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what will become of dialects?
Thread poster: RHELLER
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:59
French to English
+ ...
Jan 21, 2006

http://www.proz.com/topic/41589

I wanted to comment on something from another forum but felt it belonged here. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Richard Creech wrote "It would not seem inappropriate to distinguish between European and American forms of French -- and Spanish, Portuguese and English for that matter, as there are significant differences in each language between the "colonial" form and that of the historical motherland."

I think you are making a mistake by qualifying language in those terms. Language is not frozen in time. The form of English that was spoken in the Colonial days no longer exists as a living language. Language in the UK has continued to evolve since 1776 when the thirteen colonies declared independence. The same holds true for New Yorkers or Virginians, for that matter.

Language has always evolved and will continue to evolve. We can try and shape it or guide it, but we cannot control it completely.

It is interesting to look at the case of Canadian French vs. French from France, which is not exactly the same as Belgian French or Swiss French. The Canadian government has made a huge investment in making their sites bilingual and creating glossaries to keep terms understandable. They consciously create terms for new "things" and this is to be applauded.

Some of their terms sometimes seem to go "overboard" in differentiating itself from the accepted U.S. verbiage. This can be amusing to translators or it can be very frustrating.

Perhaps some of you would like to comment on what you see as the future of dialects or regional variations or whatever may be the appropriate term.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:59
Flemish to English
+ ...
Dutch Forum. Jan 21, 2006

This has been discussed in the Dutch Forum.
You have Flemish and Dutch. Exactly the same language.
The standard form is the variant used by the Flemish Radio and Television. A kind of neutral Dutch which sounds well in the ears of both speakers of the Holland and Flanders and which is considered the norm for interpreting.
There is a "Taalunie" (language association) which determines the spelling. This is uniform for both Holland and Belgium.
Every year people from both variants partcipate in the Groot Dictee der Nederlandse taal. (Dictation Competition of the Dutch language). For the past four years this has been won by the Flemish. They tend to master the rules a bit better than the Dutch. However, soms terms differ.

[Edited at 2006-01-21 12:18]


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Mwananchi
Kenya
Local time: 15:59
Member (2006)
English to Swahili
+ ...
Sheng Jan 21, 2006

Due to our history we have two official languages in Kenya. One is English spoken by probably a billion plus people and the other is Kiswahili, commonly known as Swahili with a usage of 100 million plus people. English was formerly thought as the academic's language and Swahili as the populist, 'Man on the street' language .We even have dailies for the two languages, which usually cover very different topics.

It has always been understood that this are two languages meant to be used separately, but with the new generation of Kenyans that logic does not seem to carry water. Their primary focus is to be understood by their peers, so they have now combined the two languages into one, which only they understand called Sheng.

The sad thing about this Sheng that it is affecting the quality of both the English and Swahili being spoken for the worse. It can be assumed that this situation will move from casual conversation to official documents, journals and the local dailies.

In a generation's time Kenyans may lose the ability to communicate effectively with the large reserve of both English and Swahili speakers in other countries to the detriment of their trade, cultural experiences and education.

[Edited at 2006-01-24 11:34]

[Edited at 2006-02-08 11:36]


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:59
French to English
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Misunderstanding Jan 21, 2006

[quote]Rita Heller wrote:

http://www.proz.com/topic/41589

I think you are making a mistake by qualifying language in those terms. [quote]

I think I have been misunderstood. I did not mean to suggest literally a reference to English as spoken before American independence; I was using the term "colonial" simply as a somewhat (if here unsuccesful) humorous synonym for "American" (the way people still speak of the U.S. as "the colonies")


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:59
French to English
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"Language" versus "Dialect" Jan 21, 2006

Williamson wrote:

You have Flemish and Dutch. Exactly the same language.



Well this depends on how you wish to define language. Linguists often say that there as many languages as there are people in the world, or put another way, everyone speaks his own idiolect. No two people speak exactly the same way, form their consonants and vowels in precisely the same way, or use words with the identical meaning. Every person's language differs from everyone else's in the world by varying degrees. Sometimes the differences involved are so slight that the people involved may not even be aware of them. The terms "language" and "dialect" are really political terms, not linguistic ones, as they reflect issues of state power and socio-economic status more than the linguistic relationships of different communities. It is often said that a "language" is simply a "dialect" with an army or navy. That is to say, if a group of speakers gets enough guns and forms their own country, they get to call their speech-form a language, but if a group of speakers is subjugated within a state, their speech is derided as a "dialect." Thus, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, which are extremely similar to one another, are viewed as separate languages, whereas many people refuse to recognize the various Romance languages of Italy as separate languages, even though Veneto, Sicilian, and Milanese differ in significant ways from what is now called standard "Italian."

