Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What does cheese have to do with preserving languages? | ABC Radio Australia
Three linguists liken saving endangered languages to preserving the variety of cheeses. Reclamation and maintainance of languages can result in cultural diversity and pride.
There are approximately 7,000 languages spoken worldwide today, but half of these languages are predicted to extinct by the end of this century. According to UNESCO experts, a language dies out every 14 days. The importance of preserving languages is the topic of discussion in this week's social segment with community linguist Vaso Elefsiniotis, Dr Simon Musgrave from the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University and the Chair of Endangered Languages from the University of Adelaide, Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One country, one language?

In Agent 6, by Tom Rob Smith (2011), Yates, an FBI agent in the 1950-70s to the right of Genghis Kahn, asks:

- What language is that?
- It is Dari.
- That what they speak in Afghanistan?
- One of several languages.
- Maybe that's why your country is in such a mess. A country should have one language. That's a problem we've got here: too many languages creeping in, confusing people. One country, one language - you'd be surprised at how upset people become when you suggest it. Seems pretty logical to me. [END QUOTE]

Seems pretty logical if you want mind control and behaviour control (and that is the business of government, religion, business and even cultures). Seems pretty illogical if you look at evolution, social and natural, which in fact sponsors diversity out of which grows creativity. Multi-lingualism does not have to sponsor conflict unless you are brutish, bigotted, obsessed with power, or you enjoy conflict and its spin-off benefits. Imposed monolingualism is part of dumb patriotism, utterly contrary to democratic education systems and societies which claim to encourage every student to find their own talents and interests, not to impose dull uniformity. Obstinate monolingualism is about fear and exploiting fear. It is a curable phobia though.