Thread: The Death of languages
#1 The Death of languages10-18-2009, 02:03 AM
By Tom Colls
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...00/8311069.stmStand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
10-18-2009, 02:09 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
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
Nah we won't all be speaking one language again.
10-18-2009, 02:17 AM
Whew! I'm safe. I don't speak any other language, and English is here for good! Let em go!
: It's all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits.
I wondered why the rock was getting larger. Then it hit me.
10-18-2009, 02:39 AM
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Southwest Michigan (in Exile)
time for doublethink and Newspeak
10-18-2009, 04:01 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
'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?
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.
James Hankins on Petrarch's view of language
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"
10-18-2009, 04:23 PM
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.
10-18-2009, 05:29 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
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 !
10-18-2009, 06:28 PM
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?
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