T Nation

Chirac Reaffirms His Idiocy

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Most languages are dying out pretty rapidly, in a historical context. I’d guess that in a few hundred years, our decendents will speak some blend of English, Mandarin, and Spanish. Those that refuse due to ‘cultural reasons’ will find themselves marginalized and relegated to the ‘backwaters’ of whatever society then exists.[/quote]

You’re kidding right?

Dutch is my first language. It’s spoken bij about 25 million people. Those are real millions, with 6 zero’s.
Most people here speak a second, or even third or fourth language like English, French, German, …
But no way is the Dutch language going to be extinct. Not in a couple of centuries anyway.

English is the dominant language atm for international relations, like Latin was centuries ago. And if you wonder why the Chinese didn’t speak Latin, that’s because the Chinese weren’t important then. The world ended at Europes borders. Kinda like the situation you live in now.

Anyway, English is used for international relations. For instance, if a German wants to talk to an Italian, they’ll probably talk English. That doesn’t mean they’ll keep talking English. They’ll switch back to their native language when speaking to their wife and kids.

And especially for Zap, don’t you remember the “incident” when Bush rediculed a US reporter for asking Chirac a question in French?

Please, explain to me how this is different.

[quote]danmaftei wrote:
It’s true that pride is the issue on both sides, but the pride that many Americans have when they jump on other countries for not adopting the English language is more than pride, it’s nationalism, it’s egotistical, perhaps narcissistic. I have nothing wrong with the pride smaller countries have for not wanting their language obliterated though…

But again, what alternative is there…? If more and more people adopt English as a second language, I only hope they will retain their native tongue with all their fucking heart. I love America, I think it’s a great country, but I wouldn’t want it to take over other cultures.

And of course you knew about Romania, you’re intelligent, the rest of the population isn’t. =P

I’m curious though, what do you know about Romania? Most people, if they know of it, think of orphans and our girl’s gymnastics team.[/quote]

transylvania!

Multiple languages dont really go over well. Eventually one takes over. English will take you farther in the world. If it works perfectly fine in Romania, why would you retain romanian? You wouldn’t unless the government did everything it could to preserve it(ala france).

[quote]danmaftei wrote:
I’m curious though, what do you know about Romania? Most people, if they know of it, think of orphans and our girl’s gymnastics team.[/quote]

I think of an ex-classmate who said she was from there. We were just short of actually “getting to know each other”. I guess Romania to me will always be dreams of what could have been.

Diomede, it’s a matter of pride, as Prof said. Maybe pride for one’s country or culture is an antique idea, but I want to retain my identity as a Romanian, and with that comes our language.

What if French became the most widely spoken language in the world. Would you give up English?

Prof, tell me truly now, was she hot? Because I have this biased opinion that Romanian girls are the hottest. They also seem to age really well.

[quote]danmaftei wrote:

Prof, tell me truly now, was she hot? [/quote]

I still have the second degree burn scars.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Most languages are dying out pretty rapidly, in a historical context. I’d guess that in a few hundred years, our decendents will speak some blend of English, Mandarin, and Spanish. Those that refuse due to ‘cultural reasons’ will find themselves marginalized and relegated to the ‘backwaters’ of whatever society then exists.

You’re kidding right?

Dutch is my first language. It’s spoken bij about 25 million people. Those are real millions, with 6 zero’s.
Most people here speak a second, or even third or fourth language like English, French, German, …
But no way is the Dutch language going to be extinct. Not in a couple of centuries anyway.

English is the dominant language atm for international relations, like Latin was centuries ago. And if you wonder why the Chinese didn’t speak Latin, that’s because the Chinese weren’t important then. The world ended at Europes borders. Kinda like the situation you live in now.

Anyway, English is used for international relations. For instance, if a German wants to talk to an Italian, they’ll probably talk English. That doesn’t mean they’ll keep talking English. They’ll switch back to their native language when speaking to their wife and kids.

And especially for Zap, don’t you remember the “incident” when Bush rediculed a US reporter for asking Chirac a question in French?

Please, explain to me how this is different.[/quote]

Well, I googled ‘Languages becoming extinct’ and got about 6000 entries. Seems to me I read a full article on this in Scientific American (while waiting for the ‘rubber glove’ man :).

Anyway, minor languages, like Romanian (just kidding) will die out as they blend into the major languages. Then the majors blend and, in several centuries, most everyone speaks this ‘blend’ of English, Mandarin, and Spanish. I remember this in particular because my daughter is Chinese and it piqued my interest.

Was this before or after the “Y-chromosome becomes extinct” article?
And the “blonde people will become extinct” article?