Calling something a "dialect" is often part of an overall system of suppression of a particular group. All standard languages, like all languages, are themselves dialects, and achieved their standardized status by virtue of being the dialect of the prestige class in a country (the French of Paris, the "Queen's English" of London, the Tuscan Italian of Dante, and so forth). Part of the wonder of Europe is its linguistic diversity, which includes all of the languages and dialects spoken in the continent. For information on some of the less common of these, I refer everyone to the website of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages at http://www.eblul.org.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
neutral Dutch solution Jan 21, 2006

"The standard form is the variant used by the Flemish Radio and Television. A kind of neutral Dutch which sounds well in the ears of both speakers of the Holland and Flanders and which is considered the norm for interpreting.
There is a "Taalunie" (language association) which determines the spelling. This is uniform for both Holland and Belgium"

Hi Williamson,

Great example of level-headed people coming up with a rational plan. However, variations can be few or many.

The differences between French (Quebec) and French (France) are enormous, incomprehensible to some. Remember that the 2 countries are not on the same continent. Europeans share a lot.
Let's hear from some French Canadians


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:59
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
solving one problem may lead to another Jan 21, 2006

"The sad thing about this Sheng that it is affecting the quality of both the English and Swahili being spoken for the worse... In a generation's time Kenyans may lose the ability to communicate effectively with the large reserve of both English and Swahili speakers in other countries to the detriment of their trade, cultural experiences and education. "

Hi Mwananchi,

Do you think we can compare what is happening in Kenya to the appearance of "International English"? - a consciously fabricated language that attempts to bridge communication gaps to the detriment of the language itself.

I would prefer that all peoples attempt to speak at least 2 languages rather than create blends which cause other problems.

I am convinced that learning additional languages is beneficial to brain development.

I expect there will be other points of view; I know this is a controversial topic.


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Maria Rosich Andreu  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:59
Member (2003)
Dutch to Spanish
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standarization of Catalan Jan 21, 2006

Catalan is another language that, due to political reasons, for a time was left to survive outside official channels. I think the lack of a common media system accentuated regional differences (dialects are, from a certain point of view, remnants of a time when people and texts traveled less).

During the process called 'language normalization' carried out in the 80s, the Catalan regional government chose to standardize the language, and create a sort of HauptCatalan that would belong to no-one, and be understood by everyone.

The result is jokingly known as 'TV3 Catalan' (TV3 being the main Catalan TV channel) and, although it strives to become a standard and neutral version of the language, it still drinks heavily from the dialect of Barcelona and the surrounding area.

I guess with smaller languages such a thing is unavoidable: the dialect with the most media and sociopolitical influence will end up prevailing. I have read that has been the case of Basque, which was modernised and standardized taking one of its dialects as basis. I would like to know on what dialect is based the standard Dutch, and whether there have been other cases.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:59
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
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definition of language is vague Jan 21, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:
Well this depends on how you wish to define language. Linguists often say that there as many languages as there are people in the world, or put another way, everyone speaks his own idiolect. No two people speak exactly the same way, form their consonants and vowels in precisely the same way, or use words with the identical meaning. Every person's language differs from everyone else's in the world by varying degrees. Sometimes the differences involved are so slight that the people involved may not even be aware of them. The terms "language" and "dialect" are really political terms, not linguistic ones, as they reflect issues of state power and socio-economic status more than the linguistic relationships of different communities. It is often said that a "language" is simply a "dialect" with an army or navy. That is to say, if a group of speakers gets enough guns and forms their own country, they get to call their speech-form a language, but if a group of speakers is subjugated within a state, their speech is derided as a "dialect." .....
Calling something a "dialect" is often part of an overall system of suppression of a particular group. All standard languages, like all languages, are themselves dialects, and achieved their standardized status by virtue of being the dialect of the prestige class in a country ....


Yes, I have the same perspective on this and have said the same over the years in linguistics and sociolinguistics courses.

See:
http://www.proz.com/post/255501#255501

http://www.proz.com/post/227654#227654
In the latter link I provided definitions of idiolect, patois, dialect and the very vague idea of "language".

The definition of "language" is simply the following:

language variety = who + what + where + when + why

If you change any of the factors on the right, it will influence the type of variety used on the left. The result can be a difference due to a change in social register, a change in regional pronunciation, a change in hierarchial honorifics, a change in informal/formal levels, a change in phonological traits, a change in syntactic structures, etc.

