Extending Wednesdays

Linguistic Diversity

Today’s Extending Wednesdays topic comes from the Geography section of Ideas Roadshow’s Extended Essay Guide, where UC San Diego linguist Carol Padden reflects on the impact our modern technological era is having on linguistic diversity around the world.

Prof. Padden points out two opposite trends: the difficulty of maintaining linguistic diversity in an increasingly globalized world and connected technology and the opportunities that precisely these technologies give to those who wish to study and learn new languages. 

The case of sign language is even more complex still, as it was only about 50 years ago, thanks largely to the pioneering work of Bill Stokoe, that what he designated as “American Sign Language” was even recognized to be a unique language at all. 

This topic bridges Geography, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Language & Literature and ITGS.  Possible areas of investigation for an extended essay include analytical studies of the rate of change of linguistic diversity, the impact of technology on cultural norms, language learning through technology, and objective measures of evaluating language acquisition.

Related Ideas Roadshow content includes the clips Different Modalities, Humour in Sign Language, Losing the Sharp Edges, Signing As Language, The Roots of Sign Language, the compilation videos Language and Culture, Examining Community and The Science of Language and the two hour-long videos and accompanying enhanced eBook, Sign Language Linguistics.