Gaeilge - should we keep it?

Elements of Irish politics want to minimise compulsory teaching of it

Non-English threads go here. For linguistics please click here instead.

Moderator: Senior Moderators

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#141  Postby HughMcB » Oct 02, 2012 5:13 pm

I see your argument has progressed nicely. :coffee:
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 36
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#142  Postby Saim » Oct 03, 2012 8:38 am

zulumoose wrote:I think you are battling because you are the rare sort of person who has an affinity for other languages, and do not realise how much of a minority position that is.

I know it's a rare position in Anglo communities like the ones we came from, but in Ireland? A bit more common. What percentage of Irish do you think would want to see a much more Irish-speaking future? Probably most of the 70-something percent that thing it's "central to their history and culture".

In any case, two can play at that game. I think you are battling because you are the extremely common sort of person who belongs to a dominant colonial culture, and doesn't realize the value of other cultures because they've kept themselves in a bubble away from them (I could point out that you by your own admission don't know a word of the dominant language of your region, and don't even think indigenous people should learn through that medium let alone Anglos bother to integrate). Is my presumption correct, or is it as wrong as yours?

What the parents want does not always reflect reality, as I tried to show with the Shakespeare example. Time spent on Shakespeare, reaching very few kids and causing more resentment than anything, is time that would be better spent on more modern literature, unless the students are actually interested, NOT the parents.

Good point, and I agree that more modern literature, preferrably including some L2 English literature.

But I ultimately think that Irish is quite a bit more applicable in real life than Shakespeare (it gives you access to Irish-language media and allows you to talk to those other people who speak Irish in the language generally more important to their identity if not their mother tongue). It's also standing up for diversity, and against the results of imperial and nation-state policies.

The same is true of languages. Who wants to be placed in an immersion school based on a dying language

Actual linguists say "endangered language", never "dying language". Your attitude towards minority languages may be based in some sort of liberalism or economic pragmatism rather than any actual bigotry, but when you use ignorant phrases like this it sets up red flags in the minds of those of us who are at all versed in sociolinguistics.

that only 2% of the population manage to find a use for?

If more people knew it, there would be more of a use for it.

The parents might have some sort of idea that their children will benefit from culture and history and identity, but I suspect they will be doing them more of a disservice than anything.

Except Irish-medium schools perform better than English-medium ones. :)

The kids are unlikely to want it, and may be hugely disadvantaged,

You seem to be working on the base of assumptions here.

as the world around them including the entirety of business, international travel, the bulk of the entertainment industry, science, and the resources of the internet are all in other languages, notably more English than others, a language that is already 100% available in Ireland.

And one they will learn anyway. Irish-medium education would not survive if it seriously damaged English skills the way you're suggesting.

Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.

You mean English-medium education. "Immersion" implies they don't know the language already.

Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical,

Well yes, that is very arguable.

and likely to be resented by many.

Give me some evidence and then we'll talk.
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#143  Postby Saim » Oct 03, 2012 8:43 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Maybe you are right. Anything is better than Irish.

:yuk:

This is just straight up bigotry, Scot.
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#144  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 03, 2012 10:24 am

Saim wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
Maybe you are right. Anything is better than Irish.

:yuk:

This is just straight up bigotry, Scot.


Why?

The truth hurts does it not. It would be much better for Irish youth if they learned a language that would be of use to them.

Wasting all that time and money on a language that is only spoken daily by 2% of the population is a state of pure madness.
Myths in islam Women and islam Musilm opinion polls


"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
User avatar
Scot Dutchy
 
Posts: 43119
Age: 71
Male

Country: Nederland
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#145  Postby Saim » Oct 03, 2012 11:45 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Saim wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
Maybe you are right. Anything is better than Irish.

:yuk:

This is just straight up bigotry, Scot.


Why?

Because all languages are equal. They each represent a particular way of viewing the world, a particular people. Talking about how useless Irish is is the same as talking about how useless the Gaeltacht is.

Let's forget about the English-speaking Irish learning their national language, how about maintaining it among Irish-speaking communities? Should the Irish-speakers throw away their tradition just because you think it's useless? Why the fuck should they?

And then, once we've accepted that Irish has a place in the Irish-speaking areas, what's wrong with English-speakers learning the language to get to know that culture? Do you honestly think that only like 5 of the 7,000 or more languages in the world should ever be taught? That's totally mental.

The truth hurts does it not. It would be much better for Irish youth if they learned a language that would be of use to them.

How many times do I have to tell you about the Irish instruction infrastructure in place promoting multilingualism in general? Do you actually read anyone else's posts? Why can't you get this through your head?

