[Foundation-l] Preservation of cultural diversity and minority languages
daniwo59 at aol.com
daniwo59 at aol.com
Sat Feb 9 22:53:44 UTC 2008
In a message dated 2/9/2008 1:26:05 PM Eastern Standard Time,
gerard.meijssen at gmail.com writes:
When you speak multiple languages, there are things you can express really
well in one but not in another language. The notion that all languages are
equal is wrong. Consequently there are no "perfect" sub or supersets of
languages. When you state that "we should" I would prefer that you speak for
yourself because I do not feel included and I could not disagree with you
I have to agree with Gerard here, and I say that as someone who is
completely bilingual, and who has translated for a living. There is a level of comfort
and familiarity you have with one languages that you do not have with
another., based on how and where you use the language. For instance, I can take
apart a rifle in Hebrew, but I have no idea what the same parts are in English.
Nor is this just anecdotal. Linguists and social anthropologists talk about
code-switching between languages, often mid-sentence, a phenomenon anyone who
grew up in a bilingual home is familiar with. I once did work on a study of
this among elderly Tunisian Jewish immigrant women in Israel--it was
interesting because they came to Israel speaking both French (in formal, communal
situations) and Arabic (in more casual, home-related situations), then added
Hebrew to the mix--what the researcher tried to do was to identify the language
shifts as the women gave oral histories of their immigration experience.
To quote from Wikipedia itself, "Even if someone is highly proficient in two
or more languages, his so-called communicative competence or ability may not
be as balanced." (see [[Multilingualism]]). Essentially, to identify
bilingualism with equivalent linguistic competence is simply not based in fact.
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