How has Global Migration Affected Language Accessibility Worldwide?
Languages evolve over time: some have become extinct, some are on the verge of extinction, and others are continually merging and acquiring new words and phrases. Communication between humans varies as civilization grows, resulting in significant cultural alterations. Colonialism, immigration, and globalization have all had a significant impact on how we talk and even think on a daily basis. Let’s take a deep dive into the phenomenon that forever changed the world’s languages…
Immigration and Language
The movement of people across international borders is known as international migration. International migration occurs for a variety of causes, including wars, economic downturns, and cultural shifts. People have left and are still leaving their nations today, not knowing another language but full of optimism and hope.
Immigration has a significant impact on language since immigrants must learn a new vocabulary from scratch as well as share their cultural experiences with other people through words and phrases from their mother tongue. The introduction of immigrants from other countries has resulted in considerable language variations due to the borrowing of terms and the introduction of new concepts.
As stated by the United Nations, “the number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly in recent years, reaching 258 million in 2017, up from 220 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000 reaching 281 million in 2020 with only 59.1 million during 2021 and 2022.” According to experts, this not only alters the language but can even bring about entirely new dialects.
Globalization and Language
Globalization is defined by the Suny Levin Institute as “the acceleration and intensification of economic contact among individuals, businesses, and governments of different nations.”
Technological advancements and the development of the Internet altered how we communicate with one another. Learning a new language is now easier than ever. People can speak several languages with people all around the world by just utilizing their computer or smartphone.
Another result of globalization is that English has become the “global language,” as it is regarded as the language of science, technology, and business, and it serves as a reference operational language for many multinational enterprises worldwide. Have you noticed that English signage can be found in practically every international airport across the world?
While the widespread use of the “global language” has many benefits, it can also be considered a threat to native languages and their diversity.
Some examples of a globalized language:
-Italian words in Argentina
Argentina received a flurry of Italian immigrants between 1870 and 1960. While Argentines speak a Spanish dialect, a few Italian terms have crept into everyday conversation. “The Italian word femmina (woman), for example, was abbreviated to mina; fiacco (laziness) became fiaca,” according to the BBC. Similarly, bacán (of or pertaining to the good life), biaba (hair coloring or scent), and laburar (to labor) also have an Italian origin.” These are only a few examples of how Italian terms have infiltrated Argentian Spanish over time.
-The language dispute in Cameroon.
“During the colonial period, the territory that now includes the modern-day state of Cameroon was split between British and French rule,” writes Arcgis. Nowadays, a portion of the population speaks English, while the remainder speaks French. Because French was chosen as the official language, several anglophones were dissatisfied with the imposition of that language in the law and education institutions.
“Okay”: the planet’s most spoken word
“Okay is one of the most commonly used and recognized terms in the world,” Allan Metcalf explained. Almost everyone understands and uses it all the time, which is yet another result of globalization and language shifts. “Okay” is an English term that has become universally recognized; even if two people speak different languages, when one speaks it, the other understands exactly what they mean.
Language has been deformed, stretched, and modified as a result of immigration and globalization. Although it may appear to be a beneficial thing because it allows many people to speak more easily with others and languages to become richer, experts warn that it may cause a big permanent change in our planet and its cultures when some local languages die.
“It is essential for educators and policymakers in each nation to reshape the evolution of national language policies in such a way that the rights of all citizens to education in their own mother-tongues are respected, and the social, cultural, and linguistic resources of multi-ethnic and diverse societies can be sustained and preserved,” UNESCO stated.
How Did Language Change as a Result of Global Migration?
When people migrate, their languages change as well. Words, sounds, and grammatical structures may be adopted or removed in a bilingual or multilingual setting. It is a tool employed in the mixing of individuals, and if the mixed groups speak different languages, the contact may affect their languages. A language can experience phonetic and grammatical changes, sometimes separating into different language families (such as Proto-Germanic and Proto-Slavic, both of which were daughter languages of Proto-Indo-European).
What Are the Top Migration Effects and Implications?
Migration improves people’s quality of life. People are able to learn about different cultures, habits, and languages as a result, which enriches their social lives. When skilled workers relocate to a place, the economy thrives faster.
Migration has a number of consequences on social structures, including 1) improving foreigners’ living conditions, 2) teaching migrants the language of the welcoming country, 3) resolving both labor shortages and the unemployment problem of unskilled migrants, and 4) enhancing educational and occupational credentials.
What Impact Do Language Barriers Have on Immigrants?
The obvious and most difficult obstacle is language hurdles, which impede communication, essential for survival and prospering. Because of this issue, new immigrants may have difficulty finding work, acquiring education, obtaining medical treatment, finding housing, and just getting around. Eliminating language barriers through meaningful language access and supporting language acquisition options helps newcomers with integrating into the society of the welcoming country and becoming productive members of the new society.
The act of leaving one’s home country can be emotionally difficult, especially for those who may never be able to return and/or were forced out by situations that they couldn’t control. Having to emigrate as a refugee breaks up families and can destabilize immigrants’ sense of self, which could lead to depression. These challenges obviously should not be taken lightly – help and support are key.
By welcoming migrants into our communities, we ensure they will adapt to the local culture quicker and more efficiently as well as enrich the community by the exchange of new ideas and cultural norms.
**At Bromberg, we embrace the diversity within our company and the communities we work with. Our team of highly trained interpreters and translators is ready to help with your communication needs. Be sure to contact us for translation services or for a quote on your next translation project.