How "of use" is it to them? Well, I'd say they'd have much more acces to people proficient in Irish than people proficient in Chinese. Indeed, the most "useful" languages there in terms of talking to people you'll be in direct contact with will be Polish or some other immigrant language, not French or German. How do you define "usefulness" anyway? And don't start talking about "jobs", there are jobs in Ireland that require the Irish language and it will be more and more useful the more people learn it.

Wasting all that time and money on a language that is only spoken daily by 2% of the population is a state of pure madness.

Why? How large does a language have to be to escape Scot Dutchy's Anglophone ire?
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#146  Postby zulumoose » Oct 03, 2012 12:06 pm

Saim wrote:What percentage of Irish do you think would want to see a much more Irish-speaking future? Probably most of the 70-something percent that thing it's "central to their history and culture".


There you go again, putting in the word "their" when it doesn't appear in the study. You do realise that there are more Polish speaking people in Ireland than Irish, and that they, for eg, as minority language speakers, are quite likely to have answered that question in the same way, as might many other people who have no interest in Irish whatsoever? I agree that Shakespeare is quite central to English culture and history, but keep it the hell away from my kids, and don't ask me to go to the theatre to see it.


I think this is only going to be cleared up if we run across a study done amongst the most relevant group, namely high school kids. Parents, as per the Shakespeare example, are not the ones to ask, and while primary school may be the best time to introduce a 2nd language, the kids are too young to assess realistically what they want based on real world realities and how much effort is involved to gain a worthwhile competence in another language.

Teenage attitudes around the language will determine how long it survives.


Saim wrote:I think you are battling because you are the extremely common sort of person who belongs to a dominant colonial culture, and doesn't realize the value of other cultures because they've kept themselves in a bubble away from them (I could point out that you by your own admission don't know a word of the dominant language of your region, and don't even think indigenous people should learn through that medium let alone Anglos bother to integrate). Is my presumption correct, or is it as wrong as yours?


Your presumption is partially correct. Perhaps if you had more exposure to the Zulu culture you would not be so quick to judge my lack of involvement with it, involvement is extremely rare, and for good reasons not easily changed. I can assure you that my attitude to a dominant language would be quite different if it were the language used in daily life. In 28 years in S.A. I cannot recall ever having walked into a shop or business of any sort to be addressed in Zulu, and only a handful of times in Afrikaans, and even then only far away from home. There are plenty of Zulu language schools, but educated parents who care about the future of their childern push for English medium secondary education. Zulu is not a tertiary or academic language, nor does it have a history of literature. It takes 42 syllables to count up to 10 in Zulu, try that in any 1st world language, all the languages I can count to 10 in have 11 syllables (English, Afrikaans, French, German).

Saim wrote:Actual linguists say "endangered language", never "dying language". Your attitude towards minority languages may be based in some sort of liberalism or economic pragmatism rather than any actual bigotry, but when you use ignorant phrases like this it sets up red flags in the minds of those of us who are at all versed in sociolinguistics.


Ignorant? I am not presuming to speak as a linguist, nor do I think linguists are representative in any way. What matters in terms of the survival of a language is not what a linguist has to say, but the average teenager. Is Irish a dying language? Yes, if it survives it will not be because of practicality, but sentimentality in the face of reality, something teenagers are unlikely to embrace. Afrikaans may be an exception, teenagers are partially reclaiming it, but it has a high utility in some environments.

Saim wrote:If more people knew it, there would be more of a use for it.


Silly reasoning, like saying if more people drove American cars Detroit would be rebuilt. Reality is real. Detroit is a dying town; not endangered - dying, and for solid practical reasons that have nothing to do with sentimentality. Calling it endangered carries the implication that it is worth going to extremes to prop it up artificially, because you are personalising it, associating it with a danger, and a need for protection. Rot.

If you look at a ghost town, one built near a mine that has been stripped, for example, would you say it had been endangered, and that people should have realised, and protected or preserved it? Nonsense, people should have seen the writing on the wall and only invested in it what was appropriate for what it was worth, not repainted the town hall a week before the mines closure. Irish language education is everyone getting together and saying that if they all build new houses the mine will not close, and the builders will be happy, and the town will be preserved.
User avatar
zulumoose
 
Posts: 3625

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#147  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 03, 2012 12:24 pm

Siam wrote:How many times do I have to tell you about the Irish instruction infrastructure in place promoting multilingualism in general? Do you actually read anyone else's posts? Why can't you get this through your head.


