New Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:04
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Feb 20, 2009

New edition of UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
© UNESCO


Out of approximately 6,000 existing languages in the world, 199 languages have fewer than 10 speakers and 178 others have 10 to 50. Such data can be found in the new edition of UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, presented in Paris on the eve of International Mother Language Day...

more:
http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=44605&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
Member (2005)
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Basque in danger? Feb 20, 2009

At the very least, the atlas is completely outdated.

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Daniel García
English to Spanish
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Actually it's branded as "unsafe" Feb 21, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

At the very least, the atlas is completely outdated.


"unsafe" seems to be the lowest rate of endangerment.

The data for basque seems to be from 1991.

They seem to have quite specific criteria to define endangered languages. Here is the link:

http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/doc/src/00120-EN.pdf

Do you mean that you don't agree with those criteria?

Daniel


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chica nueva
Local time: 19:04
Chinese to English
Maori; indigenous languages Feb 21, 2009

Thank you Vito.

When I was living north of Auckland 15+ years ago, I heard two older ladies speaking Maori as their first language at the bus-stop. What a surprise. It's quite unusual. Immersion schools are making a difference, and some parents aim for immersion at home. What a change from years ago when it was banned in schools. This link gives an account of the language since European settlement, if anyone is interested:
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Maori-language

I checked and found out that today's 'Standard Maori' is one of the Northern dialects, I'm not sure which one. Personally, I don't think Maori as a spoken language is out of the woods yet. And 'Southern Maori' seems to be in quite a perilous position or even extinct. It's the dialect of our local iwi (tribe) in the South Island, Ngai Tahu.

Lesley

['Ngāi Tahu speak or spoke a distinct dialect of Māori (sometimes referred to as Southern Māori). ... The dialect displayed sufficient differences that an early missionary, Rev. James Watkin, based at Karitane, found materials prepared by North Island missions unusable in Otago. '(Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_language
Indigenous language

[Edited at 2009-02-21 08:54 GMT]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:04
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
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TOPIC STARTER
The map I included is not the latest afait Feb 21, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

At the very least, the atlas is completely outdated.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Basque does not match definition of "Unsafe" Feb 21, 2009

dgmaga wrote:
"unsafe" seems to be the lowest rate of endangerment.
...
Do you mean that you don't agree with those criteria?


The document you referred to described "unsafe" as the following:
"Most but not all children or families of a particular community speak their language as their first language, but it may be restricted to specific social domains (such as at home where children interact with their parents and grandparents)."

Indeed I do not agree with this "unsafe" definition of Basque at all, for a very good reason: in 1991 the lion's share of Basque children did NOT speak Basque in their families, nor did their parents, grandparents or precedent generations.

Unfortunately these definitions of the vitality of languages do not contemplate legal imposition of one language to speakers of another language, for political reasons.

Today, most children (but not all) speak Spanish as their first language, but given the increasing imposition of Basque in school (where you can no longer receive education in Spanish, being now Spanish treated and taught as a foreign language) and in all spheres of public administration, justice and now even private business, it just happens that this definition of "unsafe" starts to apply to Spanish in the Basque provinces now. Forced to receive education in Basque, children already start to wonder whether they should play with children whose parents are lowly and speak Spanish!


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
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snip, snip... Feb 21, 2009

Sorry, I meant to delete my post but I can't...

[Edited at 2009-02-21 11:10 GMT]


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Celia Recarey  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
English to Spanish
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Please... Feb 21, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

dgmaga wrote:
"unsafe" seems to be the lowest rate of endangerment.
...
Do you mean that you don't agree with those criteria?


The document you referred to described "unsafe" as the following:
"Most but not all children or families of a particular community speak their language as their first language, but it may be restricted to specific social domains (such as at home where children interact with their parents and grandparents)."

Indeed I do not agree with this "unsafe" definition of Basque at all, for a very good reason: in 1991 the lion's share of Basque children did NOT speak Basque in their families, nor did their parents, grandparents or precedent generations.

Unfortunately these definitions of the vitality of languages do not contemplate legal imposition of one language to speakers of another language, for political reasons.

Today, most children (but not all) speak Spanish as their first language, but given the increasing imposition of Basque in school (where you can no longer receive education in Spanish, being now Spanish treated and taught as a foreign language) and in all spheres of public administration, justice and now even private business, it just happens that this definition of "unsafe" starts to apply to Spanish in the Basque provinces now. Forced to receive education in Basque, children already start to wonder whether they should play with children whose parents are lowly and speak Spanish!


You are talking about political opinions here, Tomás, not about sociolinguistics, which is what the Atlas is about... And there's a fairly gross contradiction in your assertion that the language spoken by the majority of the population in the Basque Country (i.e. Spanish) is "unsafe", don't you think?

According to your own words, most children don't have Basque as their first language although they are "forced" to learn it at school, so it seems that yes, Basque is restricted to specific social domains, such as school, for instance.

According to a survey carried out by the Basque government in 2006 (http://www.euskara.euskadi.net/r59-738/es/contenidos/libro/iv_inkesta_soziol/es_ink/adjuntos/IVInkesta(GAZT).pdf), 51.5% of the population are monolingual in Spanish, 30.1% of the population are active bilinguals and 18.3% are passive bilinguals (that is, they understand Basque but do not speak it, not the other way round) and there are no monolinguals in Basque, so I don't think there's any risk for Spanish in the Basque Country.

And, by the way, apparently 64.7% of the population are favourably disposed towards the promotion of the Basque language (only 11.2% are against it), which IMHO would indicate that they don't feel so "forced" to learn it as you may think.

As for this:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Forced to receive education in Basque, children already start to wonder whether they should play with children whose parents are lowly and speak Spanish!


I would really like to see some data about it


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
Spanish to English
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Map of force-fed minority languages Feb 23, 2009

I would like to see a map of areas where children are forced to learn minority or dying languages. This certainly happens in large areas of Spain.

Children who fall victim to these bullying tactics are obliged to spend a significant part of their education learning a language that they are very unlikely to use in later life - unless they choose to work for their local regional government. Many children in cities such Valencia grow up hating 'their' local language after years of being force-fed.

The price these children pay is that there is less school time left to learn useful and expanding languages - such as English, French, German, or Chinese.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Favourably disposed towards banning Spanish? Feb 23, 2009

Celia Recarey wrote:
And, by the way, apparently 64.7% of the population are favourably disposed towards the promotion of the Basque language (only 11.2% are against it), which IMHO would indicate that they don't feel so "forced" to learn it as you may think.


Wouldn't you say that being "favourably disposed towards the promotion of the Basque language" has a different meaning that "favourable disposed towards banning Spanish as a teaching language in school"? I think there is quite a difference.


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Celia Recarey  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:04
English to Spanish
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Of course! Feb 23, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Celia Recarey wrote:
And, by the way, apparently 64.7% of the population are favourably disposed towards the promotion of the Basque language (only 11.2% are against it), which IMHO would indicate that they don't feel so "forced" to learn it as you may think.


Wouldn't you say that being "favourably disposed towards the promotion of the Basque language" has a different meaning that "favourable disposed towards banning Spanish as a teaching language in school"? I think there is quite a difference.


Of course, but I haven't mentioned anything of the kind. You are the one who says Spanish is "banned", not me...


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Livia Formisani  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:04
English to Italian
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Thank you Vito... Feb 24, 2009

For providing such interessant topics of discussion.

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