Just trying to put it into perspective… :wink:

[quote]Diomede wrote:

transylvania!

Multiple languages dont really go over well. Eventually one takes over. English will take you farther in the world. If it works perfectly fine in Romania, why would you retain romanian? You wouldn’t unless the government did everything it could to preserve it(ala france).[/quote]

If you learn another language, you learn another way of seeing the world…

In some languages things have a gender in others they don?t, the sun is male in french, the moon female, in german it is the other way around.

The Latin aplativ has somehow found it?s way into german and english, even though the grammar used is different.

Japanese seems to be a language using mainly the infinitive and somehow they replace grammar with voice modulation? If someone speaks Japanese please explain where I got it wrong, lol…

Every language has a unique way of describing the world, which makes it unlikely anyone will just give up the language he grew up with…

Lol Headhunter, you’re not kidding you shit, but I forgive you, it IS a minor language. =P

I have a question about those three languages you guys mentioned, did the article say why the blend was going to be of English, Spanish, and Mandarin? Purely because they’re the most widely spoken?

Some places and situations demand nothing less than a fascistic upholding of lingua franca.

Once your tray tables are locked and seats are in their full upright positions, your pilot will be speaking English, no matter what he whispers sweet nothings to the wife in.

This is a good thing.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Most languages are dying out pretty rapidly, in a historical context. I’d guess that in a few hundred years, our decendents will speak some blend of English, Mandarin, and Spanish. Those that refuse due to ‘cultural reasons’ will find themselves marginalized and relegated to the ‘backwaters’ of whatever society then exists.

You’re kidding right?

Dutch is my first language. It’s spoken bij about 25 million people. Those are real millions, with 6 zero’s.
Most people here speak a second, or even third or fourth language like English, French, German, …
But no way is the Dutch language going to be extinct. Not in a couple of centuries anyway.

English is the dominant language atm for international relations, like Latin was centuries ago. And if you wonder why the Chinese didn’t speak Latin, that’s because the Chinese weren’t important then. The world ended at Europes borders. Kinda like the situation you live in now.

Anyway, English is used for international relations. For instance, if a German wants to talk to an Italian, they’ll probably talk English. That doesn’t mean they’ll keep talking English. They’ll switch back to their native language when speaking to their wife and kids.

And especially for Zap, don’t you remember the “incident” when Bush rediculed a US reporter for asking Chirac a question in French?

Please, explain to me how this is different.[/quote]

if this isnt the biggest loaded bunch of egocentric bullshit, i dont know what is.

China wasn’t important then? How about this for facts. The roman economy was NEVER bigger than China’s. Their military was NEVER bigger than china’s.

Dont get me wrong, i absolutely love Rome and i have spent my university career studying rome, but lets NOT pretend that Rome was the whole world. They were only Europe, North Africa, and the near east.

French was never a global language…it was spoken by europeans and americans. Again, not the whole world.

You need to get over the Europe = whole world mentality.

Wow, i’m an American and i’m telling someone else that they need to look beyond their own borders. Has hell frozen over?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
danmaftei wrote:
I’m not really interested in the semantics of the situation, so you guys can go ahead and talk about that, what struck me is his comment about one language, one culture.

English is essentially that language of the world now, and obviously still spreading. It makes me wonder if historically this has been the case, that there was one language spoken by many across many cultures, but I highly doubt it.

Personally, I think it’s great to have one language in which we can all understand each other, but I also think it could get out of hand. If we all become one homogenous culture, well, I would frankly call that boring. Sure, this won’t happen overnight, but perhaps English dominating the world as a language is an indication of things to come.

I think people are afraid of diversity…especially old people. They hate change. I have nothing against French. I speak it enough to get by. I have no desire anywhere in me to force the entire world to change and be more like whatever I speak the most. I don’t even understand why that level of control is even wanted. the only people I feel have a point are Americans as far as English being expected HERE in this country. I just don’t understand people who live here for years and STILL don’t know the language.[/quote]

I agree.

It seems common courtesy to me…I would not expect everyone to speak English elsewhere; I would learn the language of the country I moved to.

One of the few things I agree on with the right is a national language. Learn English, or go home. No signs in Spanish, French, Italian, whatever. You learn THIS language. My grandparents had to. You are not special.

I feel strongly about this, and it really irritates me.

On a related note, French was very similar back in the day to English as far as the scope it was spoken in.

The Upper classes in 19th century Russia spoke no Russian- all French. Their world was a very Paris-centric world, and everything revolved more around French culture for them also.