WTF are you talking about! What a load of crap is that. If it is what other languages are being promoted?
One thing you cant get through head is the fact that Irish is a dying language. Just get used to it. The government should stop wasting valuable money on a snobby middle class hobby.
Myths in islam Women and islam Musilm opinion polls


"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
User avatar
Scot Dutchy
 
Posts: 43119
Age: 71
Male

Country: Nederland
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#148  Postby zulumoose » Oct 03, 2012 1:00 pm

Image

Welcome, please encourage your kids to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of this institution for their entire school lives, it will be for their ultimate benefit, since such institutions retain a 2% utility in this country, if nowhere else.
User avatar
zulumoose
 
Posts: 3625

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#149  Postby Saim » Oct 03, 2012 4:46 pm

Zulumoose, here's some actual statistics on attitudes towards Irish in immersion schools:

http://www.reseau-amerique-latine.fr/ceisal-bruxelles/ET-DH/ET-DH-7-MARKEY.pdf wrote:Recent studies show that pupils in Irish-medium schools tend to be both motivated to
learn Irish and show favorable attitudes towards the language. In a large scale study
carried out by Griffin (2001), in which 501 questionnaires were distributed to pupils in
Irish-medium and English-medium schools, 83.7% of those in Irish-medium schools
stated that they were good at Irish, 77.6% stated that their parents encouraged them to
speak the language and 91.8% claimed to understand everything that was said to them in
class. With regard to their motivation to learn the language, 93.9% stated that they were
interested in being able to read and understand songs and television programs in Irish,
81.6% felt that it was important to be able to communicate with speakers of the language
and only two percent agreed with the statement “learning Irish is a waste of time”.


No, apparently "they're all forced by their parents".

I'll deal with the rest of your post later today.

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Siam wrote:How many times do I have to tell you about the Irish instruction infrastructure in place promoting multilingualism in general? Do you actually read anyone else's posts? Why can't you get this through your head.


WTF are you talking about! What a load of crap is that. If it is what other languages are being promoted?

Already being multilingual helps you learn subsequent languages... how many times...

One thing you cant get through head is the fact that Irish is a dying language.

Please, correct terminology. "Endangered" language.

Just get used to it. The government should stop wasting valuable money on a snobby middle class hobby.

They should stop wasting money on a popular form of education?
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#150  Postby Saim » Oct 03, 2012 10:30 pm

zulumoose wrote:
Teenage attitudes around the language will determine how long it survives.

Dealt with in the above post.

Saim wrote:I think you are battling because you are the extremely common sort of person who belongs to a dominant colonial culture, and doesn't realize the value of other cultures because they've kept themselves in a bubble away from them (I could point out that you by your own admission don't know a word of the dominant language of your region, and don't even think indigenous people should learn through that medium let alone Anglos bother to integrate). Is my presumption correct, or is it as wrong as yours?


Your presumption is partially correct.

I'm happy you're honest about it. It's good to be able to get to the root of the values difference rather than talking about a specific case when it obviously has wider implications.

Perhaps if you had more exposure to the Zulu culture you would not be so quick to judge my lack of involvement with it, involvement is extremely rare, and for good reasons not easily changed. I can assure you that my attitude to a dominant language would be quite different if it were the language used in daily life. In 28 years in S.A. I cannot recall ever having walked into a shop or business of any sort to be addressed in Zulu, and only a handful of times in Afrikaans, and even then only far away from home.

Yes, after the history you've had the issue's not going to solve itself so quickly. The same is true for Australia, obviously. My point is that promoting the main mother tongues of South Africa (English only comes in fifth or sixth IIRC) is a natural result of the integration process and a continuation of anti-colonialism.

There are plenty of Zulu language schools, but educated parents who care about the future of their childern push for English medium secondary education.

The same thing happens in South Asia. The thing is - why does this only happen in colonies? Why doesn't English-medium education gobble up Japan or Sweden or Hungary, to mention three random countries?

Well, because the native cultures have an inferiority complex and because they have a history of "diglossia" (using the native language for familiar spheres and the colonial one for more "important" matters). Ultimately giving more room for the indigenous languages in the media, in politics, and in education is a vindication of the indigenous culture and identity in itself.

Zulu is not a tertiary or academic language, nor does it have a history of literature.

Things change.

It takes 42 syllables to count up to 10 in Zulu, try that in any 1st world language, all the languages I can count to 10 in have 11 syllables (English, Afrikaans, French, German).

Perhaps true, but the conclusion drawn is totally wrong. Any linguist will tell you that all languages are equal in a structural sense, and that which end up getting used has everything to do with the prestige of the culture associated with it rather than any feature of the language itself. This poses no serious obstacle to Zulu being promoted as a 'modern' language.

Ignorant? I am not presuming to speak as a linguist, nor do I think linguists are representative in any way. What matters in terms of the survival of a language is not what a linguist has to say, but the average teenager. Is Irish a dying language? Yes, if it survives it will not be because of practicality, but sentimentality in the face of reality, something teenagers are unlikely to embrace.

