Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Endangered languages - When nobody understands
Thread poster: Fabio Descalzi

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:06
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 25, 2008

Hi there

This is to show a recent article published at The Economist: http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12483451

Best,
Fabio


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I completely agree! Oct 25, 2008

Some languages, even robust ones, face an obvious threat in the shape of a political power bent on imposing a majority tongue.


I completely agree with this. I immediately think of Spanish in Catalonia, for instance, where regional authorities are banning Spanish everywhere, increasingly in the private sphere. An example is keeping children from speaking Spanish in school breaks and while they play outside of the school.

Today is is already impossible to use signs in Spanish if you have a business (you are fined if you do so) and to study in Spanish in Catalonia. Spanish has the same treatment in schools as English or any other foreign language. Very sad!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would avoid such drastic remarks... Oct 25, 2008


Today is is already impossible to use signs in Spanish if you have a business (you are fined if you do so) and to study in Spanish in Catalonia. Spanish has the same treatment in schools as English or any other foreign language. Very sad!


Do you really mean that Spanish is not allowed in business signs?

How about English or French? That can't possibly be true...

I thought that for business signs it was compulsory only to use Catalan but, once you have Catalan, you can use any other language including Spanish.

Fining business for not using Catalan is not exactly the same as "impossible to use signs in Spanish" I think.

Anyway, I don't live in the place and the information I get is from the media.

Depending on the source you read, you will see that either Catalan or Spanish are about to disappear from Catalonia, which makes me think that none of them can be considered really endangered...

But, anyway, this can lead a very bitter political argument, so we might want to leave it there...

Daniel


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alan R King
Local time: 09:06
Basque to English
+ ...
It is the other way around Oct 25, 2008

Some languages, even robust ones, face an obvious threat in the shape of a political power bent on imposing a majority tongue.


CATALAN is a genuine example of this: a robust language under threat from a political power bent on destroying it. That has been the situation in Spain for a long, long time and was particularly bad in the previous regime, the Franco dictatorship, which violently (and I mean that literally) opposed all linguistic diversity in a state whose whole history is full of linguistic diversity in order to impose a single language monolithically: Spanish.

Following Franco's death in 1975 and the creation of a new constitutional regime in which component nations such as Catalonia are permitted to SHARE political power with the state (still governed from Madrid), that is, to develop LIMITED powers of local government PROVIDED the central authority agrees, for the first time after many years of being silenced, Catalan is again being treated as a recognised language in Catalonia.

The writer of the above message is merely reflecting the backlash attitude of those nostalgic for the earlier anti-Catalan (and anti-Basque, anti-Galician...) system in which Spanish could be shoved down the Catalans' throats. Spanish is still not threatened! But Catalan is now there, back where it should be, and that bothers some (Spanish) people. Sadly, in some (minority) Spanish circles such opinions as these are still listened to.

From the outside I think it should be fairly easy to discern the nonsense of asserting that Spanish is the victim and Catalan (which represents linguistic diversity in the region, not vice-versa) the executioner.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are right Oct 25, 2008

dgmaga wrote:

Today is is already impossible to use signs in Spanish if you have a business (you are fined if you do so) and to study in Spanish in Catalonia. Spanish has the same treatment in schools as English or any other foreign language. Very sad!


I thought that for business signs it was compulsory only to use Catalan but, once you have Catalan, you can use any other language including Spanish.


Yes, sorry. I did not express myself properly: You are not allowed to use Spanish as the only language. You must use Catalan first, and then you are allowed to use Spanish too (or any other language if you like).

But the point is, if you wished to use only Spanish, or German, or Thai for your signs in YOUR business, why should the authorities impose any language in particular? It is interesting to see that if you decided to use Thai only, you would not be fined because you did not use any of the two official languages, Spanish or Catalan: you are only fined because you did not use Catalan.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely out of the way and biased Oct 25, 2008

Alan R King wrote:
The writer of the above message is merely reflecting the backlash attitude of those nostalgic for the earlier anti-Catalan (and anti-Basque, anti-Galician...) system in which Spanish could be shoved down the Catalans' throats. Spanish is still not threatened! But Catalan is now there, back where it should be, and that bothers some (Spanish) people. Sadly, in some (minority) Spanish circles such opinions as these are still listened to.

From the outside I think it should be fairly easy to discern the nonsense of asserting that Spanish is the victim and Catalan (which represents linguistic diversity in the region, not vice-versa) the executioner.


I'm sorry Alan, but this message is completely out of the way. You are talking about Franco, the dictatorship, etc. etc..... IN 2008!? And after 30 years of regional government with full competencies in the main matters, like education?

On top of that, you are implying that I am anti-Catalan, anti-Basque, anti-Galician who would like to see Spanish imposed by the police in Catalonia and everywhere else, etc. etc. etc. Did I say anything of that kind? Please refrain from assigning to me things I did not say.

