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Minority Languages

StarcrossStarcross Registered User regular
edited December 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
The language I'll be using in all my examples in this post is scottish gaelic, purely because it's the minority language i'm most familiar with.

poorpoorgaelic.gif
Scottish Gaelic is clearly in a decline. Reasons for this are numerous, in the past anti-Gaelic policies were to blame, nowadays a lack of Gaelic media and the fact that most Gaelic speakers are forced to speak English most of the time because of the lack of speakers are contributing to its decline. An act was passed in 2005 making Gaelic an official language of the Scottish parliament and preparing guidance on Gaelic language education, but I see this as at best slowing rather than stopping the death of the language.

Languages in a position like Gaelic are becoming endangered around the world. Do you think that these languages should be saved and if so how? Does anyone in D&D speak a minority language (and want to show off by writing in it)?

I'm in two minds about this, while i accept that these languages are important parts of their nations culture I can't help but feel a lot of them are doomed to sort of fade away and I'm unsure whether a program of Gaelic education is a good idea (I think that language education in Britain is appalling and can't help but feel that if we're going to start teaching kids a language from a young age it should be something useful like French or German).

Starcross on
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  • WobblieWobblie Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I've never seen why it is so incredibly important to save cultures (and their languages) at any cost, assuming they're dying a natural death, without any policies contributing to the decline. People who want to learn it in school should probably have a means to do so, but I have no idea how to do this effectively, since it seems that it would cost a lot of money to put a program for Gaelic or another minority language in every school. In the end, though, I think its death is inevitable. There's very little use for immersion in one's culture in today's world, and without a fairly major rise in its popularity, I'm not sure where the desire to learn such a language would come from.

    But then again, tradition in general has never made any goddamn sense to me. So I can't speak for those who actually care about it.

    Wobblie on
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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    My grandmother can still remember a little Scots Gaelic, and she is at least third generation out of Scotland - I believe her mother had some degree of fluency as well. So these languages do last longer than one might think, even when away from the homeland.

    So as to why preserve such a language - well there could be all sorts of justifications - like national pride, or placing value on something that is not "useful" etc. But one I kind of like is that in many cases the local languages were actively repressed or at least seriously discouraged by government/ the establishment in previous eras, so for a government now to invest serious money in such a project is kind of neat - paying for one's past sins almost

    Kalkino on
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  • thanimationsthanimations Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm about as white bread American as you can get, so no minority language for me, unfortunately.

    I'm of two minds as well about the subject. On one hand I feel that being able to universally communicate is important and might help people understand each other better. Although using an existing popular language such as Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, or English might be easier, it probably would be best to develop a completely new "Universal," so that way no one society or culture is favored over others. It would take a massive effort for not only a new language to be developed, but agreed upon and then taught across the globe. It's hard enough getting allied countries to agree on certain things, how could we expect to get the world to learn a new language?

    On the other side I think it's important for people to maintain culture and history that they or their ancestors have experienced. Losing a native language can be one of the biggest nails in the coffin for a culture.

    In an ideal world we would have a universal language, and then everyone have their native tongue as well. That way we could continue to cultivate interesting diversities, and at the same time communicate effectively. The likelyhood of this scenario, or even developing a universal language is probably effectively nil, though.

    thanimations on
  • TavTav Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Irish (Gaelic in otherwords) is a shit language and being forced to learn it in school as an exam subject is the most surefire way to make people hate it. If it wasn't a compulsory school subject, more people would learn it because they genuinely enjoyed. The way it is thought it schools is also disgusting. It is thought in the same way as English, meaning we learn how to analyze poetry rather then learning how to hold a conversation.

    Tav on
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I think the diversity of cultures and languages is important. They are all part of humanity; when one of them dies, humanity overall is diminished.

    That said, as the OP noted, saving a language that one cannot commonly use is all but hopeless. When it comes to language, if you don't use it, you lose it. A few years of schooling in that language and an annual award for the best author won't change a damn thing. The only real way of saving a language is to go all in - I'm talking media, schools, even local government entirely in that language.

