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PoliCon
10-18-2009, 01:03 AM
By Tom Colls
Today programme

An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. What is lost when a language dies?

. . . .

"Most people are not at all interested in the death of languages," he says. "If we are not cautious about the way English is progressing it may eventually kill most other languages."

According to Ethnologue, a US organisation that compiles a global database of languages, 473 languages are currently classified as endangered.

. . . .

"You've got smallest, weakest, least resourced communities trying to address the problem. And the larger communities are largely unaware of it," says Ethnologue editor Paul Lewis.

"We would spend an awful lot of money to preserve a very old building, because it is part of our heritage. These languages and cultures are equally part of our heritage and merit preservation."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8311000/8311069.stm

Rockntractor
10-18-2009, 01:09 AM
6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people,
and they all have the same language. And this is
what they began to do, and now nothing which they
purpose to do will be impossible for them."
7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their
language, that they may not understand one
another's speech."
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there
over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped
building the city.
9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because
there the LORD confused the language of the whole
earth; and from there the LORD scattered them
abroad over the face of the whole earth (Genesis
11:6-9 NAS).


Nah we won't all be speaking one language again.

PoliCon
10-18-2009, 01:13 AM
6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people,
and they all have the same language. And this is
what they began to do, and now nothing which they
purpose to do will be impossible for them."
7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their
language, that they may not understand one
another's speech."
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there
over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped
building the city.
9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because
there the LORD confused the language of the whole
earth; and from there the LORD scattered them
abroad over the face of the whole earth (Genesis
11:6-9 NAS).


Nah we won't all be speaking one language again.
Which prompts a rather interesting study into prophecy to see if there is anything to indicate a unification of language into rightspeak.

patriot45
10-18-2009, 01:17 AM
Whew! I'm safe. I don't speak any other language, and English is here for good! Let em go!

fettpett
10-18-2009, 01:39 AM
time for doublethink and Newspeak

peepin Sam
10-18-2009, 06:44 AM
time for doublethink and Newspeak

dont forget about internet speak, lol

djones520
10-18-2009, 07:00 AM
Natural selection. That's just the way of it.

NJCardFan
10-18-2009, 11:12 AM
I don't hear anyone weeping for Latin. IIRC the most spoken languages in the world are(in no order):

English
Mandarin
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Russian
Arabic
Hindi
Japanese

All have derivatives of themselves as well. But languages come and go and evolve. The English we speak isn't totally the same as the English spoken in the UK which isn't the same as the English spoken in Chaucer's time. There are several different styles of Spanish. And from French we get Creole. Does anyone speak Hebrew anymore outside of a synagogue?

Oh, and Doublespeak and Newspeak is already here.

hampshirebrit
10-18-2009, 02:02 PM
I don't hear anyone weeping for Latin. IIRC the most spoken languages in the world are(in no order):

English
Mandarin
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Russian
Arabic
Hindi
Japanese

All have derivatives of themselves as well. But languages come and go and evolve. The English we speak isn't totally the same as the English spoken in the UK which isn't the same as the English spoken in Chaucer's time. There are several different styles of Spanish. And from French we get Creole. Does anyone speak Hebrew anymore outside of a synagogue?

Oh, and Doublespeak and Newspeak is already here.

Good post, although Hebrew is widely spoken in Israel, and was at least partly resurrected from obscurity by Zionist activists prior to and as a part of the founding of the state. It was seldom spoken outside of synagogues until 1948, but is now one of the official languages of Israel ... in other words, it was rescued, and millions now speak it who otherwise would not have done.

It's also interesting to note that some hard core orthodox Jews have an issue with this, as they do not think it should be used at all outside of a religious context.

The usage and evolution of languages, and particularly our own English language, is of great interest to me. I think that all languages deserve, as a part of humanity, some respect and protection from both abuse and misuse.

megimoo
10-18-2009, 03:01 PM
I don't hear anyone weeping for Latin. IIRC the most spoken languages in the world are(in no order):

English
Mandarin
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Russian
Arabic
Hindi
Japanese

All have derivatives of themselves as well. But languages come and go and evolve. The English we speak isn't totally the same as the English spoken in the UK which isn't the same as the English spoken in Chaucer's time. There are several different styles of Spanish. And from French we get Creole. Does anyone speak Hebrew anymore outside of a synagogue?

Oh, and Doublespeak and Newspeak is already here.Try reading a little Nick Hudson !

'What Do Words Mean?'
Editor and publisher Nick Hudson ponders the changing meanings of words, such as gay, forensic, decimate and gourmand. Have these words acquired rich new meanings, or are they simply being used incorrectly?

