a language, we must come to the same conclusion. It won’t probably continue for very long. Only 4% of the world’s population speaks 97% of the languages, according to a 1999 survey.
There is nothing that can be done to save many languages because there are either too few or too old speakers, and the community is too busy trying to survive to care about their language. However, not all languages face such dire circumstances. When languages are in grave danger of extinction, there are frequently steps that can be taken to save them. It’s known as revitalization.
When a community becomes aware that its language is in danger, it can begin to take steps to genuinely revitalize it. The community must aspire to maintain its language. Respect for minority languages must be shown by the culture it is a part of. Funding is required to support the teachers, materials, and courses. Additionally, linguists are required to complete the fundamental task of recording the language on paper. The most important thing is to record, analyze, and write down the language. If people are to survive in a society that is becoming more computer-literate, they must be able to read and write.
Can we, however, save a few thousand languages in that manner? Yes, if there was the desire and the money. The hiring of linguists, the training of local analysts, the provision of teachers and language resources to the community, the compilation of grammar and dictionaries, and the creation of educational materials are not inexpensive. An endangered language needs to be revitalized over a long period of time. Although it is challenging to make generalizations due to the wide range of circumstances, $100,000 per language per year cannot be far from the truth. We would need to spend about $900 million if we put that much effort into learning each of the 3,000 languages over the course of three years.
Famous cases serve as examples of what is possible. Welsh is the only Celtic language that has begun to show signs of real growth in addition to halting its steady decline toward extinction. Welsh is currently protected by two Language Acts, and it is becoming more prevalent throughout Wales.
On the other side of the globe, a system of so-called “language nests,” which were first implemented in 1982, has helped to preserve Maori in New Zealand. These are organizations that give young children under the age of five exposure to the language in a home environment. All of the employees are native Maori speakers from the neighborhood. After leaving the nests, it is hoped that the kids will continue to practice their Maori skills, and as they get older, they will serve as role models for a new generation of young kids. These kinds of situations occur frequently. Faroese, which is spoken in the Faroe Islands after the Islanders received some political autonomy from Denmark, is one example of a language that has grown significantly when it is associated with a degree of political autonomy.
Romansch faced a challenging situation in Switzerland, where it is spoken in five distinct dialects and has dwindling numbers as young people leave their community for employment in German-speaking cities. The development of a single written language for all of these dialects in the 1980s provided the solution in this case. In some regions of Switzerland, Romansch Grischun, as it is now known, has official status. It is also being used more frequently in the spoken form on radio and television.
A language can be saved from extinction by being revived. After many years of neglect and suppression, there were now only eight elderly fluent speakers of the Ainu language in Japan. However, fresh perspectives and a positive interest in survival were brought about by new government policies. Many “semi-speakers,” or individuals who had stopped speaking Ainu due to the undesirable attitudes of Japanese speakers, were encouraged to start speaking again. The language is more widely accessible than it has been in years, and there is new interest in it.
Even extinct languages can be revived with the right descriptions and resources. An illustration is the South Australian tribe Kaurna. Although it had been lost to history for about a century, this language was quite well documented. Therefore, when a significant movement for its revival emerged, it was possible to rebuild it. Naturally, the revised language differs from the original. It lacks much of the older vocabulary and the range of the original. However, it can still serve as a badge of modern identity for its inhabitants. And just like any other living language, it will expand its capabilities and its vocabulary as long as people continue to value it as a true indicator of their identity and are willing to continue using it.
Though it is too soon to predict these revived languages’ futures, in some parts of the world they are attracting precisely the types of supportive grassroots sentiments and attitudes that are necessary for language survival. We may observe slight increases in the overall number of languages in the world in such unexpected but heartwarming ways.
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Saving Language Reading Questions
Some of the elements required to support the revitalization of a language within a community are listed below. Which THREE of the following factors does the text’s author mention? Write the appropriate letters A-G in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.
- assistance from the native population
- the existence of similar languages
- on-the-spot assistance from language experts
- a variety of speakers of various ages
- procedures for formal education
- a common reason for which the language is necessary.
- books tracing the language’s historical development.
Match the languages A-F with the statements below (Questions 4-8) which describe how a language was saved. Write your answers in boxes 4-8 on your answer sheet.
4. The revival of the language was made possible by written samples of it.
5. There was a mix of different kinds of language.
6. Some parts of the population were given the chance to take part in language immersion programs.
7. People were told to think less negatively about the language.
8. The area where the language was spoken won its freedom.
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Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer of Reading Passage? Write:
YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage
9. When a small community’s language is in danger, the most important thing to do is to save it.
10. Some parts of the world are more likely to lose their language than others.
11. For a language to survive, more than 100 people need to speak it.
12. In the 1990s, scientists started looking into why languages are dying out.
13. The rate that languages are dying out is getting faster.
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Saving Language Reading Answers
10. NOT GIVEN
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