    Case in point: from what I read, the only language to ever be successfully taken back from the brink of extinction is Hebrew. How? Israel. In 1948, they created a new nation whose official language was Hebrew. Schools, government, media, newspaper, everything. And it was populated by Jewish immigrants from all over the world, all speaking different languages, which thus created a strong social pressure for everyone to adopt a common language (Hebrew, obviously) rather than keep speaking the language of their previous home countries.

    Richy on
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    As someone who actively enjoys learning a language, I honestly couldn't care of others become extinct. Record and save it, but there's no point in worrying about most other people not caring about it.
    The likelyhood of this scenario, or even developing a universal language is probably effectively nil, though.
    It's happening right now. There will always be variations, but as the world gets more and more interconnected, speaking the same language becomes more valuable.

    Quid on
  • thanimationsthanimations Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    As someone who actively enjoys learning a language, I honestly couldn't care of others become extinct. Record and save it, but there's no point in worrying about most other people not caring about it.
    The likelyhood of this scenario, or even developing a universal language is probably effectively nil, though.
    It's happening right now. There will always be variations, but as the world gets more and more interconnected, speaking the same language becomes more valuable.

    I guess I mean a new language, but I could very well be wrong on the whole thing. The pool of languages is getting smaller, certainly though.

    thanimations on
  • WobblieWobblie Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Tav wrote: »
    Irish (Gaelic in otherwords) is a shit language and being forced to learn it in school as an exam subject is the most surefire way to make people hate it. If it wasn't a compulsory school subject, more people would learn it because they genuinely enjoyed. The way it is thought it schools is also disgusting. It is thought in the same way as English, meaning we learn how to analyze poetry rather then learning how to hold a conversation.

    While teaching methods in schools are sub-par, I don't think a language has to be compulsory to be offered at a school. At least around here we get offered the choice of a few (major) languages and get to pick one to fill our 2 year requirement for high school. Done in such a way, I think the problem isn't really in teaching a minority language but the way we view language in school generally.

    Wobblie on
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    As someone who actively enjoys learning a language, I honestly couldn't care of others become extinct. Record and save it, but there's no point in worrying about most other people not caring about it.
    The likelyhood of this scenario, or even developing a universal language is probably effectively nil, though.
    It's happening right now. There will always be variations, but as the world gets more and more interconnected, speaking the same language becomes more valuable.

    I guess I mean a new language, but I could very well be wrong on the whole thing. The pool of languages is getting smaller, certainly though.
    New, yes. That'd be ridiculously complicated. None of the current major languages are perfect, but expecting billions to learn a whole new language would be farcical. What wouldn't be, however, is expecting them to continue to grow, change, merge, and eventually move onto one main dialect.

    Quid on
  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Personally I'm glad the minority languages are being picked off. It seems to me that ideally everyone on the planet should be able to understand each other, so I have trouble thinking of downsides to having just one language. I can see how languages can add to each other in terms of vocabulary and such, but I don't see a need for more than 6-12 really. As long as, before the last speaker dies, someone writes a translated dictionary so that old written works can still be translated.

    Scooter on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Scooter wrote: »
    As long as, before the last speaker dies, someone writes a translated dictionary so that old written works can still be translated.

    Translation isn't anywhere near that simple. There's a whole layer of expression that's basically irretrievably lost (it isn't necessarily, but it requires a huge body of work and a lot of careful study to reconstruct) when you're working with a dead language. Translation doesn't work if you just go word by word and substitute.

    Hell, babelfish is the perfect example of this. It does literal substitution based on a dictionary, and when was the last time it produced anything comprehensible.

    japan on
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited December 2008
    japan wrote: »
    Hell, babelfish is the perfect example of this. It does literal substitution based on a dictionary, and when was the last time it produced anything comprehensible.
    L' tend, babelfish are l' perfect example of it. He does the litteral replacement which has been based on a dictionary, and when he the last time has true nothing understandably had been produced.

    That's... actually a whole lot better than it used to be. Technology is neat! And so are obscure languages. I've always wanted to learn Gaelic - I'm half Scot on my father's side, and it just sounds lovely. But seven years of grade school and high school French was barely enough to teach me how to say "Look, there is a kitty!", so I think mastering the old mother tongue will be a bit beyond my means.