It is possible to call these varieties family vocabulary idiosyncracies, village patois, regional talk, social registers, island creoles, grouped dialects within a country, outside dialects in a country (which are usually the main dialect of the neigboring country), etc.
Yet, it is important to be careful with whom you use the word "dialect". There are some places I would never use the word, lest I be stabbed to death for daring say that their "language" is a "dialect". But as stated by Richard above, there are all dialects anyhow. It just depends on the definition and connotations that they others in front of you have with regard to these terms.

One of the key references to measuring the differences between these various "varieties" is the following:

Dialect Intelligibility Testing. 1974. By Eugene Casad. Published by the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Publication #38.

Jeff
------
Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Paris, France
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/



[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:12]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
more on American dialects Jan 22, 2006

Interesting discussion.

I looked up "American dialects" and was surprised to find that there is a Society (American Dialect Society) "dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it"

www.americandialect.org


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:59
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
USA dialect maps used for real speech application projects Jan 22, 2006

Rita Heller wrote:

Interesting discussion.

I looked up "American dialects" and was surprised to find that there is a Society (American Dialect Society) "dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it"

www.americandialect.org

Yes, I provided links to its dialect map and the maps by others at: http://www.proz.com/post/255501#255501

Direct links are:
http://www.evolpub.com/Americandialects/AmDialMap.html
http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US1/REF/dial-map.html

And yes, these dialect atlases can have a real-use impact for business. In 1999-2000, I did the technical specifications work and team management of the USA subproject following project:

SPEECHDAT CAR. A Large Speech Database For Automotive Environments
http://perso.enst.fr/~grichard/Publications/PaperLREC.pdf

The project summary is: "SpeechDat-Car aims to develop a set of speech databases to support training and testing of multilingual speech recognition applications in the car environment. As a result, a total of ten (10) equivalent and similar resources will be created. The 10 languages are Danish, British English, Finnish, Flemish/Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish and American English. For each language, 600 sessions will be recorded (from at least 300 speakers) in seven characteristic environments (low speed, high speed with audio equipment on, etc.). This paper gives an overview of the project with a focus on production phases (speaker recruitment, recording platforms, annotation…)"

For the USA project, several dialect atlases were consulted in the early stages of the project to determine the cities/towns where we finally decided to conduct the recording sessions. The USA project took a year to complete.

A bullet list of types of items that were analyzed, adapted and then phonetically balanced to create the corpus for the recording sessions is provided at:
http://www.elda.org/catalogue/en/speech/S0115.html

Each of the 10 language subprojects conducted some kind of dialect study for their language before proceeding with the recording phase.

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/




[Edited at 2006-01-22 13:24]


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#41698 (LSF)
Malaysia
Local time: 20:59
Japanese to English
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Dialect -- A sociopolitical definition. Jan 22, 2006

When the first emperor of China united China some 2000 years ago, a common writing was established. Nowadays even the various dialects (vastly dissimilar soundwise) in China use the same Chinese character set. Japan that imported Chinese characters for (ill-fitting, of course) their spoken language even before inventing and adding on their native suffix/prefix characters of hiragana/katakana didn't get to be called a Chinese dialect.

Though American English is not called a dialect of English, the move toward having an international English seems to be gaining ground at a faster clip in the computer and software arena. Fancy spelling "hard disk" as "hard disc"? This can probably be attributed to modern-era colonization of the world by American IT giants. English probably became a world language because of British territories overseas in the colonial era, and with the rise of America as a world power, the need to maintain this heritage of English capability was seen to be a plus point even with the torrent of independence movement after WWII.

Though in Hong Kong, Mandarin Chinese had become more popular when HK reverted back to China, the stress for English ability seems to be gaining momentum on China mainland itself at the same time that Chinese culture and language are following in the footsteps of its booming exports.

In India, the booming outsourcing and software industries had probably pushed the value of English to an all-time high and this can act as a unifying force for it's Hindi-speaking north and Tamil-speaking south. Malaysia, after a generation of nationalistic fervor to replace colonial English, had reversed some of these language policies for practical reasons. In "French Indochina", especially Vietnam, English seemed to be gaining ground over French.

In these English-speaking countries, those with British heritage seem to be still leaning toward British English, and with Japan toward American English. But with the booming international publications, cable TV channels, mega bookstores and internet bookstores, and most important of all, the exploding internet, UK English and US English seem to be understood equally well.

