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Linguistic Diversity: a dedicated space
Thread poster: Parrot

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 9, 2007

Everyone loses if one language is lost because then a nation and culture lose their memory, and so does the complex tapestry from which the world is woven and which makes the world an exciting place.

Vigdis Finnbogadottir
Former President of Iceland
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Language

Welcome to this new forum, a space that we, as language users, propose to dedicate to the health of languages.


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:03
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Tereguahe porâite - Maligayang pagdating - Neb tuaj los Aug 9, 2007

"Welcome" in Guarani, Tagalog and Hmong

Dear ProZians, dear visitors:

This new forum is aimed at: language endangerment, survival, revitalization, promotion, and everything related to any spoken or written natural language that is still alive.
Almost any live language which is non-extinct may have its place here.
It doesn't matter if that language is Spanish: sometimes, Spanish speakers use to say that "Spanish is endangered because of the excessive influence of English" (forgetting that Spanish is one of the most widespread languages in the world, as well as official in more than 20 countries).
And it doesn't matter, either, if that language is Manchu: formerly very relevant in China, now it is spoken by just some 70 persons, but it's not yet dead.
Inbetween there is a whole variety of languages, dialects, etc. which are somehow struggling to go on living... just because there is at least one person on Earth speaking them.

Cecilia Avanceña, known as Parrot, has a lot to do here: she is a speaker of Tagalog, English, Spanish and other languages, lives in Spain and has a very extense curriculum in linguistic matters. Besides she is a Moderator with years of experience, which makes her the ideal person to help newcomers to this very diverse world of languages.

As for me, I devote some of my time to promote the so-called pre-Columbian languages of the Americas. I have already started some forum threads on the topic. Now has come the time for a proper place for this.

No matter if you are a Doctor in Linguistics or just an amateur speaker of a long-forgotten language... please, feel free to join us. This is your place.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Interesting topic Aug 10, 2007

Hi Cecilia and Fabio,

This could be a very interesting forum and I hope you will receive active support and participation from ProZ.com members.

We have a lot of linguistic diversity in India and I will be on the look out for any information, articles etc. that I can share with you here.

Best regards,
Niraja

[Edited at 2007-08-10 04:59]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Glad to hear that Aug 10, 2007

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

We have a lot of linguistic diversity in India and I will be on the look out for any information, articles etc. that I can share with you here.


On an tangent, exactly how many languages are on the Rupee? And how many alphabets?


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Languages on a hundred rupee note Aug 10, 2007

Hi,

I just checked on a hundred rupee note. The main part is written in Hindi, but on the side at the back it says "one hundred rupees" in fifteen Indian languages and nine alphabets. It also says "one hundred rupees" and "Reserve Bank of India" in English.

Best,
Niraja


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's why I love India Aug 10, 2007

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

it says "one hundred rupees" in fifteen Indian languages and nine alphabets. It also says "one hundred rupees" and "Reserve Bank of India" in English.


... even if I could only make out four alphabets


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:03
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
What a showcase of diversity! Aug 10, 2007

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:
We have a lot of linguistic diversity in India and I will be on the look out for any information, articles etc. that I can share with you here.

Hi Niraja,

Your contribution is naturally welcome here!
The Indian subcontinent is an excellent showcase for diversity. An unending series of live case studies. Please, don't hesitate to bring related material here... and interested people, too.
If you feel like, you can even open a new thread for Languages from India. So that your (already very big) topic can evolve freely!

Regards,
Fabio


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Specific aspects Aug 10, 2007

Fabio Descalzi Sgarbi wrote:




If you feel like, you can even open a new thread for Languages from India. So that your (already very big) topic can evolve freely!

[quote]

Thanks Fabio, but I think I would prefer to focus on very specific aspects, whenever I come across them.

Regards,
Niraja

[Edited at 2007-08-10 08:47]

[Edited at 2007-08-10 08:47]


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:03
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Just feel free Aug 10, 2007

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:
Thanks Fabio, but I think I would prefer to focus on very specific aspects, whenever I come across them.