    Kate of Lokys on
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  • AegisAegis Not Quite TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Languages themselves, the words they use and how they are expressed typically incorporate insights into the culture that used the language. While their practical usefulness may be diminished nowadays, letting languages die is tragic as you lose parts of human culture and ways to express thoughts/ideas that might be completely alien to the rest of the world. Cataloguing languages should still be of prime importance.

    This also runs into the problem of languages which have no written system, in that simply recording them may run the risk of capturing the language correctly.

    Aegis on
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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.

    It'd be a damn shame if we let any language completely die just because English is so popular.

    But as for their teaching to new people, I don't know about that. If the culture wants it, it will happen. But if they die a natural death, all you can reasonably do is catalogue them.

    Morninglord on
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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.
    That will be true of any language put in the same position of English.

    There is no language with pre-existing terms for quantum physics concepts that were discovered last week. You can either create a new word for them or assign a new meaning to an existing words (see: strings). Both these solutions have problems: new scientific words are typically made from foreign (most often Greek) roots and further bastardize the tongue, while adding more and more definitions to words adds to confusion.

    On top of that, as cultures become more and more interconnected, foreign concepts or objects are introduced into English (and every other tongue) for which there is no valid word. Hence, foreign words are necessarily introduced alongside. Think of "sushi", "gelato", "poutine", all words that were introduced into languages worldwide because there were no equivalents. Necessary bastardization.

    Richy on
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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.
    That will be true of any language put in the same position of English.

    There is no language with pre-existing terms for quantum physics concepts that were discovered last week. You can either create a new word for them or assign a new meaning to an existing words (see: strings). Both these solutions have problems: new scientific words are typically made from foreign (most often Greek) roots and further bastardize the tongue, while adding more and more definitions to words adds to confusion.

    On top of that, as cultures become more and more interconnected, foreign concepts or objects are introduced into English (and every other tongue) for which there is no valid word. Hence, foreign words are necessarily introduced alongside. Think of "sushi", "gelato", "poutine", all words that were introduced into languages worldwide because there were no equivalents. Necessary bastardization.

    I was talking about psychology, but I see your point with physics.

    Seriously, the scientific study of human mental behavior should not use english. It's just, terrible. Terrible language to be using. You have to define so many terms, so many normal everyday words are just unusable, at all.

    And then you go to describe it to people outside of psychology and they don't get it, because English is terrible.

    Morninglord on
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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.
    That will be true of any language put in the same position of English.

    There is no language with pre-existing terms for quantum physics concepts that were discovered last week. You can either create a new word for them or assign a new meaning to an existing words (see: strings). Both these solutions have problems: new scientific words are typically made from foreign (most often Greek) roots and further bastardize the tongue, while adding more and more definitions to words adds to confusion.

    On top of that, as cultures become more and more interconnected, foreign concepts or objects are introduced into English (and every other tongue) for which there is no valid word. Hence, foreign words are necessarily introduced alongside. Think of "sushi", "gelato", "poutine", all words that were introduced into languages worldwide because there were no equivalents. Necessary bastardization.

    I was talking about psychology.

    Seriously, the scientific study of human mental behavior should not use english. It's just, terrible. Terrible language to be using.
    I was using quantum physics as an example. The observation remains true for any branch of science in which active research is being done and new stuff is being discovered or created.

    And I, in turn, am acknowledging this example as a true and valid concept and pointing out that psychology in particular is suffering because of English, in particular. In ways that the other sciences are not.

    Morninglord on
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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.
    That will be true of any language put in the same position of English.

    There is no language with pre-existing terms for quantum physics concepts that were discovered last week. You can either create a new word for them or assign a new meaning to an existing words (see: strings). Both these solutions have problems: new scientific words are typically made from foreign (most often Greek) roots and further bastardize the tongue, while adding more and more definitions to words adds to confusion.

    On top of that, as cultures become more and more interconnected, foreign concepts or objects are introduced into English (and every other tongue) for which there is no valid word. Hence, foreign words are necessarily introduced alongside. Think of "sushi", "gelato", "poutine", all words that were introduced into languages worldwide because there were no equivalents. Necessary bastardization.

    I was talking about psychology, but I see your point with physics.