This made life hell for the Russian Army- the upper class Generals spoke French, and the lower class soldiers spoke Russian. Kind of hard to communicate there.

English is dominant because you have had 350 years of domination by English speaking countries- first the British Empire, now the American. If America falls as a world power, I think the language of the country that takes over the lead role would become prominent.

So I wouldn’t count all languages dead. If Gaelic can survive in Ireland, Romanian will be safe. Don’t worry. The only major language that ever died out is Latin, but most of our words are derived from Latin bases anyway, so I would say that it evolved more than died.

so, please assuage my idiocy, but where in the Constitution or any other founding document is English established in the national language (other than the fact that that is the language the documents were written in)?

wouldn’t making English the official language be some sort of “judicial activism”?

I formerly taught English as a Second Language, and let me tell you, I have to believe the number of immigrants who don’t realize the opportunities learning English would earn them, and who aren’t working very hard towards that goal, is much, much lower than you think.

[quote]orion wrote:

English is the lingua franca of today as was Latin from the days of the Roman Empire until the 15th century or so, then it was French…

This is not new…
[/quote]

Actually it is. There is one but crucial difference. In Roman times, the lingua franca that was used by the Romans and other players in the Mediterranean scene was - Greek.

In all the cases you mentioned the lingua franca of the time was a language of a PAST dominant cultural/imperial power (Greek in Roman times, Latin in the Middle ages, French as a consequence of Charlemagne and the Plantagenet domination of Europe)

This is the first time that the global language of communication is associated with a current (only) global power.

And that’s why some people make an issue out of it.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
On a related note, French was very similar back in the day to English as far as the scope it was spoken in.

The Upper classes in 19th century Russia spoke no Russian- all French. Their world was a very Paris-centric world, and everything revolved more around French culture for them also.

This made life hell for the Russian Army- the upper class Generals spoke French, and the lower class soldiers spoke Russian. Kind of hard to communicate there.

English is dominant because you have had 350 years of domination by English speaking countries- first the British Empire, now the American. If America falls as a world power, I think the language of the country that takes over the lead role would become prominent.

So I wouldn’t count all languages dead. If Gaelic can survive in Ireland, Romanian will be safe. Don’t worry. The only major language that ever died out is Latin, but most of our words are derived from Latin bases anyway, so I would say that it evolved more than died.[/quote]

English became the dominant language after the treaty of versaille. English domination had nothing to do with it. What happened then? America entered the European scene.

England at the height of her empire was dealing with everyone else in…french.

Did you guys know that English is the official language of India? As their economy booms in this century, we’ll probably see Hindi fade away, except in the home. I’d guess Hindi will be like Navajo in a couple of centuries, though many of their words will blend locally there with English.

If you total the number of people who individually speak Mandarin, English, or Spanish, you can see that these languages will eventually become preponderant. I’d surmise that these will then eventually merge.

A thousand years from now, no one would understand what we are saying now.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:

And especially for Zap, don’t you remember the “incident” when Bush rediculed a US reporter for asking Chirac a question in French?

Please, explain to me how this is different.[/quote]

I have never heard of an instance where Bush “rediculed” a reporter for speaking French but I believe it. Bush teases reporters all the time and gives them silly nicknames.

Did Bush walk out of the meeting because the reporter spoke French? I doubt it.

Big difference between making a joke and walking out of a meeting.

[quote]zarathus wrote:
so, please assuage my idiocy, but where in the Constitution or any other founding document is English established in the national language (other than the fact that that is the language the documents were written in)?

wouldn’t making English the official language be some sort of “judicial activism”?

…[/quote]

Only if a judge did it.

If Congress passed a bill making English the official language and the President signed it it would be a law.

You could get a lawyer and challenge the Constitutionality of the law. That is the only reason the judiciary should be involved.

[quote]loppar wrote:
orion wrote:

English is the lingua franca of today as was Latin from the days of the Roman Empire until the 15th century or so, then it was French…

This is not new…

Actually it is. There is one but crucial difference. In Roman times, the lingua franca that was used by the Romans and other players in the Mediterranean scene was - Greek.

In all the cases you mentioned the lingua franca of the time was a language of a PAST dominant cultural/imperial power (Greek in Roman times, Latin in the Middle ages, French as a consequence of Charlemagne and the Plantagenet domination of Europe)

This is the first time that the global language of communication is associated with a current (only) global power.

And that’s why some people make an issue out of it.
[/quote]

That is an excellent point!

They allways took the best of a former great culture; they never got to see the “Bold and Beautiful” or Oprah of ancient Greek/Rome…

If they had, their perception of those cultures might have been a little bit different…