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/ling/stories/s1058073.htm
......................................
When Latin was the Key to Success...
.........................................
Last week Nick Hudson recalled his first four years of Latin at prep school in England during the war years. At the time, Latin was the key to success: first at primary school, then, as Nick recalls in this program, at secondary school, university, and even beyond.
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/linguafranca/stories/2003/951822.htm



James Hankins on Petrarch's view of language
snip
Petrarch's belief in the ephemeral nature of Italian poetry seems paradoxical given his modern reputation, but it made perfect sense in the context of his time. In Petrarch's youth, after all, the vernacular languages of the Italian peninsula had been used for literary purposes for little more than a hundred years.

Literary Tuscan was barely fifty years old. The Tuscan dialect, like other Italian dialects, was still highly unstable from generation to generation, lacking as it did any authoritative grammars or dictionaries. Correct usage was uncertain, and there was only one canonical figure: Dante.

Moreover, the Tuscan language was well known only in an area of central Italy roughly the size of Massachusetts. Other parts of Italy had their own dialects: more than thirty major ones.

Outside of Italy Tuscan was known only among scattered colonies of traders. No, if an author hoped for a fame that could spread throughout the world and outlast his own time, he would have to write in Latin. Latin had already lasted more than a thousand years.

It had been the language of the most successful empire (Petrarch believed) the world had yet seen. It was the language of the Holy Church, founded by Jesus Christ and destined to last to the end of time. It was the tongue used in diplomacy, on inscriptions, and in permanent government records, and it was the medium of communication for all the learned professions: law, medicine, theology.

All science and all philosophy was written in Latin. University statutes required that it be spoken in classes and official meetings. Latin's timeless classics--the writings of Virgil, Horace, Cicero, Seneca, Sallust, Livy, Terence, and many others--were, and had always been, the basis of literary education in Christendom.

Latin stood for all that was noble and civilized. The vernacular speech, by contrast, despite Dante's attempt to "ennoble" it, was all too close to the loose, gabbling talk of ordinary people. It stank of the street and the shop. It was impossible to use with precision and elegance. Or so most people thought in Petrarch's time.

Petrarch believed he would have to write in Latin to secure immortal fame, but the times were hardly propitious for the man who wished to make a reputation as a writer of great Latin prose or poetry. The Latin-speakers in the late medieval world Petrarch inhabited--lawyers, doctors, clergy, bureaucrats--spoke an efficient but flat and graceless jargon that he hated.

It was full of ugly technical terms of recent coinage; its sentences were flaccid and broken-backed. It lacked the syntactical and lexical richness that permitted one to express intimately one's mind and heart. Like many Italians, Petrarch believed that the refined and civilized speech of the Romans had been corrupted by contact with barbarians from the North such as the Gauls and the Germans. Even Italian, after centuries of barbarian invasion, had turned clumsy, distorted, opaque.

Petrarch longed to master the language the ancient Romans had spoken: copious, precise, lapidary; grave and elegant by turns. Latin had once been an imperial language, a language of timeless beauty, spoken by beings of superior wisdom and virtue.

It was a language bursting with potency, able to fire cold hearts and elevate base spirits. That language was now lost. If, as Petrarch and his followers hoped, the strength and civilization of the ancient Romans could have a second birth, that Renaissance would have to begin with a rebirth of the Latin language. A renewal of the ancestral language and literature of Italy was the key to the return of her ancient greatness.

Source: James Hankins: "A Lost Continent of Literature"
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/itatti/neolatin_lit.html

http://www.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/ren-pet-hankins.htm

hampshirebrit
10-18-2009, 03:23 PM
Try reading a little Nick Hudson !


How about you tell us what YOU think, what YOUR opinion is, instead of you making us read your selected regurgitations of other people's work over and over and over again.

Believe it or not, we would be far more interested in seeing what YOU think than seeing the endless repetition of other people's thoughts that we can easily read elsewhere on the big bad internet.

Sorry to seem harsh here, but on a discussion board such as this, surely original thought should be considered king. No reason why you should not then post supporting evidence to back your view up, but it should indeed be the support, and not the main act.

When people post, I am interested only in their opinion. Anything else is like having to watch the thirtieth repeat of a worn-out sitcom.

megimoo
10-18-2009, 04:29 PM
How about you tell us what YOU think, what YOUR opinion is, instead of you making us read your selected regurgitations of other people's work over and over and over again.

Believe it or not, we would be far more interested in seeing what YOU think than seeing the endless repetition of other people's thoughts that we can easily read elsewhere on the big bad internet.

