Monday, July 9, 2012

Lao written language and it's future

My friend Divon who works for Google has written a - maybe a bit controversial - post about the future of minor written languages: Life and Death of Written Languages

Lao (national language of Laos) - Lao people have highly nationalistic feelings when it comes to their language, in particular in light of the historical animosity with Thailand (Thai and Lao languages are fairly similar, and Thailand's population is 11 times bigger). However, in practice, a large majority of all television programming, music, books and magazines are imported from Thailand. When you sit in a coffeeshop in Vientiane, you notice the young and educated Lao elite, exactly the ones that are supposed to be the content creators, reading Thai websites, and creating Facebook content - in Thai. Lao is still a strong language, and all locally created offline content in Laos is in Lao - but the warning is written on the wall. There is an urgent need to encourage much more content creation by the average Lao Internet user (not only professional journalists) in Lao language - or else as all written content moves online and offline content because negligible - a process bound to happen within the coming five years - Lao risks losing its status as a written language and becoming a verbal language only.

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