21 July 2008

Disappearance of languages and literature

With more and more globalisation and with English language’s dominance the world over, specifically in terms of markets for published literature, would Indian regional-language writers be tempted to adopt English as their language to achieve prominence? I mean, what really is the future of, say, Bengali (my mother tongue) writers and literature twenty years from now?

After all, if you look around you, you’ll see more and more publishing companies are becoming globalised, and a few large global publishing houses are beginning to dominate the industry. In fact, some publishers are being bought over by entertainment companies and a phenomenal media consolidation is taking place globally.

What does this mean to language, to literature and to writers? As larger publishers – or media houses – start dominating the publishing industry, would some regional and smaller languages and literatures disappear? Would conforming to globalisation through writing, or translations, in one or a few dominating languages be their only hope of survival?

If writers are forced to write, or translate their writing, in another language because (a) they are dominated by another language, and/or (b) another language offers a much wider readership for their writing (than their own), what would it mean to a specific country’s or region’s language and literature? What would it mean to that country’s or that region’s or that people’s culture?

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