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Thread: Protecting the Diversity of Languages

  1. #1
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    Protecting the Diversity of Languages

    Many people know that protecting the diversity of living beings is a great factor in protecting the balance of our environment; but few people are aware that the diversity of languages is of the same importance as the diversity of living beings, because each language represents a national culture. As a language is a carrier of culture, its disappearance means the disappearance of a national culture and tradition. The disappearance of a language is of the same importance as the disappearance of a species of living beings. In any geographical region where there are many different living beings,there are many different languages.

    Today, the whole world is being gravely affected by economic globalization. English, a national language which has only 380 million native speakers, is wrongly learned and used in many countries as a dominating language, supported by the economic and technological advantages of the USA, the UK and other countries. The wide use of English inhibits the development of other national languages and is now causing the failure and disappearance of the languages of small and weak nations.

    In conditions of economic globalization exchanges between nations have become increasingly common. Surely there is a need for an international language that is learned easily and does not harm any country. This language should not be a national one. Why?

    Firstly, because using a national language as an international one brings advantages for the nation concerned but disadvantages for others.

    Secondly, because national languages are formed over a long period and include many irregular and illogical features. They are difficult to learn. For example, the pronunciation and spelling of many English words are not the same; there are a lot of irregular verbs and idioms which must be memorized one by one.

    So, although many people learn English, only a few people know it well because of the difficulty of learning it; but what language should be an international one?

    An international language should be:

    Neutral, belonging to every nation and easy for every nation to learn. Perfectly logical, with accurate construction, without exception, unifying oral and written language, spelling and pronunciation. Have the capacity of expressing subtle differences of meaning, and be translatable into any national language.

    For solving the problem of an international language many variants of planned languages have been created, among which Esperanto, published by a Polish oculist, Zamenhof, in 1887, has the most influence and value; but a modern view is that Esperanto has two obvious shortcomings:

    One is that there are 6 letters with diacritical marks, which cannot be typed on a computer easily.

    Another is that about 70% of Esperanto root-words came from Latin languages, which is too big a percentage. Today, more and more people are learning English, so an international language should contain more English roots.

    To overcome these shortcomings, linguists have made great efforts and suggested different variants. Mondlango, created by Chinese linguists, was born in July 2002. Many people consider that Mondlango has inherited the advantages of Esperanto, yet overcomes its shortcomings.

    Mondlango is a neutral international language; it doesn't overwhelm or displace any national language, but promotes the development of national languages. Each person uses his or her national language in his or her country, but uses Mondlango in international cases. So we needn't worry that the national language concerned will be pushed aside by mankind or vanish.

    Therefore, promotion of Mondlango will not only facilitate the interchange of information, but also protect national cultures, conserving and enriching our multilingual world-culture, so that our global village will be more prosperous and multicolored.

  2. #2
    Drama Queen Koa's Avatar
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    Is English really 'destroying' other national languages? Can't it be just a second language, used for necessity by people who normally use their own native language? (as it is for me... I must admit that, using the internet so much, mostly in English, I've learnt it much better than all the other languages I'm learning, but it's not making me forget my native language!) I'm aware that in some countries this can be more problematic (I'm thinking of Africa where English is a colonial language and there are lots of minorities with different langauges...and cultures...).

    Personally, I'm not fond of artificial langauges, like Esperanto... I cna't help finding them dry, cold... I don't like the idea that they have been 'created', not developed, and the fact that they don't imply any cultural view, that you describe as an advanatge if I understand, is for me negative aspect.
    Moreover, I think that with use, these languages would end up carrying cultural views as any other langauges does...

    If you are interested in these subjects, you might want to check this other thread in another forum (from the languages community www.unilang.org):
    http://unilang.bsd-fr.org/forum/******/viewtopic.php?t=1336
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  3. #3
    My French exchange student once said this to me:

    'What do you call someone who speaks three languages?

    Trilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks two languages?

    Bilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks one language?

    Monolingual?

    No, an American!'

    Heh, that little bastard Frenchy. One of these days I'm gonna . . .

  4. #4
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    I like to think that language isn't something that you can control, or neither try to, or invent and condition, and so it should be left to warp and morph as it suits society, whether national or global. If language can be controlled so efficiently I'd hate to think how easy it would be for the powers that be to control our minds, because language is a shaping factor to how we think.

    I live in a monolingual and increasingly American-speaking country, so I am inexperienced with places where most people speak two or more languages, but the idea of an international language seems unrealistic and plastic.

  5. #5
    Drama Queen Koa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
    My French exchange student once said this to me:

    'What do you call someone who speaks three languages?

    Trilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks two languages?

    Bilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks one language?

    Monolingual?

    No, an American!'

