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Words: An Endangered Species

by Emily Schaffer
        Words are beautiful. It is a simple fact. Long before poems and songs were written down on paper or computers, the beauty of poetry was shared orally. Mankind put so much time and effort into recording and finding ways to record words. Our society could not function without them. Too many take simple words for granted as if they were oxygen, always available to them. As new generations appear and the old fade away so do traditions, writings, and even language. Could all our words really be forgotten?
        Slowly, one by one, our words are being replaced. Definitions are changing. In some cases, whole words that have vanished from the memory of mankind. William Shakespeare wrote in the late 16th century and the early 17th century. He wrote for the uneducated, those some might describe as simple minded, yet literary minds today struggle to understand his work. Books as common as the King James Bible use words few Americans would recognize. Words such as shod and wiles are no longer taught or used. "Progress" is what it is named, but is not advancement typically involved in progression? 
        Words, just as endangered species, need to be remembered and protected. Throughout the world, there are over 7 thousand known languages, and it is believed by the end of this century only close to 10% will remain. When did words, even languages become trivial? Why does the removal, misuse, and ruination of words not embroil the literary world? Will the restructuring of the world, the integration of nations cause the extinction of not only languages but entire cultures? With the digression of the world's education comes the loss of habitat for words.