Except they do! :D

Afrikaans may be an exception, teenagers are partially reclaiming it, but it has a high utility in some environments.

I'm struggling to get the point here. Afrikaans isn't an endangered language.

Saim wrote:If more people knew it, there would be more of a use for it.


Silly reasoning, like saying if more people drove American cars Detroit would be rebuilt. Reality is real. Detroit is a dying town; not endangered - dying, and for solid practical reasons that have nothing to do with sentimentality. Calling it endangered carries the implication that it is worth going to extremes to prop it up artificially, because you are personalising it, associating it with a danger, and a need for protection. Rot.

If you look at a ghost town, one built near a mine that has been stripped, for example, would you say it had been endangered, and that people should have realised, and protected or preserved it? Nonsense, people should have seen the writing on the wall and only invested in it what was appropriate for what it was worth, not repainted the town hall a week before the mines closure. Irish language education is everyone getting together and saying that if they all build new houses the mine will not close, and the builders will be happy, and the town will be preserved.
[/quote]
The difference with languages is that they've been specifically targeted by nationalist and imperialist policies. Revitalization of a language is a fight against (dominant) nationalism(s) and colonialism.

Languages don't just "die", they're murdered. Of course that's quite hyperbolic, but the point is you can't seperate the historical element out of the whole equation.
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#151  Postby zulumoose » Oct 04, 2012 7:04 am

Saim wrote:Recent studies show that pupils in Irish-medium schools tend to be both motivated to
learn Irish and show favorable attitudes towards the language.



Well they are in a unique position aren't they? They have continuous daily exposure to something which is in direct contrast to the reality all around them that the language only has a 2% utility in one country. You are measuring WITHIN the 2% group, and pretending it is representative.

So what happens in the other 98%, then? I looked up some sources yesterday and while your attitude is consistently supported in areas where there is immersion, it seems the social scene is different and the introduction of the language as a compulsory subject had the opposite effect of what was intended, which supports my attitude, and is more a function of the 98%. I do not have the time to follow up on this right now though.

Saim wrote:Already being multilingual helps you learn subsequent languages... how many times...


Learning to use a slide rule and a typewriter helps you understand a calculator and a computer...

Saim wrote:I'm struggling to get the point here. Afrikaans isn't an endangered language.


Afrikaans can easily deteriorate, has suffered a backlash, is politically disadvantaged, and the Afrikaans medium schools are often being converted to dual medium, it is a language that was politically propped up by a nasty government, and has an uncertain future, despite being a fully academic language with a history of literature.

Saim wrote:The difference with languages is that they've been specifically targeted by nationalist and imperialist policies. Revitalization of a language is a fight against (dominant) nationalism(s) and colonialism.

Languages don't just "die", they're murdered. Of course that's quite hyperbolic, but the point is you can't seperate the historical element out of the whole equation.


You can't separate the historical element, but you SHOULD. You speak of murder, but also consider revitalisation a fight, which is often a fight against reality.

Language is a tool when the goal is communication, and you do not set about rebuilding old tools in the hope that the old machines will return, you use the best tools you have for the machines of today and tomorrow. Colonialism and empire building is unlikely to return, the future is more about unity and the dropping of divisive things like solid borders, different currencies, nationalism, patriotism, religious dogma, etc etc.
User avatar
zulumoose
 
Posts: 3625

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#152  Postby HughMcB » Oct 04, 2012 1:34 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Anything is better than Irish.

Do you have some evidence to back that up? Or are you just talking complete bigoted nonsense?

Which to be fair, wouldn't exactly be anything new. :coffee:
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 36
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#153  Postby HughMcB » Oct 04, 2012 1:35 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:If it is what other languages are being promoted?

French, Spanish, Italian, German.
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 36
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#154  Postby HughMcB » Oct 04, 2012 1:36 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:The government should stop wasting valuable money on a snobby middle class hobby.

You still haven't demonstrated how it wastes money?
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 36
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#155  Postby HughMcB » Oct 04, 2012 1:40 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:One thing you cant get through head is the fact that Irish is a dying language.

With the big hitters in language like English, Spanish and Chinese (typically Mandarin) being more prevalent than any other, and in fact causing many others to go into decline. Pretty much all the rest are dying also, albeit on a slower timeline.

Let's just ditch them all, concentrate on the few winners. That's fair, no?
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 36
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#156  Postby zulumoose » Oct 05, 2012 6:47 am

HughMcB wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:One thing you cant get through head is the fact that Irish is a dying language.

With the big hitters in language like English, Spanish and Chinese (typically Mandarin) being more prevalent than any other, and in fact causing many others to go into decline. Pretty much all the rest are dying also, albeit on a slower timeline.

Let's just ditch them all, concentrate on the few winners. That's fair, no?