Sorry to seem harsh here, but on a discussion board such as this, surely original thought should be considered king. No reason why you should not then post supporting evidence to back your view up, but it should indeed be the support, and not the main act.

When people post, I am interested only in their opinion. Anything else is like having to watch the thirtieth repeat of a worn-out sitcom.

Why in the world would you object to my reference to some great writers works ?

Are you so slow that it hasn't dawned on you that my recommendations of someones writings aren't indicative of my admiration and agreement with what they have written ?You must be confused as to my reason for posting a particular piece .For your edification what you desire in my postings as to content or style are of little interest to me.

You seem to have a dictatorial bent to me and can be counted on to vehemently critique and ridicule any content you disagree with without allowing others here to read and voice their own opinions.

Are you incapable of allowing others to judge for themselves without your boorish outbursts in the background.Your European Cosmopolitan insights are of little consequence in this country and your world views are Euro slanted and your Parochial Attitudes Archaic.

Perhaps you should host your own domain and dictate the content and style to suite youself !

hampshirebrit
10-18-2009, 05:28 PM
Why in the world would you object to my reference to some great writers works ?

Are you so slow that it hasn't dawned on you that my recommendations of someones writings aren't indicative of my admiration and agreement with what they have written ?You must be confused as to my reason for posting a particular piece .For your edification what you desire in my postings as to content or style are of little interest to me.

You seem to have a dictatorial bent to me and can be counted on to vehemently critique and ridicule any content you disagree with without allowing others here to read and voice their own opinions.

Are you incapable of allowing others to judge for themselves without your boorish outbursts in the background.Your European Cosmopolitan insights are of little consequence in this country and your world views are Euro slanted and your Parochial Attitudes Archaic.

Perhaps you should host your own domain and dictate the content and style to suite youself !





Not at all. I'm not trying to dictate to you at all. All I want is for you to, as you put it "voice your own opinion", rather than burping up someone else's all the time.

I just want to see the real Megimoo's thoughts, expressed in the real Megimoo's original words. To "suite" you, not me. I'd far rather you "suite" yourself, rather than trying to play to what you think the gallery is, merely by quoting other people.

I may or may not agree with it, but I'd rather debate you, rather than, by proxy, someone else. The people you are fond of quoting are hardly likely to reply here, are they?

It would be good if your worldview would also be delivered in understandable English, in a grammatically recognizable form, but that's a secondary gripe, probably way too much to ask for, and so I'll settle for just original.

You may be right about my world views, but they are at least mine, original, or at the least expressed in my own words, whereas your words are seldom your own.

I can't disagree with your point of view ... how could I, since you never really express it here.

All I'm asking for is original thought, backed up by whatever you see fit to back it up with, the first always, the second, not always, and never first.

Is this really too much to ask?

bflavin
10-19-2009, 02:56 AM
I don't hear anyone weeping for Latin. IIRC the most spoken languages in the world are(in no order):

English
Mandarin
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Russian
Arabic
Hindi
Japanese

All have derivatives of themselves as well. But languages come and go and evolve. The English we speak isn't totally the same as the English spoken in the UK which isn't the same as the English spoken in Chaucer's time. There are several different styles of Spanish. And from French we get Creole. Does anyone speak Hebrew anymore outside of a synagogue?

Oh, and Doublespeak and Newspeak is already here.

Latin isn't dead just yet. It's still the official language of the Vatican.

Hell, I can speak a little Latin. Most of it has been learned at church, but still...

linda22003
10-19-2009, 08:01 AM
How about you tell us what YOU think, what YOUR opinion is, instead of you making us read your selected regurgitations of other people's work over and over and over again.

Believe it or not, we would be far more interested in seeing what YOU think than seeing the endless repetition of other people's thoughts that we can easily read elsewhere on the big bad internet.

Sorry to seem harsh here, but on a discussion board such as this, surely original thought should be considered king. No reason why you should not then post supporting evidence to back your view up, but it should indeed be the support, and not the main act.

When people post, I am interested only in their opinion. Anything else is like having to watch the thirtieth repeat of a worn-out sitcom.

You used the term "original thought" in a post to Megimoo? Had you not had sufficient coffee yet?

linda22003
10-19-2009, 08:02 AM
It would be good if your worldview would also be delivered in understandable English, in a grammatically recognizable form

Now you're REALLY reaching for the moon! :eek:

linda22003
10-19-2009, 08:03 AM
Latin isn't gone. Like the person mentioned in a previous post, I also had four years of it at prep school. It really does help with other languages, and with the reasons for the construction of your own.

