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Poll: Which state-funded initiative for the protection of minority languages is most cost-effective?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:51
SITE STAFF
Jun 30, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which state-funded initiative for the protection of minority languages is most cost-effective?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have no idea! Jun 30, 2017

There are no minority languages in PortugaI except for Mirandese (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirandese_language), which is spoken by some 9,000 people in a small area of the Northeast. I don’t think there is a state-funded initiative for the protection of this minority language.

At the European level, the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL) was set up in 1982 to promote linguistic diversity. It was discontinued in 2010 (for financial reasons) and replaced by the European Language Equality Network (ELEN) which gathers most of the former EBLUL members plus many more CSOs from across Europe. It represents 44 languages with 60 member organizations in 20 European states.

The Council of Europe also adopted in 1992 a European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages for the protection and promotion of languages used by traditional minorities.

I also know that the European Parliament has an Intergroup for Regional and Minority Languages, composed of MEPs belonging to different minorities.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
No idea Jun 30, 2017

However, speaking of minority languages, last night I went to pick up my new backup computer and my tech guy and his wife were telling me they recently had to change their children from a state school to a private school here in order for them to be able to keep learning Castilian Spanish. In the Valencia region of Spain, the regional language is apparently being promoted to the severe detriment of Castilian Spanish. Both parents were really upset about it and his wife went into such an impassioned rant that in the end I had to run out of the door mid-sentence, mumbling goodbyes and clutching my PC...

(NB: This is a true story.)
For anyone who's interested, here's a link to an article on the issue (in Spanish) from a local rag:
http://www.lasprovincias.es/valencia/20080628/opinion/peligro-extincion-20080628.html

[Edited at 2017-06-30 09:20 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Genocide Jun 30, 2017

Here in Wales this is something of a hot potato, and I have come to the conclusion that the only way to save the language is a full-on final solution: expel or exterminate the English vermin and close the borders.

The fact that 4/5 of the native Welsh population don't speak Welsh either is by the by.


 

Nicolas Roussel  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 04:51
Member (2011)
English to French


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Create content Jun 30, 2017

Why not create quality new content, whether written or audio/video and expose the speaking population to it. They will love it. Create videos for the kids and educative material for adults based on the actual needs of the community.

[Edited at 2017-06-30 10:13 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
What's a minority language? Jun 30, 2017

A few days ago I had trouble connecting to a hotel WiFi in the north of England, and finally took my laptop down to the friendly receptionist to ask for help.

'No problem,' she said, 'Do you want me to do it for you?'

I pushed it over to her, and gave her my e-mail address.

'HELP! Ican't find @ !!'

Try the alt.gr. key and 2, I suggested.

'It's got funny symbols on it!'

No way was she going to mess with this weird device... just a common or garden HP, intel inside, but mine has a Danish keyboard... She called the service desk to ask if it was at all possible, and got them to talk me through it!

Admittedly the population of Denmark is only 5.5 million, and many of the younger generation speak Danglish - a sort of creole that prefers long Latin words and bullshit bingo instead of time-honoured Danish expressions. Real Danish is getting to be a minority language too.

Attempts at teaching the language in schools are often unsuccessful, because many of the teachers are from a generation that thinks grammar inhibits expression...

Getting the actors to speak audibly in Danish television series would probably help. Many of the older generation have to wait for the English versions of The Killing, The Bridge and the rest - and I'm not kidding!!

Back in the day, we thought Kingdom Hospital was much funnier in Danish...

I have no idea what would really help, but in the current political climate, I fear it is not going to happen anyway.


 

Katrin Tao
France
Local time: 21:51
Member (2017)
French to German
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Help parents teach their children! Jun 30, 2017

Clearly it's parents who should speak to their children in these regional/ minority languages they have learnt during their own childhood. It is part of their identity.
So states should help parents teaching their children and other children whose parents don't speak that language.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
German to English
no idea Jun 30, 2017

But if I was living in Wales, I would most certainly learn Welsh. If you go to the north of Wales, you would more likely have to learn Polish though☺
When I lived in Swaziland as a child, I learned Siswati and Afrikaans next to English.

I cannot imagine what this question should lead to though?

[Edited at 2017-06-30 11:42 GMT]


 

Toni Faisal  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 03:51
Member (2017)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Cultural events (arts festivals etc), Minority-language news media, medium education, literature Jun 30, 2017

In Indonesia, we have many races include their own languages. You could find tens to hundreds in each islands. Even in one province you could find at least two types or more of local languages. And those languages are very important to be taught for the young generations, so they will not forgot about their mother tongue languages (which is very important for their culture and history) before speaking Indonesian or foreign languages. Even all locals have their own newspaper and other medias like radios which also have a local language program and also local languages are additional subject at school. Most of Indonesian speaks at least two languages (local language and Indonesian).

I am very proud that some of local languages of Indonesian like Balinese, Minangnese, Javanese, etc. already protected by UNDL (a language foundation which founded by University of United Nation/Japan) which based in Geneva, Switzerland.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
State-funded Jun 30, 2017

In most of the "minority-language" areas in the US the state doesn't do much of anything to preserve these languages. The people are doing it themselves, often donation-based. They are teaching their languages to their children in a social environment that includes traditions, art, dances, everything important to and for their nations.

@ Christine

Your story is a perfect example of being lost in (keyword) translation.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Toni Faisal  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 03:51
Member (2017)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Absolutely agree with you, Katrin. That also happens in Indonesia. Jun 30, 2017

Katrin Tao wrote:

Clearly it's parents who should speak to their children in these regional/ minority languages they have learnt during their own childhood. It is part of their identity.
So states should help parents teaching their children and other children whose parents don't speak that language.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:51
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I have absolutely no idea Jun 30, 2017

Anonymous must be on magic mushrooms today.
Either this, or Anonymous is a bureaucrat who works in a tiny cubby hole and lives on a short thread and a per diem of 30 cups of coffee a day.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
German to English
Hu? Jun 30, 2017

Julian Holmes wrote:

Anonymous must be on magic mushrooms today.
Either this, or Anonymous is a bureaucrat who works in a tiny cubby hole and lives on a short thread and a per diem of 30 cups of coffee a day.


A government official?


 

Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
I totally agree withn Katrin Jun 30, 2017

When you learn a 'minority language' from your grandma, as was my case, you never forget it.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Protection vs. preservation Jul 1, 2017

While languages are best preserved by handing them down through families, unless there is official protection, they are still vulnerable to dying out.

To protect a language, the first step is to have it officially recognized as a national language. Without official recognition, the effort is severely hampered. There are degrees of official recognition, from the Canadian model in which all government proceedings are bilingual, down to much less comprehensive forms of protection, as with Guaraní in Paraguay.

Perhaps a newspaper with current events and feature articles would be the most cost-effective, available in hard copy and online. It would provide a regular stream of information in the language that would consistently hold people's attention. TV might be even better, but more costly.

Next in importance, IMO, would be classes given in the language as part of the national education program. They would target the next generation and help to minimize self-consciousness about speaking the language.

Offering access to state services in the language has the benefit of reaching out to more people, but I don't think it would be a major contributor to protecting or preserving the language.

While translating literature in the language would engage people not familiar with the language, I think the initial focus should be on capturing the people's oral history in the language itself.

Festivals and other cultural events are very important for recognition of the culture, building pride, and bonding, but they are forgotten during the rest of the year. What is needed is a widely available ongoing officially recognized presence of the language.


 
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