In terms of practicality for the future, it makes no sense whatsoever to learn as a second language one that will be of little use in the real world.

There are several approaches to a second language that make perfect sense to me.

1) If your home language is a minority language in terms of utility in employment in your country and/or region of the world, you MUST learn the most practical language at least as a 2nd language at school, if not through immersion.

2) If your home language is the language of local utility referred to in 1, but not one of the big international languages, your school MUST at least offer the most practical international language as a 2nd language choice, with a preference for English if this makes sense where you are.

3) In a region where English or another major international language is completely dominant, it would be really nice if governments could get together in the region and settle on a policy to teach something else that would be of practical use. Options would be a 2nd major international language, a neutral language like Esperanta, or a form of sign language. I would like to see sign language adopted myself, since it has utility among not only the deaf, but also in heavy industry and other noisy environments. It also has military application, is useful for such things as scuba diving, and can be used through windows where sound does not carry.

4) It makes no sense whatsoever (to me at least) to offer a small minority language as a 2nd language at school unless it is a choice that is preferred by a lot of the pupils, as well as the parents, and for reasons other than ease of passing exams, (this is a large part of the survival of Afrikaans as a 2nd language choice in S.A. other languages are dropped in order to increase marks).
User avatar
zulumoose
 
Posts: 3625

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#157  Postby Saim » Oct 11, 2012 9:00 am

zulumoose wrote:
Saim wrote:Recent studies show that pupils in Irish-medium schools tend to be both motivated to
learn Irish and show favorable attitudes towards the language.



Well they are in a unique position aren't they? They have continuous daily exposure to something which is in direct contrast to the reality all around them that the language only has a 2% utility in one country. You are measuring WITHIN the 2% group, and pretending it is representative.

Are you actually fucking with me?

-I told you that Irish people as a whole have very positive attitudes to the Irish language, justifying Irish medium schools. -(and provided polls)
-Then you said "yeah, but WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?? They're being forced!"
-Then I provided you with yet more polls demonstrating that Irish-medium students have even more positive attitudes to the language

Can you just accept that Irish people care about their culture in a way you can't appreciate?

So what happens in the other 98%, then? I looked up some sources yesterday and while your attitude is consistently supported in areas where there is immersion, it seems the social scene is different and the introduction of the language as a compulsory subject had the opposite effect of what was intended, which supports my attitude, and is more a function of the 98%. I do not have the time to follow up on this right now though.

Here are the facts:
-I showed you that more than 70% of the country thinks Irish is central to their history and culture
-The Fine Gael idea to remove Irish is a compulsory language in English schools failed

I'm not necessarily in favour of it as a compulsory subject in English schools, just to make myself perfectly clear. I'm much more concerned about expanding Irish-medium schools, which actually produce proficient Irish-speakers (and demand is greater than supply for this). Essentially my plan for Irish would be ensuring that anyone who wants to study in Irish medium has the option, which isn't true right now.

Saim wrote:Already being multilingual helps you learn subsequent languages... how many times...


Learning to use a slide rule and a typewriter helps you understand a calculator and a computer...

Not a good analogy, as each language has exactly the same expressive capacity (=fact). The decline of a language has in most cases I've seen in history been a concerted effort to kill a particular culture or identity, rather than just a development to more efficient forms of communication.

Saim wrote:I'm struggling to get the point here. Afrikaans isn't an endangered language.


Afrikaans can easily deteriorate, has suffered a backlash, is politically disadvantaged, and the Afrikaans medium schools are often being converted to dual medium, it is a language that was politically propped up by a nasty government, and has an uncertain future, despite being a fully academic language with a history of literature.

Do Afrikaans-speakers in Afrikaans-speaking areas speak English to their children? Until then, it's not "endangered".

Saim wrote:The difference with languages is that they've been specifically targeted by nationalist and imperialist policies. Revitalization of a language is a fight against (dominant) nationalism(s) and colonialism.

Languages don't just "die", they're murdered. Of course that's quite hyperbolic, but the point is you can't seperate the historical element out of the whole equation.


You can't separate the historical element, but you SHOULD. You speak of murder, but also consider revitalisation a fight, which is often a fight against reality.

Language is a tool when the goal is communication, and you do not set about rebuilding old tools in the hope that the old machines will return, you use the best tools you have for the machines of today and tomorrow. Colonialism and empire building is unlikely to return, the future is more about unity and the dropping of divisive things like solid borders, different currencies, nationalism, patriotism, religious dogma, etc etc.

Language is not just a tool, and the choice of language does have political and identity implications. Have you considered the possibility that your lack of understanding of how central language is to identity and its health to the self esteem and continued existence of a people is rooted in the fact that you speak the dominant language of the world? You're an Anglo, you know. Your arguments is just as biased by your cultural and ethnic background as people in favour of revival of their language.