Thanks Niraja for feeling ready to integrate.
By the way: looking at your profile, I see that your professional career focuses on European languages. Nevertheless: do you speak native languages from India as well?
My question doesn't pretend to ask you to work professionally in that, just: your exact (or approximate) level of ability in languages from India.

Regards,
Fabio


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Some Hindi and Tamil Aug 10, 2007

Hi again, Fabio,

I can speak some Hindi and Tamil, but since I was brought up and educated in Europe, and only moved back to India as an adult, my knowledge of Indian languages is not good enough for professional purposes.

Regards,
Niraja


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Deschant
Local time: 18:03
Great idea! Aug 10, 2007

When I discovered that a new section called Linguistic Diversity had been created, I felt enthusiastic about it! In Spain we also have a lot to say about linguistic diversity, with 4 official languages (in addition to Spanish, Galician, Basque, and Catalan-Valencian) and other languages and dialects which are not official but are still spoken such as Bable, Aranés, etc.

In fact, the more I read about the history and linguistic distribution of the different regions of the world, the more persuaded I become that linguistic diversity is the norm (just think about India, or Africa!), and not the exception. Even "large" countries with apparently only one national language (for example, Germany, France, USA...) have had historically linguistic diversity.

Regards,
Eva


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:03
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
The "melting pot": yet another showcase Aug 10, 2007

emoreda wrote:
Even "large" countries with apparently only one national language (for example, Germany, France, USA...) have had historically linguistic diversity.
Regards,
Eva

Hi Eva,

Thanks for joining this thread.
You mention two European countries with, yes, their own linguistic diversity: Germany with its many dialects (Plattdeutsch, Bayrisch, Schwäbisch, Sächsisch, Kölsch...), France (the several sorts of Langue d'Oc, Breton, even Catalan and Flemish...)
AND: the "melting pot", USA - that is another big source for case studies.
I'm thinking, for instance, about the Amish people of Pennsylvania, with their own Germanic speech (some call it dialect, some others a separate language).
Or the several Jewish communities, to name one: the Gruzinic (Georgian-Jewish).
Not forgetting the Native Americans, from the well-known Navajos to the less known Nez Percé.
And last but not least, special linguistic developments such as the Cajun from Louisiana.


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Deschant
Local time: 18:03
Reply Aug 10, 2007

Fabio Descalzi Sgarbi wrote:
You mention two European countries with, yes, their own linguistic diversity: Germany with its many dialects (Plattdeutsch, Bayrisch, Schwäbisch, Sächsisch, Kölsch...), France (the several sorts of Langue d'Oc, Breton, even Catalan and Flemish...)
AND: the "melting pot", USA - that is another big source for case studies.
I'm thinking, for instance, about the Amish people of Pennsylvania, with their own Germanic speech (some call it dialect, some others a separate language).
Or the several Jewish communities, to name one: the Gruzinic (Georgian-Jewish).
Not forgetting the Native Americans, from the well-known Navajos to the less known Nez Percé.
And last but not least, special linguistic developments such as the Cajun from Louisiana.


Yes, of course, all this is fascinating! But how many people -even the inhabitants of Germany, France, the States- are aware of it? I think that, in the Occidental world, most people still have an attitude of "Oh, you are from Spain (Germany/France/Italy/etc.), so your native tongue must be Spanish (or German/French/Italian/etc.)". I suppose this view is inherited from the Early Modern Times, with the creation of large, centralized states (such as Spain, France) or, in some cases, from the 19th century (with the unification of Germany and Italy).

The truth is, I don't think there is a single state in the world which is effectively monolingual, except maybe for the very small ones such as Monaco, San Marino, some islands of the Pacific, etc.

Regards,
Eva

[Editado a las 2007-08-10 18:30]


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:03
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican... all diverse! Aug 10, 2007

emoreda wrote:
The truth is, I don't think there is a single state in the world which is effectively monolingual, except maybe for the very small ones such as Monaco, San Marino, some islands of the Pacific, etc.

Dear Eva:
Even the city-states have their own diversity, too - and in their own right!

