There was a very interesting slideshow, titled Vanishing Voices, in this month’s National Geographic. According to the magazine, as many as half of the languages spoken in the world today will be forgotten and disappear in the next 100 years. So much cultural identity and significance is rooted within language. It’s not only how we communicate, but it holds our history, our hearts. As you can imagine, this is a heartbreaking realization to native speakers that in their children’s lifetime, their language will be virtually extinct.
According to NatGeo, “One language dies every 14 days. By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favor of English, Mandarin, or Spanish.”
In Seri, a native language in Mexico spoken by only 1,000 people, it is common to ask the question, where is your placenta buried? Prior to hospital births, every person knew exactly where their afterbirth was buried. By asking for the location of the buried placenta, a native Seri speaker is really asking where you are from.
How incredibly beautiful that the placenta has that much significance in the Seri culture. Even though their language may not be here in 100 years, by planting their very own tree of life, their spirit and their roots will be.