I'd consider myself an internationalist as well. But I don't believe in a united world that's also extremely homogenous. I support a more integrated world but one that's still essentially plurinational and plurilinguistic. Historically we've seen that "internationalism" when seeing national identity as something temporary and to get rid of has been really damaging and has just turned into a new form of colonialism (look at the USSR) for the dominant group in a state or region.

Language isn't just a tool for communication because it is one of the most powerful markers of identity. Telling someone that their language is useless is the same thing as saying their culture and identity is useless, which is the same attitude that caused the terminal state of their language in the first place (Punjabi is for ignorant country bumpkins, Basque sounds like dogs and doesn't even have a word for "tree", Australian Aboriginal "dialects" can't express all the modern concepts English can, and so on through most languages from Adygh down to Zulu).
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#158  Postby Saim » Oct 11, 2012 9:15 am

zulumoose wrote:1) If your home language is a minority language in terms of utility in employment in your country and/or region of the world, you MUST learn the most practical language at least as a 2nd language at school, if not through immersion.

The Swiss French didn't do it, and they seem to be working out just fine (as is true for several minorities in Europe and even an outlier in North America - Quebec). Or does this rule only apply to brown people?

How about secession so that they're no longer a minority? Is that not just as valid a solution?

Not that I'm against minorities learning dominant languages, I just don't think any Anglo colonist should dictate what every minority in the whole world should do, without even knowing the name of more than a tiny percentage of them.

2) If your home language is the language of local utility referred to in 1, but not one of the big international languages, your school MUST at least offer the most practical international language as a 2nd language choice, with a preference for English if this makes sense where you are.

Well at least this one . How do you define "regionally important" versus "internationally important"? How do you even distinguish "regionally useless" from "regionally important"? Is Punjabi, with 110 million speakers most of whom are only literate in foreign languages, "regionally useful"?

3) In a region where English or another major international language is completely dominant, it would be really nice if governments could get together in the region and settle on a policy to teach something else that would be of practical use. Options would be a 2nd major international language,

One that they will never use? What about the language of a neighbouring culture? Would it be easier for a KwaZulu Anglo to make use of French or of Zulu? If we rule out emigration, of course.

a neutral language like Esperanta,

I find it hilarious that you're talking about how "useless" minority languages are and then start advocating Esperanto. Esperanto's great if you want to go to some conventions full of progressive and internationalist people, and it has decent literature, but beyond that...

or a form of sign language.

There's no such thing as a "form of sign language". Sign languages are just as distinct from each other as oral languages. There's Catalan Sign Language, American Sign Language, Australian Sign Language and even Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, they're not necessarily linked to any national or linguistic identity of hearing people either.

4) It makes no sense whatsoever (to me at least) to offer a small minority language as a 2nd language at school unless it is a choice that is preferred by a lot of the pupils, as well as the parents,

Like Irish! It's great we're in agreement. :D
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#159  Postby zulumoose » Oct 12, 2012 7:22 am

Saim wrote:Are you actually fucking with me?

-I told you that Irish people as a whole have very positive attitudes to the Irish language, justifying Irish medium schools. -(and provided polls)
-Then you said "yeah, but WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?? They're being forced!"
-Then I provided you with yet more polls demonstrating that Irish-medium students have even more positive attitudes to the language

Can you just accept that Irish people care about their culture in a way you can't appreciate?


You still seem unable to get my points, as illustrated by you misrepresenting them here.
And yes, I can accept that they possibly do love the language as a way of appreciating the culture, but the data you provided does not demonstrate that, you just interpret it as demonstrating that. I am not saying your data is inconsistent with that, just not sufficient to rule out other scenarios which could present the same data (think Shakespeare)

Saim wrote:Essentially my plan for Irish would be ensuring that anyone who wants to study in Irish medium has the option, which isn't true right now.


But in reality, children study in a combination of what is available locally, and what their parents think is a good idea. This is sometimes neither what the children actually want, nor what is objectively best for them. I have seen several accounts of Irish medium schools being elitist, and sometimes this is a motivation for trying to get your kids into the 'in' group regardless of what they think of the language, or whether the language itself is actually the goal.

Saim wrote:Do Afrikaans-speakers in Afrikaans-speaking areas speak English to their children? Until then, it's not "endangered".


I do not know enough to comment on that specifically, having never lived in an Afrikaans dominated area, but certainly Afrikaans speakers, especially the younger ones, are throwing a couple of English words into practically every sentence, and coming out with complete English sentences in the middle of Afrikaans paragraphs. English speakers with an Afrikaans background only do that to swear colourfully, as might be done in French for eg, elsewhere.