MONACO http://www.ethnologue.org/show_country.asp?name=MC
· French [fra] 17,400 in Monaco (1988). Alternate names: Français.
· Ligurian [lij] 5,100 in Monaco, (1988). Alternate names: Ligure. Dialects: Genoese (Genoan, Genovese), Monégasque (Munegasc, Ventimigliese).
· Provençal [prv] 4,500 in Monaco (1988). Dialects: Niçard (Niçois).

SAN MARINO http://www.ethnologue.org/show_country.asp?name=SM
· Italian [ita] 25,000 in San Marino (2004).
· Emiliano-Romagnolo [eml] 20,112 in San Marino (1993). Dialects: Sammarinese.

VATICAN STATE http://www.ethnologue.org/show_country.asp?name=VA
· Italian [ita] 1,000 in Vatican State (2004).
· Latin [lat] Alternate names: Latina - No "native" speakers, but nevertheless the traditional language of the Mass, etc.
· Monastic Sign Language [mzg] Monastic communities, especially in Europe. Dialects: Anglo-Saxon Monastic Sign Language, Augustinian Sign Language, Benedictine Sign Language, Cistercian Sign Language, Trappist Sign Language.
AND: spoken by the Pope and advisors, German
AND: spoken by the Swiss Guard, as well as German, Schwyzerdütsch...

[Edited at 2007-08-10 21:34]


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Alan R King
Local time: 19:03
Basque to English
+ ...
We should revise our view of what is "normal" Aug 11, 2007

emoreda wrote:

I think that, in the Occidental world, most people still have an attitude of "Oh, you are from Spain (Germany/France/Italy/etc.), so your native tongue must be Spanish (or German/French/Italian/etc.)". I suppose this view is inherited from the Early Modern Times, with the creation of large, centralized states (such as Spain, France) or, in some cases, from the 19th century (with the unification of Germany and Italy).



Two crucial points are made by Fabio and emoreda here. First, that bi- and multilingualism is a far more widespread phenomenon (both within Europe and around the world) than European-based mainstream/official ideology and discourse admits (and therefore than most people under the influence of this ideology and discourse realise).

To illustrate the point, I quote from a recent interesting article (which I translated and which may be seen in three languages at http://www.euskara.euskadi.net/r59-3693/en/contenidos/informacion/artik19_1_interakzioa_07_05/en_interakz/artik19_1_interakzioa_07_05.html ) about new immigrants to the Basque Country (and why they tend to learn Spanish but not Basque):

"Many of them themselves come from bilingual or even trilingual situations (one component of which may, sometimes, be Spanish), and their migratory experience may have led to the acquisition of further languages."

The point is that within our mind frame (I speak for those of us who are immersed in "mainstream" culture here) it rarely if ever occurs to most of us to think about that aspect of a "typical" immigrant's probable background. So let us try to understand the source of this ignorance...

It has often been observed that in bi-/multilingual societies it is most typical for people at a lower social level to speak more languages, but for those nearer the top of the social scale to be monolingual. An example: In Guatemala, "Indians" are MUCH more likely to speak both their own language and Spanish, than "whites" are to speak both Spanish and an "Indian" language! And by extention: People in English speaking countries are not as much into learning "European" languages and tend to be more monolingual than "Europeans", many of whom learn English and often other languages too. Finally, let me mention a historical example: in England after the Norman Conquest, it was the English-speaking peasant who had to learn French; the ruling barons did not speak Anglo-Saxon! Now you can find your own examples...

Perhaps today, with globalisation, we may extend this principle directly to the world as a whole, divided into "haves" and "have-nots", and thus correctly predict the following: that people in poor, third-world countries are statistically much more prone to be able to speak one or more languages of their own country in addition to one or more European (oh sorry, "international") languages, whereas people in rich countries very rarely know any native languages of poor countries.

So: the assumption that it is "normal" and "natural" for both people and states to be monolingual is in large part a "bourgeois European" myth with as much truth, and a similar ring, to it as the assumption that it is "normal" and "natural" for everybody in the world to live in a nice house with electricity, fresh water, indoor plumbing, a telephone and internet, and have a high-school education. It's yet another example of the world's privileged minority living on a cloud far away from reality.

The second good point emoreda has made is about where this myth came from: it was born with the European ideological concept of the monolithic nation-state.

Deica logo!

Alan


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