Why we should let languages die

“The key to revitalizing a language is by motivating a new generation of speakers.”

I feel like there are multiple assumptions in the prompt that I do not agree with, and they must be addressed before it makes sense to talk about the prompt as a whole.

‘Revitalising a language’ makes the unconscious assumptions that multiple languages around the world are dying, that it is necessary to keep them alive, and that keeping them alive is a possibility at all. While the first assumption is certainly correct, the next two are – from my point of view – more questionable. I don’t agree with the assumption that we – that is, the speakers of the language, or perhaps the governments around the world – must go to the barricades and fight to keep our languages alive. But this assumption ignores one crucial fact; In our ever more globalised world, a diversity in languages is a challenge rather than an advantage.

An example of mistranslation; Though the meaning here is clear – if slightly offensive – mistranslations in the medical world can easily give horrible results. Source: http://pulptastic.com/chinese-translation-fails/

When the Europeans colonised America – which was a mistake in the first place, with Mr. Trump and Sarah Palin being Exhibits A and B – a great deal of the wars between colonists and the Natives were due to translation errors and miscommunication. Similarly, for years, one of the major challenges for Westerners wanting to do business in China and Japan was a lack of understanding.

Lastly, the assumption that it is possible to keep a language alive at all is not viable. We know from experience that almost all attempts from the governments to impact the young generation one way or another have failed – the War on Drugs being the most prominent case.


Price of EpiPen rises sharply

The price of EpiPen, an injection device for people suffering from allergies, have been rising sharply the past few years. The pharmaceutical company Mylan purchased the product in 2007, when it was sold for $57 a piece. Since then, the price has been increased several times, until it in May hit $608.61 a piece, more than a six-fold increase in less than a decade.

The higher price is especially problematic as people suffering from severe and acute allergies should, according to medical advice, carry two EpiPens on them at all times. As the devices expire after a year, this can quickly be an expensive protection against anaphylaxis, as the disease is called.

The problem that EpiPen solves arises when a person with anaphylaxis suffers an acute allergic attack, which can close the airways. To reopen them, a small injection of adrenaline (which can be produced for under $1 a milligram) must be injected through a syringe. But because most people don’t know how to administer a syringe, and correct dosing is extremely important, EpiPen is often used instead. The injection device is easier to use than a common syringe – there are instructions on the side, and they only consist of the three steps ‘remove safety cap, press against the thigh and push’.

Normally, this enormous growth in price would be limited by competition from other pharmaceutical companies, but last year, the only competitor Sanofi pulled out of the market, leaving Mylan with a near-monopoly. Of course, there is still the option to manually inject adrenaline through common syringes, but this is usually not an option for children, as dosing is harder than for fully grown adults.