Saim wrote:The Swiss French didn't do it, and they seem to be working out just fine (as is true for several minorities in Europe and even an outlier in North America - Quebec). Or does this rule only apply to brown people?


Sigh..

Here is what I actually said, regarding these rules:-

"There are several approaches to a second language that make perfect sense to me."

Now how did you manage to mangle that into "I declare that anything other than these rules cannot work, especially for brown people"?


Saim wrote:How do you define "regionally important" versus "internationally important"?


Well I would say that a small country very close to China could be justified in learning Chinese as a 2nd language of probable best utility, and the same could apply to Russian in other places, Spanish in others. There are certainly areas where the major concern in terms of utility in 2nd alnguage is more regional than international. In areas where there is not a regional dominance, English is likely to be the best choice for gaining access to international resources, in terms of travel, education, business, IT, Internet, entertainment, literature, etc,etc. It would take a strong regional influence to override that utility.

Saim wrote:I find it hilarious that you're talking about how "useless" minority languages are and then start advocating Esperanto.


I am not advocating Esperanto specifically, I am advocating regional compromises. If a clump of small neighbouring countries with diverse languages are teaching a random mixture of languages as 2nd languages, I think an effort should be made to negotiate and compromise. Esperanto has two advantages, it is designed to be easy to teach/learn and it is supposed to be neutral, which is what compromise is all about. If 15 small countries could never talk to each other before, but all compromise and bring up a generation of 2nd language Esperanto speakers, wouldn't that be a worthwhile achievement that possibly could never happen without a neutral easily taught language? Better than the forced colonial solution you detest so much perhaps? The utility here would be something created by agreement, individual adoption of Esperanto would be useless.

Saim wrote:There's no such thing as a "form of sign language". Sign languages are just as distinct from each other as oral languages.



Yes, as in they have different forms, so you can choose a 'form' of sign language as I said, instead of just 'sign language'. An interesting aside here is that Zulu has no sign language, so deaf Zulu kids learn English sign language. My mother did some work with Zulu kids in a deaf school, and she always found it a bit odd that they had to express the colour 'white' by stroking their cheeks, when they were all brown. English is more international even in sign language.
User avatar
zulumoose
 
Posts: 3625

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#160  Postby Saim » Oct 19, 2012 7:13 am

zulumoose wrote:
Saim wrote:Are you actually fucking with me?

-I told you that Irish people as a whole have very positive attitudes to the Irish language, justifying Irish medium schools. -(and provided polls)
-Then you said "yeah, but WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?? They're being forced!"
-Then I provided you with yet more polls demonstrating that Irish-medium students have even more positive attitudes to the language

Can you just accept that Irish people care about their culture in a way you can't appreciate?


You still seem unable to get my points, as illustrated by you misrepresenting them here.
And yes, I can accept that they possibly do love the language as a way of appreciating the culture, but the data you provided does not demonstrate that, you just interpret it as demonstrating that. I am not saying your data is inconsistent with that, just not sufficient to rule out other scenarios which could present the same data (think Shakespeare)

You asked me to provide you evidence of the students themselves liking Irish. I provided it. Then you said "well they would like it wouldn't they? I mean, they're in Irish medium!". Where's the misrepresentation in that? Let's review:

You said:

I think this is only going to be cleared up if we run across a study done amongst the most relevant group, namely high school kids. Parents, as per the Shakespeare example, are not the ones to ask, and while primary school may be the best time to introduce a 2nd language, the kids are too young to assess realistically what they want based on real world realities and how much effort is involved to gain a worthwhile competence in another language.

I provided data of high school kids:

With regard to their motivation to learn the language, 93.9% stated that they were
interested in being able to read and understand songs and television programs in Irish,
81.6% felt that it was important to be able to communicate with speakers of the language
and only two percent agreed with the statement “learning Irish is a waste of time”.


Your response:

Well they are in a unique position aren't they? They have continuous daily exposure to something which is in direct contrast to the reality all around them that the language only has a 2% utility in one country. You are measuring WITHIN the 2% group, and pretending it is representative.

Except the entire time I've been advocating expanding that 2% group - i.e., making sure that anyone who wants to be educated through Irish can. I can't say I care much about it as a compulsory subject in English schools, since hardly anyone actually learns Irish from that.

Saim wrote:Essentially my plan for Irish would be ensuring that anyone who wants to study in Irish medium has the option, which isn't true right now.


But in reality, children study in a combination of what is available locally, and what their parents think is a good idea. This is sometimes neither what the children actually want, nor what is objectively best for them. I have seen several accounts of Irish medium schools being elitist, and sometimes this is a motivation for trying to get your kids into the 'in' group regardless of what they think of the language, or whether the language itself is actually the goal.