Gingersnap
10-19-2009, 10:13 AM
Languages are no different from any other human activity; they change, die, or get resurrected depending on the interests of the people willing to use them. Latin is alive and well because it no longer changes in response to transitory social inputs. That's a handy quality if you expect to compare current arguments and observations with those made 1000 years ago. Languages spoken by a dozen rural farmers die out because they are no longer useful to any living speakers other than academics.

Language isn't art (a comparison the article attempts to make). Language is a tool and its practical function far outweighs any aesthetic considerations. Worrying about minority languages when the speakers themselves are making no attempt to find value in the language is kind of pointless.

One of my dear friends is a professor and his specialty is Yiddish theater. He is not ethnically Jewish although he did convert to Reform Judaism. Almost no actual Jews are interested in Yiddish theater anymore. American Jews no longer need Yiddish and few can speak it. Fewer still attempt to entertain in it. This depresses my friend who has tried everything short of bribery to interest students in Yiddish.

linda22003
10-19-2009, 10:18 AM
American Jews no longer need Yiddish and few can speak it. Fewer still attempt to entertain in it. This depresses my friend who has tried everything short of bribery to interest students in Yiddish.

There is a fellow in New England who is building a library of Yiddish works; he has saved many from destruction when old Jewish people die and their kids just want to toss these books that they can't understand.
I was telling my husband about it; he remembers his parents and grandparents speaking some Yiddish at home, but he says, "Of course it's dying out! It's what the grownups spoke when they didn't want the kids to undestand what they were talking about!" :p

Gingersnap
10-19-2009, 10:40 AM
There is a fellow in New England who is building a library of Yiddish works; he has saved many from destruction when old Jewish people die and their kids just want to toss these books that they can't understand.

I was telling my husband about it; he remembers his parents and grandparents speaking some Yiddish at home, but he says, "Of course it's dying out! It's what the grownups spoke when they didn't want the kids to undestand what they were talking about!" :p

My friend is very pessimistic about the whole thing. For him, he sees it as the end of an entire culture (and it is). However, if the grandparents can't communicate the value to their children, I see little hope for it. People seem to fear being identified with a subculture today unless it's one of the trendy subcultures.

Last Samurai
11-01-2009, 02:11 PM
I would rather like to see Eubonics go into the dust bin of unused languages..... but that's just me.

LS

PoliCon
11-01-2009, 03:21 PM
I would rather like to see Eubonics go into the dust bin of unused languages..... but that's just me.

LS

yea - trouble is - most of it's been around for ages. Take the use of AX for ask - that little pearl of language can be traced back to medieval England.

hampshirebrit
11-01-2009, 03:24 PM
yea - trouble is - most of it's been around for ages. Take the use of AX for ask - that little pearl of language can be traced back to medieval England.

I didn't know that. Interesting.

I'm arksin if you have any references for that, innit.

PoliCon
11-01-2009, 03:28 PM
I didn't know that. Interesting.

I'm arksin if you have any references for that, innit.

WHITE REDNECKS & BLACK LIBERALS by Thomas Sowell.

hampshirebrit
11-01-2009, 03:35 PM
WHITE REDNECKS & BLACK LIBERALS by Thomas Sowell.

Thanks, Poli. That looks like an interesting read. Would you mind quoting the relevant section, if you have the book to hand. I have often wondered about the etymology of aks v ask. I have quite a few black friends who routinely use this variant in spoken form, and none of them has been able to tell me what the origin of the variant is.

PoliCon
11-01-2009, 03:40 PM
Thanks, Poli. That looks like an interesting read. Would you mind quoting the relevant section, if you have the book to hand. I have often wondered about the etymology of aks v ask. I have quite a few black friends who routinely use this variant in spoken form, and none of them has been able to tell me what the origin of the variant is.

Sorry - I lent my copy out. :(

hampshirebrit
11-01-2009, 03:49 PM
Sorry - I lent my copy out. :(

No worries. This sort of thing is exactly what Jesus invented the internet for:

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19991216

Sam Sherwood wrote:
There is a guy in my office who has a heavy southern accent and he says "ax" instead of "ask". When questioned he claims it's a regional pronunciation (Mississippi area), but I don't understand this since it sounds to me more like a regional mispronunciation. There is also a man in my office from the Bahamas and he too says "ax." Can you explain?
Thank you for asking (aksing) this question.

While the pronunciation /aks/ for ask is not considered standard, it is a very common regional pronunciation with a long history. The Old English verb áscian underwent a normal linguistic process called metathesis sometime in the 14th century. Metathesis is what occurs when two sounds or syllables switch places in a word. This happens all the time in spoken language (think nuclear pronounced as /nukular/ and asterisk pronounced as /asteriks/).