Influence of the Environment on Your Language | Happy World Environment Day

Last Updated On: June 4, 2018


World Environment Day

History of the World Environment Day

On June 5th, every year, World Environment Day (WED) is marked by 143 individual countries around the world. The importance of the world’s environment is recognised every year on the same date. It was first established in 1974 when countries began to realise how environmental issues such as overfishing, overpopulation, marine pollution and forest destruction had become important concerns.

World Environment Day history goes back to 1972 at the UN General Assembly on the 1st day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. At this conference was discussed the integration of human interaction and the environment. Two years after. in World Environment Day history in 1974. the first WED took place covering the theme “Only One Earth”. In 1987 an idea was suggested that the June 5th World Environment Day should be focussed on a different participating country each year. This year the theme is ‘beat plastic pollution’ and the host city is Delhi in India.

What is World Environment Day?

One way to draw attention to the world’s pressing environmental problems was to establish a world’s environment day so that environmental organisations, whether NGOs or government-run, could broadcast to the public and to businesses ways that environmental problems should be tackled in order to avert possible catastrophes. Of course, climate change is part and parcel of emerging environmental problems. This includes melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels which is slowly affecting the livelihood of those who live in low lying areas close to the coast.


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    Different organisations focus on different aspects of the environment and they will use World Environment Day to provide information about the degradation of the environment that is their area of concern. Information about environment day activities will be found on specific websites in your city. In Australia, each year, in order to support the United Nations’ World Environment Day on June 5th, the United Nations Association of Australia uses this day to recognise outstanding and innovative environmental initiatives and programs from across Australia and any key work done by Australian environmental leaders. This gives a chance for environmental organisations to highlight relevant information about environment day that relates to their areas of concern.

    World Environment Day theme 2018

    The World Environment Day theme of 2018 is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ and the host city is New Delhi, India. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in August of last year imposed an interim ban in Delhi on anyone using non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns. The tribunal told the Delhi government to confiscate within a week from its announcement the complete stock of plastic in the city. It’s not just Delhi that has been taking on this plastic bag initiative, but increasingly supermarkets and shops in many countries don’t provide any plastic bags for their customers so they have to bring their own.

    Here are a few African countries that either have banned plastic bags or have placed a tax on them. These include:

    ● Kenya
    ● Mali
    ● Cameroon
    ● Tanzania
    ● Uganda
    ● Ethiopia
    ● Malawi
    ● Morocco
    ● South Africa
    ● Rwanda
    ● Botswana

    China has been pretty proactive too on this year’s World Environment Day theme. It started to restrict plastic bag usage before the hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games. It banned thin plastic bags and required that all retailers impose a tax on the thicker bag. This it seems has reduced usage by two thirds. Other Asian countries have taxes or bans in place, including Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. This is certainly a step in the right direction when supporting the World Environment Day theme for this year.

    What is an environmental translation?

    If your environmental organisation wants to push the WED theme for this year, it’s wise to use a language translator from a language service translation business to do your environmental translation. In most cities these days there are people who are permanent residents or even citizens who aren’t fully fluent in their new country’s language. This means if you want your environmental information to be effective you will need to get a language translator who is fully conversant with environmental translation to translate your material. If you surf online you will find a language service translation business which has a competent language translator in each of your targeted languages who can do a good environmental translation of your website and your social media page so that your audience knows who you are and what your environmental aims are and most importantly how to contact you.

    Influences of the environment on language and linguistic development

    It has been found from research that a list of environmental factors can be drawn up that affects the language used by people. Vocabulary changes are emphasized depending on one’s environment and sounds used are different depending on the environment. In fact, environmental factors can influence the human linguistic development and the language environment.

    Vocabulary and the environment

    Linguistics who have visited the snow-clad and the ice-bound Arctic have discovered that the Inuit people are highly influenced by environmental factors. These Arctic dwellers have a seemingly endless list of words for snow, which they live with year in and year out. Snow is just one word that can be found on a list of environmental factors that influence vocabulary. The Scots are similarly influenced by environmental factors with endless vocabulary words used for describing rain. The language environment of these two groups of people is heavily influenced by day to day features they find in their environment.

    Sound and the linguistic environment

    Our environment is influenced by how we translate sound into our language.
    There has been some recent research about sound language and the results were released by Maddieson and Coupé which indicate that vegetation, climate, and topography could have a slow but significant impact on the sorts of sound in use in languages. Acoustic adaptation, as it’s called, has now also been shown to occur with birds. The same bird species will raise the volume of its song to a higher pitch if it happens to live in an urban situation rather than a rural one. Speculation is that this is in order to translate sound so that members of its species can be heard above the ever-present noise in an urban environment.

    Sound language in an area depends on climate and topography

    The same work by Maddieson and Coupé has found that there are similarities between languages that exist in areas with similar climatic features, even if thousands of kilometres separate them. For example, languages that exist in hotter, more vegetated regions, such as South East Asia, use sound language at a lower frequency and have fewer distinct consonants. Words generally favour simpler syllables and vowel sounds. In contrast, languages that are spoken in drier, colder areas, which have more mountains, have heavier consonants. Dense vegetation and humidity interrupt sound so it’s assumed that languages translate sound in these areas and have managed to adapt over periods so that they can be heard more easily.

    List of environmental documents which can be translated

    Each government that makes policies about environmental issues will have to ensure that an environment policy translation is made available in the languages most commonly spoken in their country. It might include documents such as

    ● rules and regulations in relation to environmental issues;
    ● letters to organizations and companies;
    ● notice indicating penalties imposed for non-compliance of a government’s environmental regulations;
    ● notice such as to an oil refinery that has breached regulations.

    Sustainable development is likely to be a part of most government plans, so any documents related to this will need a sustainable development translation.
    All these environment policies will need an environment policy translation into the languages of those who will need to read the policies. So the government may need a wind power translation for companies which operate a wind turbine farm and an oil refinery translation for an oil refinery that comes under their jurisdiction. A power translation may be needed for power companies that are using coal or other polluting fuels that may affect the environment.

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