Globalization is already threatening to extinguish many of the world's thousands of religions. That would be a tragic loss to humanity and our understanding of it, if only because knowledge and culture are inescapably intertwined with the religions within which they evolved. [...]I have taken these excerpts from this Nature magazine's editorial and replaced "language" with "religion." Nature thinks that governments should have an active role in the preservation of minority languages. The case of Spain exemplifies how government sponsorship of languages is as bad as government sponsorship of religions.
Regional and minority religions, like endangered species, merit protection. Religions that aren't revitalized through constant exercise die out.
It was already bad when Franco repressed the regional languages and sponsored Spanish. And it is bad, and equally unsuccessful, now that the regional governments promote regional languages and try to repress Spanish. In my region, Galicia, where the government has more or less forbidden teaching in Spanish, many children have to speak Galician with their teachers while they keep speaking Spanish with their peers. We adults read newspapers and books in Spanish but all official documents are written only in Galician. Books published in Galician thanks to government subsidies pile unsold inside storehouses. Private radio and tv stations broadcast in Spanish; public ones, which we are forced to pay with our taxes, broadcast in Galician. When you apply for a job in the administration a four-week course in Galician - but not in Spanish - often counts more than a four-year PhD.
The government-sponsored language, which government forces down people's throats and on which it pours taxpayers' money, becomes a liturgical language. When a language requires the protection of government to survive, it at most becomes the language of government - the language of idiocy.