    Heh, that little bastard Frenchy. One of these days I'm gonna . . .
    LOL...It's quite a common kind of joke outside of the USA I'd dare say...
    (not that in this prehistorical country we're much better...you either have a passion for languages or you speak English like 'I...is...Italian...Me called X... I likes this'...etc...)
    --------

    but the idea of an international language seems unrealistic and plastic.
    I agree...that's what i was trying to say in a much more confused way.
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    Questions and Answers of Mondlango

    Q: What will the world be like when all people speak the same language?

    A: We are not proposing a single language, we are proposing that people adopt a second language. Which means we won't have to learn three, four or more languages. We'll simply learn the International language which will be the common language, the real bridge for people of different countries. People would only have to learn the international language apart from their own native languages. As a consequence, less prominent languages, whose limited reach might lead to their disappearance, would be saved from extinction.

    Q: A country where the percentage of people understanding English is high, is more modernized. Is this true?

    A: No! Some countries, such as India, Pakistan, and Nigeria , as former colonies of UK , use English as their official language, but they aren't highly modernized. On the other hand, Japan, Germany , and Sweden , which do not use English as official language, are highly modernized.

    Q: But isn't Mondlango an artificial language?

    A: Of course it is. So is every language in the world. The word "artificial" means "made by human beingsˇ±, and every language has been created by human beings. The difference between national and artificial languages is that a national language is not made scientifically , but has many irregularities and unreasonable factors, whereas an artificial language is constructed systematically and scientifically, absorbing the good points and removing the shortcomings of national languages. In fact, Indonesian is a constructed language made by a Dutch missionary in the 1920s on the basis of synthesizing some local languages. Now this language has become the national language of Indonesia , used by more than one hundred million people. Mondlango is constructed also by synthesizing Indo-European languages such as English, French, Spanish , etc.

  7. #7
    Wasn't the idea of an artificial second language already proposed? It was called Logban (pronounced 'Lohj-bahn') if I remember correctly. Anyway, silly idea if you ask me.

  8. #8
    Drama Queen Koa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kulturo
    . We'll simply learn the International language which will be the common language, the real bridge for people of different countries. People would only have to learn the international language apart from their own native languages.
    Glad to see that learning 3, 4, 5 languages is considered like some heavy cross to bear. *sighs* :evil:
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    Originally posted by kulturo:

    English, a national language which has only 380 million native speakers, is wrongly learned and used in many countries as a dominating language, supported by the economic and technological advantages of the USA, the UK and other countries. The wide use of English inhibits the development of other national languages and is now causing the failure and disappearance of the languages of small and weak nations.
    I find the reference to 'a national language' and 'only 380 million native speakers'. It's the (or a) national language of many countries. 380 million native speakers isn't a negligible number - and I'd have thought the obvious comparison was was Spanish, except for the fact that the English-speaking lands include many very properous countries.

    I know many other languages are merrily adopting a wide range of words and phrases from English, but that's just of one those things. After all, in the past there was a zest for importing French words.

    How does the widespread 'use of English [inhibit] the development of other national languages'? As for lanuagues that are disappearing, I hope nobody is suggesting that the native speakers be made to lead a museum-type existence.

  10. #10
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    How does the widespread 'use of English [inhibit] the development of other national languages'?
    I agree with Kaka. English has absorbed an amazing amount of words from all languages over its thousand and a half years. This has been a strength of English. We have the largest vocabulary, and, if I may be partial to my own language, the greatest flexibility and precision of expression because of it. So, if other languages are importing words from elsewhere that will only strengthen their language, not weaken it. Words aren't being displaced. Vocabularies are being enlarged.
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  11. #11
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    i also can't help but feel that adopting a calculated and reasoned language will eventually remove us even further from our various cultural identities. it seems too much like a forced step, rather than the natural evolution of language that kaka and virgil have identified. our languages are rich and in need of preservation because of their essential links to our histories and cultures. while i understand the fear of a linguistic (and therefore cultural?) hegemony i think that english has largely escaped the bad points through its capacity to incorporate words (and thus feelings/influence) from other languages.
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  12. #12
    I have nothing against maintaining cultural diversity through language -- in fact, I wish I spoke more languages than just English and Spanish -- but there is an ugly controversy brewing in the U.S. over this issue.

    The bone of contention is Hispanic residents refusing to learn English and demanding that their children receive Spanish instruction in public schools. A subsidiary issue is non-Hispanic people being forced to learn Spanish in order to get jobs in Hispanic areas.

    I think English should be the official language in the U.S. and everyone who lives here should learn it and use it for education, business, etc. Which language is spoken at home is a matter to be decided by the individuals involved.

    When I traveled to foreign countries, I always made an effort to speak the local language. I thought of it as a common courtesy as a tourist. Therefore, I don't think it's too much to expect immigrants to learn English if they live in the U.S.

    I realize English is becoming so pervasive in the world, especially as the language of business, that it threatens to eclipse other languages. I don't want to see that happen, but I think it's up to each group to maintain their own language diversity in spite of this trend. Bashing English as a semi-colonial intrusion is not the solution.

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