    Seriously, the scientific study of human mental behavior should not use english. It's just, terrible. Terrible language to be using. You have to define so many terms, so many normal everyday words are just unusable, at all.

    And then you go to describe it to people outside of psychology and they don't get it, because English is terrible.

    How would other languages spoke by populations be diffrent in this regard?

    considering the psychology is frequently clinical, how could this ever be avoided?

    redx on
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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    redx wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    I think all languages should be catalogued, as best we are able. Any one language is not the full gamunt of human existence. Indeed, English is a terrible language, a horrible mishmash of confusing terms, and the only way to get meaningful scientific dialogue using it is to make up your own terms.
    That will be true of any language put in the same position of English.

    There is no language with pre-existing terms for quantum physics concepts that were discovered last week. You can either create a new word for them or assign a new meaning to an existing words (see: strings). Both these solutions have problems: new scientific words are typically made from foreign (most often Greek) roots and further bastardize the tongue, while adding more and more definitions to words adds to confusion.

    On top of that, as cultures become more and more interconnected, foreign concepts or objects are introduced into English (and every other tongue) for which there is no valid word. Hence, foreign words are necessarily introduced alongside. Think of "sushi", "gelato", "poutine", all words that were introduced into languages worldwide because there were no equivalents. Necessary bastardization.

    I was talking about psychology, but I see your point with physics.

    Seriously, the scientific study of human mental behavior should not use english. It's just, terrible. Terrible language to be using. You have to define so many terms, so many normal everyday words are just unusable, at all.

    And then you go to describe it to people outside of psychology and they don't get it, because English is terrible.

    How would other languages spoke by populations be diffrent in this regard?

    considering the psychology is frequently clinical, how could this ever be avoided?

    I dunno, actually.

    That's a very good question I think you've made me run headlong into a bias I have which I can't answer.

    Let me go away and think about it. I retract my statements for now.

    edit: Btw thanks for pointing that out I would never have realised!

    You also Richy.

    Morninglord on
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  • TorgoTorgo Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Language and culture are closely related.

    The Japanese colonized Korea and basically tried to wipe out Korean culture entirely
    . They banned Korean being taught in schools and corrupted Korean media and culture to venerate the Japanese instead. Everything was to be in Japanese.

    The grandparents of children today know Japanese from their childhood because it was what they were taught in school. People had to teach their children Korean in underground schools under fear of DEATH to keep their culture alive. After the Japanese were kicked out of Korea (Post-WWII), Korean culture worked hard to restore itself and Korean literacy rates are at 98%.
    ...
    This is the downside of not trying to save a language. Destruction of culture.

    I live in a culture where I speak the minority language (English), but teach it to people who speak the majority language (Korean), because their language is a minority in the world. Most Koreans view this practically, by saying that while their language is Korean, the world's language of travel and business is English, so to do better in the world they need to learn English as well as Korean.

    By learning English to make their country strong economically can they save Korean, and thus their culture from outside forces. If you don't learn a language voluntarily, you can be made to learn one by force, which is far more destructive.

    Torgo on
    History is a spoiler for the future. (Me on Twitter)
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Torgo wrote: »
    This is the downside of not trying to save a language. Destruction of culture.
    In that instance, yes. In other instances it's part of the evolution of culture.

    Quid on
  • TorgoTorgo Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Torgo wrote: »
    This is the downside of not trying to save a language. Destruction of culture.
    In that instance, yes. In other instances it's part of the evolution of culture.

    Personally, learning a native language in parallel to the dominate one you might interact with is better in almost every circumstance I can think of. It allows you to hold onto the bonds of a culture, preserve diversity of thought, and allows you to better describe the world. The lost of language is the loss of a way to express someone's ideas of the world accurately to others, and should always be treated with regret and loss.

    Most people don't have the experience of living in a culture where their language isn't dominant. I can get by with English in Korea, even if it isn't dominant, because it's taught in school and is EVERYWHERE in the world. English words bastardized into Korean are all over the place. People from small tribal regions, or immigrants don't always have that luxury.

    I couldn't imagine watching the language I speak disappear around me and see it as "an evolution of culture". It's the death of culture. People need to save languages and pass on their beliefs to future generations and language is critical to that. You can't understand the past without culture and language playing a part of that understanding. Knowing history helps us in the future.