What I am saying is that you can't study in Spanish in Catalonia anymore, while Spanish is still an official language there. Is banning Spanish as the teaching language in Catalonia "representing the linguistic diversity in the region"?

There are numerous court rulings defending the right of parents to choose education in Spanish for their children in Catalonia. Are the education authorities obeying the rules? Let's be honest please!

[Edited at 2008-10-25 08:59]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
We could agree that neither Catalan or Spanish are "endangered" Oct 25, 2008

Hi, Tomás, Alan,

I think your debate is purely political (i.e. about the language policy of the Calonian authorities).

That's fine. Anyone can have a political point of view about which language should be enforced by authorities in certain contexts but I am realising that this is not actually the topic of the original poster.

You will agree that neither Catalan nor Spanish are really "endangered" languages in the meaning used in the Economist's article.

It might be better to open a new thread to discuss the language policy in Catalonia, if you want to discuss it, and finish with this off-topic (to which I myself have contributed) in this thread.

Daniel


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let's focus on what's relevant Oct 25, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

What I am saying is that you can't study in Spanish in Catalonia anymore, while Spanish is still an official language there. Is banning Spanish as the teaching language in Catalonia "representing the linguistic diversity in the region"?


Bilingualism is a hard act to follow, when you consider that the generation trying to follow it has been steeped in monolingualism and in the archetypes of substandard use of language and regional accents. (My grandfather had such an accent, so I can't deny that). The fear of linguistic diversity is a real one, although its motive may not necessarily be real; however, there is an element of "self-fulfilling prophecy" inherent in an overreaction that could well defeat the purpose of instituting functional bilingualism.

I would venture to say this is not, at the root of it, a political issue, and that it only becomes one to the extent that one, or a group of people, may feel their linguistic space disappearing. I for one don't feel threatened at having to watch "Star Wars" in Catalan when I'm in a hotel, but I imagine that a Spanish-speaking monolingual who never meant to leave Spain or go through the same linguistic exercise (I enjoy these things) might resent it and react defensively. Perceiving this linguistic incursion in one's own family may affect such a person even more, raising the question of whether s/he is to be excluded from his/her children's life. (This is one thing we have to understand - it's hard on parents who are not prepared for it). As non-monolinguals, we might feel inclined to trust the children, but then, we have our own precedents to look at, and they don't.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ramon Inglada  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I didn't want to get involved but... Oct 25, 2008

Hi there,

I really didn't want to get involved in this thread for 2 reasons: one, because this is a sensitive issue for me, and 2 because I don't think Fabio's intention when starting this thread was to initiate a public debate.

We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we also need to be careful with what we give as a fact. What prompted me to participate in this thread was the following statement.

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:


I'm sorry Alan, but this message is completely out of the way. You are talking about Franco, the dictatorship, etc. etc..... IN 2008!? And after 30 years of regional government with full competencies in the main matters, like education?



While I fully agree that in 2008 we should mainly focus on the future and pay a little less attention to a painful past (I'm not saying we should forget it, but there's no need to be constantly remembering what happened then), I wanted to draw attention to the fact that the second part of Tomás' statement is simply not true.

Taking the example of Catalonia, yes, we've had a regional government for 30 years, but full competencies in the main matters? Do you really think so? What are you sources of information? The Spanish media? While it's true that the Catalan regional government has competencies in some areas (like education, as Tomás said, health care, employment and so on), it has very little or no competence at all in some areas I wouldn't really call minor, namely taxation and infrastructures. Money matters indeed.

So regional government for 30 years, yes. But full competencies in the main matters? Absolutely not.

Having said that, thanks Fabio for the article, very interesting indeed.

Cheers,

Ramon


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tsogt Gombosuren  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:06
Member (2004)
English to Mongolian
+ ...
Moghol (not Mongol) language in Afghanistan Oct 25, 2008

I've read that the last speakers of Moghol language lived in Afghanistan in 1970-ties. I don't think they survived until today given the situation in Afghanistan has not been peaceful and thousands of people have died in wars there since 1970-ties.
It is very sad because that language was the only Mongolian dialect that had been preserved from the Genghis Khan's period.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moghol


[Edited at 2008-10-25 11:08]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alan R King
Local time: 09:06
Basque to English
+ ...
Good article Oct 25, 2008

Okay, I've read the article Fabio was trying to tell us about. I confess that I hadn't read it until now.

My excuse is that I'm too busy to read almost anything these days, but felt the misleading statements by Tomás (yes, I insist) simply had to be corrected by someone.

By the way, I lived in Catalonia for a year, speak Catalan and have remained sufficiently in touch since then to know what I'm talking about.