What's your point?

Saim wrote:Do Afrikaans-speakers in Afrikaans-speaking areas speak English to their children? Until then, it's not "endangered".


I do not know enough to comment on that specifically, having never lived in an Afrikaans dominated area, but certainly Afrikaans speakers, especially the younger ones, are throwing a couple of English words into practically every sentence, and coming out with complete English sentences in the middle of Afrikaans paragraphs. English speakers with an Afrikaans background only do that to swear colourfully, as might be done in French for eg, elsewhere.

That's borrowing and code switching in a bilingual population, not language substitution. When a substantial portion of Afrikaans-speaking parents in Afrikaans-speaking areas speak English to their children, then the language is endangered.

Saim wrote:The Swiss French didn't do it, and they seem to be working out just fine (as is true for several minorities in Europe and even an outlier in North America - Quebec). Or does this rule only apply to brown people?


Sigh..

Here is what I actually said, regarding these rules:-

"There are several approaches to a second language that make perfect sense to me."

Now how did you manage to mangle that into "I declare that anything other than these rules cannot work, especially for brown people"?

I thought the use of the word "must" indicated some sort of compulsion... obviously I was wrong.

Saim wrote:How do you define "regionally important" versus "internationally important"?


Well I would say that a small country very close to China could be justified in learning Chinese as a 2nd language of probable best utility, and the same could apply to Russian in other places, Spanish in others. There are certainly areas where the major concern in terms of utility in 2nd alnguage is more regional than international. In areas where there is not a regional dominance, English is likely to be the best choice for gaining access to international resources, in terms of travel, education, business, IT, Internet, entertainment, literature, etc,etc. It would take a strong regional influence to override that utility.

So do the African and Indian link languages I mention below (Hindi, Bambara, Hausa, Wolof, etc.) count?

Essentially I think that's how it works alright, except it's more dependent on sovereign state than on "region" as such (Malay, Lao, Northern Thai, Southern Thai, etc. speakers in Thailand learn Central/Standard Thai and then English, not Mandarin, whereas speakers of Zhuang, Cantonese, Tibetan and so on sure as hell learn it).

Saim wrote:I find it hilarious that you're talking about how "useless" minority languages are and then start advocating Esperanto.


I am not advocating Esperanto specifically, I am advocating regional compromises. If a clump of small neighbouring countries with diverse languages are teaching a random mixture of languages as 2nd languages, I think an effort should be made to negotiate and compromise. Esperanto has two advantages, it is designed to be easy to teach/learn and it is supposed to be neutral, which is what compromise is all about. If 15 small countries could never talk to each other before, but all compromise and bring up a generation of 2nd language Esperanto speakers, wouldn't that be a worthwhile achievement that possibly could never happen without a neutral easily taught language? Better than the forced colonial solution you detest so much perhaps?[/quote]
Marginally, but even if I did like it it wouldn't work. Everywhere there's already different competing lingua francas ("link languages") in place. In India, Hindi and English compete to be the dominant link language between different ethnic groups. In East Africa, it's English and Swahili. In West Africa it's languages like Hausa, Wolof and Bambara versus French and English.

My ideal scenario would be to promote the regional lingua francas over the colonial ones, but not to neglect the mother tongues either. So a, say, Soninke in Mali would speak and write primarily Soninke, passing it onto their children and such, but also know Bambara, and then maybe French and/or English to communicate outside of those West African countries were most people understand some variety of Bambara/Malinke/Dioula.

The utility here would be something created by agreement, individual adoption of Esperanto would be useless.


"Silly reasoning, like saying if more people drove American cars Detroit would be rebuilt. Reality is real."

Saim wrote:There's no such thing as a "form of sign language". Sign languages are just as distinct from each other as oral languages.



Yes, as in they have different forms, so you can choose a 'form' of sign language as I said, instead of just 'sign language'.

No, they don't have "different forms", there are different sign languages. You would never say "Oh, I've decided to learn a form of oral language. I think I'm going with French." So why would you do it with sign languages?

An interesting aside here is that Zulu has no sign language, so deaf Zulu kids learn English sign language. My mother did some work with Zulu kids in a deaf school, and she always found it a bit odd that they had to express the colour 'white' by stroking their cheeks, when they were all brown. English is more international even in sign language.

See, this is exactly why I'm picking you up on this. Oral languages don't "have" sign languages. They're totally distinct and independent from oral languages. There's no such thing as "English sign language"; there's "South African Sign Language" which is related to "British Sign Language" and not at all to English. South African Sign Language is not just a signed version of English, it's a language in its own right.
User avatar
Saim
 
Posts: 1138
Male

Australia (au)
Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Other Languages

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest