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Language Legislation
Thread poster: Raf Uzar

Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 08:45
Polish to English
Jul 3, 2009

Strange things going on in Slovakia which may strike a blow against all of us who advocate language diversity and linguistic tolerance:
http://transubstantiation.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/language-purity/

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-03 14:10 GMT]


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Dragomir Kovacevic  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:45
Italian to Serbian
+ ...
it is not clear enough... Jul 3, 2009

the information says:
"The new Language Act will come into force on the 1st August 2009 and stipulates that all official names in foreign languages will have to be translated into Slovakian or the institutions and companies responsible for these foreign affectations will face fines of approximately €5,000."

It is not clear enough; which official names, of towns, villages... companies... all of them?

Therefore, your heading: language fascism is a bit strong.

I wouldn't even dare to judge you personally, just by looking at your hair-style, so better let's refrain from these provocations.

Dragomir

Raf Uzar wrote:

Strange things going on in Slovakia which may strike a blow against all of us who advocate language diversity and linguistic tolerance:
http://transubstantiation.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/language-purity/

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-03 14:10 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Jul 3, 2009

Indeed, it is not clear at all. What is an "official name"?

BTW: The regional parliament of Catalonia recently passed a law making Catalan the only teaching language possible in schools... and thus treating Spanish the same way as a foreign language with only 2 hours of Spanish per week... in a part of Spain in which Spanish is as official as in any other part of the country. So citizens of Catalonia whose mother tongue is Spanish (approximately 50% of the population) can no longer get education in their mother tongue for their children.

So with all due respect Slovakia's troubles make me smile compared to what we have here in Spain!


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:45
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Sadly, Brazil is going this way too Jul 3, 2009

Regarding the posting about legislation in Slovakia banning use of foreign words, some people may not know that sadly the same is the case in Brazil. A Bill is currently being discussed to ban foreign words completely, even words like "browser" and "scanner" that have no Portuguese equivalent, as far as I know.

Further information (in Portuguese) at http://www.unesp.br/aci/jornal/151/ligportu.htm

According to the article, anyone violating this Law would be fined R$ 12 thousand (US$ 6 thousand) and also be convicted of a criminal offence.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They don't have enough to do! Jul 3, 2009

Paul Dixon wrote:
Regarding the posting about legislation in Slovakia banning use of foreign words, some people may not know that sadly the same is the case in Brazil. A Bill is currently being discussed to ban foreign words completely, even words like "browser" and "scanner" that have no Portuguese equivalent, as far as I know.

Common guys! Please stop it! I am laughing my guts out! Isn't this pure nonsense? Who is the Government to tell us how and what we want to speak or write!!??

It's just appalling to see that the politicians who like to claim that they FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE are the ones passing more and more and more restrictive laws in so many countries!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Incredible Jul 3, 2009

"o uso desnecessário, abusivo ou enganoso de palavra ou expressão estrangeira será considerado como lesivo ao patrimônio cultural brasileiro"

Just incredible guys. So Aldo Rebelo, from the Communist Party of Brazil, is the one proposing to fine the citizens if they write in a way he does not agree with. Just amazing how communist parties have sold the idea that they are the champions of liberty... and their reality is this!!


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Rosina Peixoto  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
For and against Jul 4, 2009

I think that fostering their native language is something that all countries should do.
If we have a word meaning exactly the same as another one in a foreign language, why should we choose the "foreign" word?

I do not think this resolution is undermining the citizens´rights. However, I do not consider fining people who do not adhere to this act will be the best course of action.

http://www.wieninternational.at/en/node/6598

"The government of prime minister Fico has not made itself particularly popular with a new language initiative announced for the year 2008 by the Ministry of Culture in Bratislava. The government intends to teach proper "Queen's Slovakian" to civil servants, teachers and journalists. This will be monitored, and fines imposed if necessary, should these professions fail to spread "high Slovakian" in accordance with the wishes of the Ministry of Culture.

The planned measures include compulsory language courses for civil servants, council employees and teachers. There are also plans for Slovakian seminars for all university students. Over and above this, a special "state language act" will oblige all media to disseminate a cultivated "high" Slovakian. Under the terms of a special educational brief, public broadcasting media will be obliged to broadcast in correct Slovakian. Experts at the Ministry of Culture will monitor the language quality of the media at regular intervals."

I wish we could all speak "high Spanish" in my country.


Multilingualism: an asset for Europe
Culture - 24-03-2009
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/037-52351-082-03-13-906

"EU citizens must be helped and encouraged to learn languages other than their own if they are to derive full economic, social and cultural benefit from freedom of movement, says a report adopted by the European Parliament..."


The European Commission promotes multilingualism:
http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/languages-of-europe/index_en.htm

Languages of Europe

"Europe is a continent of many languages. The European Union has 23 official languages, and as the EU enlarges, the number will increase further.

Furthermore, the EU has more than 60 indigenous regional or minority language communities. These vary from ancient Celtic tongues in the west of Europe, such as Gallic and Welsh, to minority languages in Eastern Europe, such as Kashubian in Poland and Latgale in Latvia.

The mosaic of European languages has developed over millennia. Successive movements of peoples have brought new language families and have pushed out old ones, sometimes threatening them to the point of extinction [...]


[...] The process of language evolution in Europe still continues, with many other languages brought to the continent by immigrant communities. In multicultural cities like London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin, hundreds of languages are now spoken.

The European Union recognises that language and identity are closely intertwined, and that language is the most direct expression of culture. Language policies have therefore been developed so that language diversity is respected, multilingualism is promoted and, if necessary, threatened languages are protected."

Regards,

Rosina


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chica nueva
Local time: 20:45
Chinese to English
Latest: Czech can still be used. Hungarian will be fined. (Hungarian news sources); an ongoing story Jul 4, 2009

Czech can still be used. Hungarian will be fined. (Hungarian news sources)
http://www.eurolang.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3193&Itemid=0
Controversial amendment of Slovak language law passed
Budapest, Wednesday, 01 July 2009 by Judit Solymosi

[ An ongoing story -> Slovakia is not, of course, the only state ... The campaign of the French against franglais is a classic example, while Brazil actually wrote the rules of Portuguese grammar into its constitution. But the Slovak law at least avoids the pitfall of trying to ban what it terms "common foreign usages, specialist terms or new expressions" ...
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=92111ioncode=26
Slovakians watch their language 19 January 1996 Vera Rich ]

[Edited at 2009-07-04 06:54 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your car must be always clean for the good of the country Jul 4, 2009

Rosina Peixoto wrote:
I do not think this resolution is undermining the citizens´rights.

If your government passed a law saying that you should not wear a T-shirt in official buildings for the sake of respect to the institution, what would you say? What if they passed a law saying that you must always be groomed and look nice? What if they said your car must always be reasonably clean? Would you also say that these things don't undermine the citizens' rights? After all, it would make the country look a lot better, wouldn't it?

Comm'on Rosina! A Government saying what and how the citizens should write or fining those who disagree? It's an illicit interference in each individual's private life!!!

Governments are there to manage the aspects of our life we cannot manage alone on an individual scale: infrastructures, medical services, roads, social security... Nobody authorised governments to regulate our private life!!! Letting them decide everything in our lives is a big mistake. The result is this kind of law. And they will not stop there unfortunately.

[Edited at 2009-07-04 07:05 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What do you mean? Jul 4, 2009

Rosina Peixoto wrote:
I wish we could all speak "high Spanish" in my country.

Do you mean that the education authorities in your country don't teach grammar or spelling in schools?

If they do and you only meant to say that everybody should speak the same way as yourself, I must tell you that you are not entitled to decide what others speak. It is not your business. It's not your government's business. It's just each individual's business!!!!

[Edited at 2009-07-04 07:10 GMT]


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Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 08:45
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
For and against Jul 4, 2009

Interesting how views on this subject are different. No one is saying that we shouldn't speak 'High' Slovakian or Spanish but there is a difference between speaking a language in the full knowledge of its resources and limiting a language's capabilities by attempting to filter out 'non-native' elements. As we all know, languages have the innate ability to morph and change by utilising elements from other languages. Languages/s is/are organic. Take English for example which, as most of us is aware, has a large proportion of its vocabulary taken from French and Latin. And yet we still speak of the Queen's English despite all these foreign influences...

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The point is... Jul 6, 2009

...that schools should teach a standard language (and standard does not mean defined by the Government, but by a non-Government, respected language institution or group of experts), but the people should be able to speak how, where and when they like in their lives. Governments are not there to impose citizens a language or to alter the language artificially. Governments are there to manage things, not to practice social engineering. If we forget that, we are lost!

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Freedom Jul 6, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...that schools should teach a standard language (and standard does not mean defined by the Government, but by a non-Government, respected language institution or group of experts), but the people should be able to speak how, where and when they like in their lives. Governments are not there to impose citizens a language or to alter the language artificially. Governments are there to manage things, not to practice social engineering. If we forget that, we are lost!


I agree with Tomás entirely. We must resist the tendency of governments to tell us which language(s) to speak. It is not enough just hoping that governments will leave us alone - we must fight to protect our personal freedoms when governments try to interfere.


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Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 08:45
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Freedom... Jul 6, 2009

Tomás, John,

The problem is... in many countries linguistic standardisation institutes are government-run or financed making them quangoes of a sort. In other countries such institutes/institutions simply do not exist.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
What would George have said... Jul 6, 2009

Raf Uzar wrote:

Tomás, John,

The problem is... in many countries linguistic standardisation institutes are government-run or financed making them quangoes of a sort. In other countries such institutes/institutions simply do not exist.


I am sure George Orwell have had something to say about modern 'linguistic standardisation institutes'.

[Edited at 2009-07-06 14:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-07-06 14:35 GMT]


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