    There are downsides to the world speaking the same language that people don't seem to grasp. Being able to order a hamburger at McDonalds in any country of the world isn't good. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be taught what they need to know to survive in the world. That's how I make my living, but the death of regionalism means a lack of variety. Variety is a good thing, IMO.

    Torgo on
    History is a spoiler for the future. (Me on Twitter)
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I feel the same way about preserving language as I do about preserving religion.

    Preserving it for its own sake is dumb. I don't ever mourn the dearth of koine Greek speakers (or the dearth of devotees of Athena).

    Just make sure to preserve knowledge of the language so we can recunstruct and translate texts.

    Qingu on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    I think the diversity of cultures and languages is important. They are all part of humanity; when one of them dies, humanity overall is diminished.

    That said, as the OP noted, saving a language that one cannot commonly use is all but hopeless. When it comes to language, if you don't use it, you lose it. A few years of schooling in that language and an annual award for the best author won't change a damn thing. The only real way of saving a language is to go all in - I'm talking media, schools, even local government entirely in that language.

    Case in point: from what I read, the only language to ever be successfully taken back from the brink of extinction is Hebrew. How? Israel. In 1948, they created a new nation whose official language was Hebrew. Schools, government, media, newspaper, everything. And it was populated by Jewish immigrants from all over the world, all speaking different languages, which thus created a strong social pressure for everyone to adopt a common language (Hebrew, obviously) rather than keep speaking the language of their previous home countries.

    Actually, Hebrew was running pretty strong at that time, to the point that some Sephardim are STILL bitching about how Israeli Hebrew is too close to the Ashkenazi/Yiddish model, rather than the Sephardic or originalist models.

    Scalfin on
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  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    I feel the same way about preserving language as I do about preserving religion.

    Preserving it for its own sake is dumb. I don't ever mourn the dearth of koine Greek speakers (or the dearth of devotees of Athena).

    Just make sure to preserve knowledge of the language so we can recunstruct and translate texts.

    Same. I'm one of the least sentimental people around, things have to be justified to me on their own merits, not just because it's traditional. If it seems to me that keeping some of these brain-dead languages on life support is holding back future progress, I'll be the first to pull the plug. Having ties to the past is fine, but when the past becomes an anchor sometimes you gotta move on.


    How many hundreds of languages are there out there with only 5,000 or less primary speakers? What good does it do the world to have them creating their arts and works in a form that 99.999999% of the world can't understand?

    Scooter on
  • oldmankenoldmanken Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Scooter wrote: »

    How many hundreds of languages are there out there with only 5,000 or less primary speakers? What good does it do the world to have them creating their arts and works in a form that 99.999999% of the world can't understand?

    I kind of see that as a window into a different way of thinking. Languages reflect differences in culture and the way in which those cultures see and interact with their world.

    oldmanken on
  • thanimationsthanimations Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Scooter wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I feel the same way about preserving language as I do about preserving religion.

    Preserving it for its own sake is dumb. I don't ever mourn the dearth of koine Greek speakers (or the dearth of devotees of Athena).

    Just make sure to preserve knowledge of the language so we can recunstruct and translate texts.

    Same. I'm one of the least sentimental people around, things have to be justified to me on their own merits, not just because it's traditional. If it seems to me that keeping some of these brain-dead languages on life support is holding back future progress, I'll be the first to pull the plug. Having ties to the past is fine, but when the past becomes an anchor sometimes you gotta move on.


    How many hundreds of languages are there out there with only 5,000 or less primary speakers? What good does it do the world to have them creating their arts and works in a form that 99.999999% of the world can't understand?

    Because that's up to the people making the arts and works in dying languages to decide?