Whether US English or UK English would become the international language remains to be seen. But for me, I'm translating more into US English than UK English for reasons of trade weightage and language pairing, I guess.

[Edited at 2006-01-22 11:55]

[Edited at 2006-01-23 14:08]


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:59
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
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American English is just one of the World Englishes Jan 22, 2006

Lew Shiong Fong wrote:
Though American English is not called a dialect of English, ...


It actually is considered to be a dialect of English.


many web sites, books, and associations on World Englishes, which clearly state US English or American English as one of many dialects of English:

http://eleaston.com/world-eng.html

http://www.askoxford.com/globalenglish/worldenglish/

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/weng

http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0883-2919

http://www.iaweworks.org/history.html

http://www.worldenglishes.org/world_englishes_history_page.html

http://www.worldwidewords.org/reviews/re-oxf2.htm

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521395658/002-4689491-3489656?v=glance&n=283155

http://www.sil.org:8090/silebr/2005/silebr2005-001

http://www.cal.org/ericcll/minibibs/engworld.html

http://www.thoemmes.com/language/english.htm%20

http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Linguistics/TheEnglishLanguage/?ci=0340718889&view=usa


some university programs and degrees in World Englishes:

http://www.chukyo-u.ac.jp/eng/gakubu/kokusaie.html

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/pgp06/programme/440

http://www.hku.hk/english/courses2000/2030.htm

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~amatsuda/teaching/WE/

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/english/postgrad/pg.php?file=maelwe

http://www.unimelb.edu.au/HB/subjects/175-536.html

http://www.ling.pdx.edu/faculty_staff.html


Jeff
------
Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Paris, France
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/



[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:11]


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:59
Spanish to English
Dialects Jan 22, 2006

[quote]Rita Heller wrote:

http://www.proz.com/topic/41589

Not having had "linguistic" training as such, I thought dialect was the same language spoken and subsequently written in a different form.
Here is a poem written in English (Yorkshire Dialect)lamenting the quality of a popular dish

Yorkshire Pudding

Eh waiter, excuse me a minute
I'm not findin' fault, but dear me
'taties is lovely and beef is alreit
But what sort of pudding can this be?

It's what? Yorkshire Puddin'? Now cum cum cum cum
It's Yorkshire Puddin' yer say?
I'll grant yer it's some sort o' puddin', owd lad
But not THE Yorkshire Puddin', nay, nay.

Now reit Yorkshire Puddin's a poem in batter,
T'mek it's an art, not a trade
So just listen t' me and I'll tell t' thee
How t' first Yorkshire puddin' were made


A young angel wi day off from 'eaven,
Were flyin' abaht Ilkla Moor,
When t' angel, poor thing, got cramp in a wing
An' cum down at an owd women's door.

T' owd woman said "Eee - it's an angel.
By 'eck, I'm fair capped to see thee.
I've noan seen yan afore - but tha's welcome,
Come on in, an' I'll mash thi some tea."

T' angel said, "By gum, thank you kindly."
Though she only supped one mug o' tea,
She et two drippin' slices and one Sally Lunn.
Angel's eat very lightly yer see.

Then t'owd woman looked at clock sayin'
"Ey up, t'owd feller's back soon from t'mill.
You gerron wi' yer tea, but please excuse me,
As I'll atter mek puddin' fer Bill."

Then t' angel jumped up and said gie us it 'ere,
Flour, water, eggs, salt an' all,
An' I'll show thee 'ow we meks puddins,
Up in 'eaven for Saints Peter and Paul.

So t' angel took bowl and stuck a wing in,
Stirring it round, whispering "Hush"
An' she tenderly ticked at t'mixture,
Like an artist ed paint wi a brush.

Then t'owd woman asked " 'ere wor is it then,
T'secret o' puddins made up above?"
"It's nowt i' flour or watta, said t'angel,
"Just mek sure that tha meks it wi' luv."


When it were done , she popped it i' t'oven,
"Gie it nobbut ten minutes", she said.
Then off t'angel flew, leavin' first Yorkshire Puddin',
That ivver were properly med.

An' that why it melts in yer gob just like snow.
An' as light as a maiden's first kiss,
An' as soft as the fluff on t'breast of a puff,
Not ELEPHANT'S LEATHER like this.


Anon


For more on this regional dialect
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/voices2005/glossary/barrie_rhodes.shtml

[Edited at 2006-01-22 17:52]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:59
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
the proof is in the pudding? Jan 22, 2006

Well, Jeff, no one will ever accuse you of not backing up your claims with enough sources!


thanks, David for that great example of one form of spoken English.


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