Process(s) of Language to become Death (Extinct)
Written by: Herri Mulyono
In describing the process of language to become death (extinct), I would recall Kershen’s monitoring theory which emerged what is called as language acquisition and language learning (Fenigar and Bersnier, 1989:14-21, Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 14-30) . I believe that the two language acquisition and language learning which is bounded in monitoring theory is fundamental in making a language exists and descends from one generation to generation. In term of keeping the existence of those two language acquisition and learning, it could be assured that a language would never become moribund language or extinct, and vice versa. Concerning to such issue, process of language to become death could be explained by these fundamentals.
Language acquisition explains the unconscious process of acquiring language. This is carried out by regarding four pre-conditions of language acquisition (Richard and Amato, 2003: 19-22); universal grammar, environment, opportunities, and social-being. It is obvious that baby’s brain is not a blank slate as Chomsky argued that “some aspects of language are innate or inborn” (Richard-Amato, 2003: 19). If this step point is used, then, process of language to become death remains impossible as some language properties naturally exist and might be descended by his parents. However, Kreshen’s monitoring theory devises language learning to monitor the acquiring process of a language. Without a process of language learning, one’s acquisition of certain language would never achieve appropriate, acceptable and understandable language which is primary intended to communication tool.
When language learning remains to disappear, then language would be acquired inappropriately. The utterance would be unclear as phonology is not learned. Word and sentence-structure would be arranged in appropriate orders which then cloud meanings as the result. When meaning as basis of language understanding could not be delivered rightly, miscommunication occurs more often that language further is claimed hard to carry out messages. As natural flow, such typical of language then would be neglected and human might find other language which is simpler and easier to use in transmitting ideas, thoughts or particular messages. Such neglect would reason language not to be used, become solely isolated that further result to be moribund language.
Environment in language acquisition preconditions describes the exposure of language in human surrounding or environment. The absence of environment or exposure of language make difficult for human to have model of language in either in oral or written form. This then would cause language not to develop, or if it may develop, it might not to be the language which is supposed to as there would be misspelling, wrong utterance or pronunciation, and much more ungrammatical order that all go to confusion. This confusion, of course, is not the objective of language use and alternatively, human would find other language which suitable for their purposes.
In addition, it is obvious that in language learning, presence of habit as shown in audio lingual method (Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 44-63) is undoubtedly beneficial for language learning as it might activate the language properties into practical use. Limitation of opportunity and to use the language as communication media in social life contributes to deactivation of language competence. Language would not be used as lingua franca or daily life communication tool and lastly come to unwanted situation, endangered language. If such situation is not responded critically by the authority and language user as well, the moribund language as final result of such language would remain incoming.
In sum up, Moribund language would occur when there is no native of the language remain alive and when the language is not used as tool to communicate for certain situations as explained above. Of course, the process of a language to become moribund language would take quire long time and would deal with transmission-gap of language from generation to generation. Finally, I would quote what Salikoko Mufwene (2002) reacts to Moribund language; “Language doesn’t kill language; speakers do.”