    Personally I don't think there should be a herculean effort especially by non-related cultures, but there's nothing wrong with cataloging smaller cultures if for no reasons other than it's interesting and apart of the human story.

    thanimations on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Torgo wrote: »
    Personally, learning a native language in parallel to the dominate one you might interact with is better in almost every circumstance I can think of. It allows you to hold onto the bonds of a culture, preserve diversity of thought, and allows you to better describe the world. The lost of language is the loss of a way to express someone's ideas of the world accurately to others, and should always be treated with regret and loss.
    Cool. You learn it. Don't expect others to. It is no one's responsibility to be the personal carriers of their ancestor's culture unless they decide it is for themselves.
    Most people don't have the experience of living in a culture where their language isn't dominant. I can get by with English in Korea, even if it isn't dominant, because it's taught in school and is EVERYWHERE in the world. English words bastardized into Korean are all over the place. People from small tribal regions, or immigrants don't always have that luxury.
    Kay. We should help them learn one of the major languages so they can get around outside their small tribal areas. If they don't want to, then hey, that's their option. Maybe someone will decide they're worth talking to and learn their language and help them out.
    I couldn't imagine watching the language I speak disappear around me and see it as "an evolution of culture". It's the death of culture. People need to save languages and pass on their beliefs to future generations and language is critical to that. You can't understand the past without culture and language playing a part of that understanding. Knowing history helps us in the future.
    You can understand the past without speaking the language. I can open up Wikipedia and learn about Greece right now. This isn't to say it doesn't help. It definitely does help. For people that want to bother to learn a whole other language in order to study historical texts in that language. But stop going on about people abandoning language they don't use anymore as if it's the worst thing in the world. It happens all the time. It's language. It's supposed to do that. It's why we don't sound anything like we did a thousand, five hundred, a hundred years ago. Yes, it sucks that history of Gaelic texts won't be quite as good, but that's no reason to force others to learn it.
    There are downsides to the world speaking the same language that people don't seem to grasp. Being able to order a hamburger at McDonalds in any country of the world isn't good. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be taught what they need to know to survive in the world. That's how I make my living, but the death of regionalism means a lack of variety. Variety is a good thing, IMO.
    No, it really doesn't. Having a single language everyone can understand would do pretty much fuck all to variety. It might, might lessen it. But it's not the end of the world. In fact, it's the start of a better one since a spectacular number of conflicts could be avoided if people actually understood each other.

    And stop acting as if every aspect of globalization is bad. There are good things to it too. A McDonald's in every place? Not so much. Increased ease of distribution of medicine because people can read the directions? Pretty fucking good.

    Quid on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Torgo wrote: »
    Personally, learning a native language in parallel to the dominate one you might interact with is better in almost every circumstance I can think of. It allows you to hold onto the bonds of a culture, preserve diversity of thought, and allows you to better describe the world. The lost of language is the loss of a way to express someone's ideas of the world accurately to others, and should always be treated with regret and loss.
    Cool. You learn it. Don't expect others to. It is no one's responsibility to be the personal carriers of their ancestor's culture unless they decide it is for themselves.
    Most people don't have the experience of living in a culture where their language isn't dominant. I can get by with English in Korea, even if it isn't dominant, because it's taught in school and is EVERYWHERE in the world. English words bastardized into Korean are all over the place. People from small tribal regions, or immigrants don't always have that luxury.
    Kay. We should help them learn one of the major languages so they can get around outside their small tribal areas. If they don't want to, then hey, that's their option. Maybe someone will decide they're worth talking to and learn their language and help them out.
    I couldn't imagine watching the language I speak disappear around me and see it as "an evolution of culture". It's the death of culture. People need to save languages and pass on their beliefs to future generations and language is critical to that. You can't understand the past without culture and language playing a part of that understanding. Knowing history helps us in the future.
    You can understand the past without speaking the language. I can open up Wikipedia and learn about Greece right now. This isn't to say it doesn't help. It definitely does help. For people that want to bother to learn a whole other language in order to study historical texts in that language. But stop going on about people abandoning language they don't use anymore as if it's the worst thing in the world. It happens all the time. It's language. It's supposed to do that. It's why we don't sound anything like we did a thousand, five hundred, a hundred years ago. Yes, it sucks that history of Gaelic texts won't be quite as good, but that's no reason to force others to learn it.
    There are downsides to the world speaking the same language that people don't seem to grasp. Being able to order a hamburger at McDonalds in any country of the world isn't good. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be taught what they need to know to survive in the world. That's how I make my living, but the death of regionalism means a lack of variety. Variety is a good thing, IMO.
    No, it really doesn't. Having a single language everyone can understand would do pretty much fuck all to variety. It might, might lessen it. But it's not the end of the world. In fact, it's the start of a better one since a spectacular number of conflicts could be avoided if people actually understood each other.

