On 19.09.2010 13:01, Marcus Buck wrote:
An'n 19.09.2010 11:32, hett Mark Williamson
We have heard this type of criticism before, that
varieties or languages that are not "official" or "national"
are somehow intrinsically incapable or unsuited to encyclopedic
writing. Article quality on a Wiki is not high or low due to some
intrinsic characteristic or trait of the language variety used, it is
a result of the content not being well-developed. Also, many languages
in a relatively small territory does not mean living in a ghetto; on
the contrary, count how many national languages there are in Europe,
then count how many across all of Latin America, then take a look at
economic indicators and you'll see that there is no necessary
correlation between linguistic diversity and poverty.
Estonian is a nice example. There are only 1.25 million speakers of
Estonian. That's a rather low number. Less than the speaker numbers of
most of the Italian tongues Eco is talking about (Piedmontese has 2
million, Sicilian even 8 million). But the Estonian-speaking society is
in no way inferior to other societies. If Siclian or Piedmontese were
not suppressed by the Italian standard language and were allowed to
establish their own education systems there would be no problem. There
would be no "ghettoization".
The example of Eco is a little bit complex.
In few words: an article about philosophy written in a dialect has not
the same value of another written in a standard language.
It is normal because any standard language has different registers, the
dialect has limited registers and in general only for daily and familiar
The synthesis is in one sentence "Infatti il dialetto, ottimo per il
comico, il familiare, il concreto quotidiano, il
nostalgico-sentimentale, e spesso il poetico, alle nostre orecchie
deprime i contenuti concettuali nati e sviluppatisi in altra lingua"
which can be translated "The dialect, excellent for the funny, the
homely things, the daily use, the nostalgic memories, and frequently for
poetry, lowers in our understanding the conceptual contents born and
developed in other language".
It seems to me normal.
The standard Italian has had eight centuries to become the current
standard language, and the Latin has been used in Italy for a lot of
time to write scientific and philosophical books (and it is still used
for ecclesiastic matters).
I understand the position of Eco because for eight centuries no language
has been ghettoized in Italy, if the Italian standard is used as
"super-language" probably there is a reason.
The process for a dialect to be a language is long and complex.
In the opposite side the Italian standard is not suitable for familiar
language: it's a "standard" and aseptic language without
If a dialect would be a language, probably it should accept to lose the
wealth of words and expressions for daily communication.
It is what happened for Rumantsch Grischun and Limba Sarda who are
"artificial" super-languages not used in the families or in the group of
friends, but at the same time so weak to clash the expansion of more
common standard languages.