Parrot, nobody in Catalonia is forced to watch Star Wars in Catalan! As you know, there are several state-wide Spanish (i.e. 100% Castilian) TV channels and they all reach Catalonia, including hotel rooms. If anyone - ANYONE - finds it annoying that when in Catalonia they happen to flip over to one of the relatively few Catalan channels and happen across a film dubbed into Catalan rather than Spanish, THEY have the problem, and a pretty serious one too! Yet some Spaniards have precisely such a problem - and THAT phenomenon is something that Catalan speakers have a perfect right to be concerned about. I tend to agree with you that this is not per se a political issue. It becomes a political issue when it gets politicized by people who have an interest in politicizing it. But the central sociolinguistic issue regarding linguistic diversity CAN be discussed in its own right without forcing it through the political filter ab initio, indeed needs to be, and it is yet another form of aggression for some people to try to interrupt or disrupt that discussion of the primary issues by insisting that it is "all political". Beyond the politics, there is something more basic, and THAT IS WHAT THE ARTICLE FABIO RECOMMENDED WAS ABOUT.

So coming full circle let's talk about Fabio's article now. I found it quite good (as these articles go, i.e. short and superficial, but that's journalism). One thing I approved of is that it talks about the problem of language loss in terms of the perspective of the people losing them, rather than going on and on about "humanity's loss" and abstracting away from the real human tragedy of loss of collective identity.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
German to English
Important point Oct 25, 2008

But in an age of mass communications, the threats to linguistic diversity are less draconian and more spontaneous. Parents stop using traditional tongues, thinking it will be better for their children to grow up using a dominant language (such as Swahili in East Africa) or a global one (such as English, Mandarin or Spanish). And even if parents try to keep the old speech alive, their efforts can be doomed by films and computer games.


I don't think we have as many endangered languages in India as in other parts of the world, but the above point is quite important in the Indian context. Increasingly, especially in urban areas, we find Hindi and English dominating other languages and a lot of English even being spoken at home with the family.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry, not 30 years, but 27 years! Oct 25, 2008

Ramon Inglada wrote:
Taking the example of Catalonia, yes, we've had a regional government for 30 years, but full competencies in the main matters? Do you really think so? What are you sources of information? The Spanish media? While it's true that the Catalan regional government has competencies in some areas (like education, as Tomás said, health care, employment and so on), it has very little or no competence at all in some areas I wouldn't really call minor, namely taxation and infrastructures. Money matters indeed.


To me, the competencies that matter here (or at least in the two areas I mentioned in my original reply) are:

- Education: Transferred in 1981. So you are right: not 30 years, but 27 years. So I was wrong by a 10%. Source: Ministry of Education and Science of Spain: http://www.mec.es/cesces/introduccion.e.htm

- Industry: Transferred in 1981. Source: Real Decreto 738/1981. Again, I was wrong by a 10%.

I don't think the central administration's competencies not transferred yet have a big influence in language policy. Or maybe I am wrong...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
So you can study in Spanish in Catalonia? Oct 25, 2008

Alan R King wrote:
My excuse is that I'm too busy to read almost anything these days, but felt the misleading statements by Tomás (yes, I insist) simply had to be corrected by someone.


But Alan, I don't see any correction in your replies. So you can study in Spanish in Catalonia today? Where? Please tell us so that we can report it to parents who have had to go to court to claim their right to request education in Spanish for their children... and still don't get it even with a firm ruling.

Please be so kind to correct me!

Neither do you reply to my question to you as to whether I had said anything that could be considered anti-Catalan (or anti-anybody). Is asking for the possibility to receive education in Spanish being anti-Catalan? Please explain.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let's focus on what's relevant Oct 25, 2008

Parrot wrote:
I would venture to say this is not, at the root of it, a political issue, and that it only becomes one to the extent that one, or a group of people, may feel their linguistic space disappearing. I for one don't feel threatened at having to watch "Star Wars" in Catalan when I'm in a hotel, but I imagine that a Spanish-speaking monolingual who never meant to leave Spain or go through the same linguistic exercise (I enjoy these things) might resent it and react defensively.


Sorry, but this was not what I was criticising. I was not talking about movies or TV channels you can watch if you like, or not watch if you like. I am talking about the possibility of receiving education in Spanish within Spain, which is a completely different matter.

I am not saying that people should be forced to study in any language in particular. Maybe some people here have incorrectly assumed that I wanted education in Spanish in Catalonia. Maybe they did not read my words and just assumed too many things. I am just saying that people should have the option to study in Catalan or in Spanish. And offering that option just makes sense as both languages are official and there are both Catalan-speaking and Spanish-speaking families in Catalonia. Let's just offer them their Constitutional right to have their children educated the way they want!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Fernanda Rocha[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Endangered languages - When nobody understands

Advanced search






SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search