    And stop acting as if every aspect of globalization is bad. There are good things to it too. A McDonald's in every place? Not so much. Increased ease of distribution of medicine because people can read the directions? Pretty fucking good.

    They problem is that the best time to learn a second language is far ahead of when stuff like that should be left to a person's own devices.

    Of course, I also think that Gargantua was on to something., so maybe it's just me.

    Scalfin on
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The best time for a person to be learning almost any skill is when they're young. Being older doesn't keep someone from learning a language if they want to.

    Quid on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    The best time for a person to be learning almost any skill is when they're young. Being older doesn't keep someone from learning a language if they want to.

    :lol:

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    The best time for a person to be learning almost any skill is when they're young. Being older doesn't keep someone from learning a language if they want to.

    :lol:
    That's nice. Care to explain why someone should be forced to learn Gaelic?

    Quid on
  • HozHoz Cool Cat Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    You need to connect that dichotomy there, motherfucker. Put a but in it or something.

    Hoz on
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yeah, quid, there's critical periods for language learning.

    I'm not saying it's impossible to learn another language after say, 25.

    But it's both hard, and I will, happily and without fear of being wrong, state that it's impossible to learn it perfectly (ie no accent, as a native) unless you are an exceptional human being.

    So sorry mate but it's not as easy as that.

    Morninglord on
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    So now people have to speak a language perfectly? No, it's not ideal, but it's not especially hard.

    And I'm all for people learning another language, particularly major ones. But I'm not going to lament the loss of Gaelic speakers because no one uses it ever.

    Quid on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    The best time for a person to be learning almost any skill is when they're young. Being older doesn't keep someone from learning a language if they want to.

    :lol:
    That's nice. Care to explain why someone should be forced to learn Gaelic?

    Because it is quite literally impossible to master a language if you start after puberty, and how many prepubescent kids do you know who would attend an optional class?

    As for why they should learn a language, there have been all sorts of documented benefits.

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Because it is quite literally impossible to master a language if you start after puberty, and how many prepubescent kids do you know who would attend an optional class?
    No, it really isn't. I'm doing it right this instant.
    As for why they should learn a language, there have been all sorts of documented benefits.
    Cool. Teach them Spanish. Don't teach them a dying, near useless language only good for reading historical texts.

    Quid on
  • HozHoz Cool Cat Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I know quite a few people that mastered a second language after puberty. They don't have completely clean accents but they speak the language to the full potential of their intelligence.

    Hoz on
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    So now people have to speak a language perfectly? No, it's not ideal, but it's not especially hard.

    And I'm all for people learning another language, particularly major ones. But I'm not going to lament the loss of Gaelic speakers because no one uses it ever.

    No, I'm not picking a side.

    Although I will, from a neutral position, comment that Latin is also a language that isn't possible to master anymore.

    It's almost incalcuable how much meaning is lost from any given document, or to really tell if we've translated it correctly, because of that.

    Even the tiniest dialect inflection could skew a given sentence.

    But I'm not saying Skalfin's way is the only way. I'm just not in agreement of dismissing a piece of information, not for sentimental reasons, but because it's a human frailty to want to make sure and clear decisions about things that don't have a sure and clear solution.

    Oh and Scalfin's statement about puberty is wrong, it's more like after 25-30. And every person differs.

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Because it is quite literally impossible to master a language if you start after puberty, and how many prepubescent kids do you know who would attend an optional class?
    No, it really isn't. I'm doing it right this instant.
    As for why they should learn a language, there have been all sorts of documented benefits.
    Cool. Teach them Spanish. Don't teach them a dying, near useless language only good for reading historical texts.

    Actually, dead Gaelic has an added value of being an ancestor of English, which makes it very useful for using both languages.

    You might have serviceable use, but you haven't mastered it until you've internalized it, which quite a bit of study has shown you won't be able to do. Hell, you can't even hear the difference between unfamiliar morphemes after around age seven, if memory serves.

    Scalfin on
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