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And I fully understand that. French is a dying language and they feel protective of it.
I was born and raised as a French speaker (in Ontario), but from my perspective, when I see Quebec's French protectionism is being enforced at the expense of teaching English, then I'm completely against it.
A parent of a good friend of mine - currently in his late 50s, early 60s, "100% pure Quebecois" - told a bunch of us that he would've loved to learn English, but because he hasn't, he's felt all his life that he had been at a disadvantage. I don't blame him.
I honestly believe that Quebec's French protectionism is purely political, and the population is smart enough to understand this is working against them. Yet they can't bring themselves to vote these people out.
Yet they can't bring themselves to vote these people out.
Vote whom out? I don't think there's a major political party in Quebec that advocates getting rid of this nonsense. It's purely political all right, because it's pure pandering. Quebec voters are brain dead, no different than most other Canadian voters.
And I fully understand that. French is a dying language and they feel protective of it.
Isn't English in the same situation?
First, Chinese (Mandarin) is gaining significance in economy and industry as China's economic strength is increasing. They have the benfit of the iconic written language being common to a great variety of spoken languages. Other Asian languages also have an increasing impact - most certainy on the internet, 30 years ago almost exclusively English, today both Asian and other languages make an increasing impact.
Second, the English language, as a result of being used all over the world, is experiencing a babelization. Even for the "established" variants: If I haven't been speaking with Scots for a few months, it takes me a day or two to be re-accustomed to their variant of English. For Africans, it can take me a week. For most Far East people, I never get used to their so-called English, but must be constantly on 100% concentration to understand what they are talking about. People from India are in the middle between for me: For those I knew well, I have learned their special way of using the language. With others, I struggle.
My impression is that English has gone some way on the path to dissolve as a language. It has already gone so far that any English attempt to teach the world "the proper language" is futile. The Americans have been ecessively eager to spread the comercialism and socalled "freedom" ideals, completely ignoring cultural aspects such as language. Besides, American "freedom" ideals would never permit any control or management of such a personal thing as your language. The result of that is that every population group speaks its own "English" language - related, yet a different language. This includes "extreme" slang, leetspeak and other tribe languages.
English proponents are not really doing much seriously to keep their language from dwindling away. They trust that because it is so important today, it will reamain so forever. Hundred years ago, Frehch was the "lingo franco", the common language of the diplomats. Fifty years ago, the "International Communication Union", ITU, was recongized as CCITT, "Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique", until 1993. At least into the 1980s, if you applied for a job in the Norwegian Postal Service, you had to demonstrate a basic familiarity with French - "Par avion" wasn't fully replaced by "Air mail" until the 1990s.
French dwindled away as The language among diplomats, the language for international standardization, the international postal service language... in spite of the French Academy's work to keep it unambiguos and well defined. The complete abscence of such efforts for the English language makes it a lot more vulnurable. I wouldn't be at all surprised if English fifty years from now are no more essential than French is today.
The French have always been provocative of their language. They certainly were, fifty years ago. The problem with English is that the USAnians, in their self-confidence, do not feel any need to be provocative of it. That may turn out to essential to the future of English as a world language.
Basically, you have it all backwards in your conclusion.
English has become dominant for precisely the reason you say it will "dwindle away": it readily embraces words from other languages and grows. It is often said that the international language of science is broken English - and my personal experience causes me to agree.
It grows - it is a living breathing thing - certainly compared to a static corpse like French. All that's left of the language is their ego.
As for Asian languages - the major dominant 'contender' is Mandarin. It has the problem in that it is not an alphabetic language. Over the comparatively recent centuries there have even been internal wars over switching over to an alphabetic writing system. Oddly enough, their current form of government could just mandate it but, for whatever reason, has not.
It sounds like you have learned English as a second language. ... Or, wait a second, maybe I got that wrong
If you seriously believe that all other languages than English are static, unchanging, "corpses" as you phrase it, then you are living inside a bubble with no contact with reality (outside of your English-bubble). All languages develop.
Some people's gardens grow wild with whatever wants to grow there. Other people cultivate their garden, planting in straight rows side by side, to simplify weeding, and give each kind of plant the care and nutrition that serves that plant best.
Some languages are being cultivated more than others. In some cases, the regularity and control may be limiting to the development of the language (I'd say that Esperanto is somewhat in that direction). But like a totally wild, uncontrolled growth of all sorts of weeds may look you garden look green and fertile, but it really doesn't produce very much compared to a cultivated garden, so will a carefully cultivated language produce lots of valuable results. The major reason why French is not as important globally as it once was is not that the language is being cultivated, but rather that France does not drop as many bombs, does not send as many invading soldiers, do not force their country's economic instutions, religious, moral and political ideas onto other nations.
I don't think any country's population choose to learn English because it is a dynamic and flexible, or whatever positive term you would want, language, but simply because they have to in order to communicate with the forces in power. Like CCC and MS and the Linux community, the movie industry, the economic institutions. And in some cases, the invading soldiers.
The funny thing when you refer to the Chinese ideograms as a problem, is that we are most certainly moving in that direction in all Western languages. We just refer to them as smileys or emoticons or emojis, or sometimes as e.g. "the save symbol", icons, button faces, ... What is the percentage of Americans who read an entire novel last year? What is the number of Americans who watched at least ten movies last year?
The letter and word are loosing terrain, being replaced by graphic symbols, not that unlike Chinese ideograms.
Your idea about Mandarin being "the major dominant contenter", almost as if we can ignore the rest, is a somewhat naive approach to Asian languages. As is your idea that "their current form of government could just mandate it". Here we are talking about a culture several thousand years old; noone can simply "mandate" a major change such as replacing ideograms with a letter system.
Imagine some omnipoitent president for life "mandating" that every English word should be replaced by an ideogram - how realistic would that be? What amount of force would that require? Switching the one way is no easier than switching the other way. Both require loads of books, art, signs, information folders, .... to be discarded. Millons of teachers to be trained. Billions, maybe trillions of document pages to be rewritten in the new format. You may of course "mandate" it, but realizing it is a completely different game.
I suppose you know the poem "English is tough stuff" - a nice text to read out aloud. I presented it to one US lady who had no problems at all reading it correctly. ("Everybody else" has!) It turned out that in her childhood, she never learned to read the letters. They related to the entire word, as an ideograph. Gradually, when they had learned to read fluently, it was pointed out to them that this word symbol has some similarity to that other word symbol, and if you listen to the way we say it, they have similarities in sound as well! So ideographs exist in English as well, if done in a proper manner!
Perhaps you best learn to read what is actually written (per static and dying languages) as only one language is mentioned - and it in no way refers to
Member 7989122 wrote:
If you seriously believe that all other languages than English are static, unchanging, "corpses"
your imaginings - what you'd want to read to make it easy to criticize.
Basically almost all you wrote in your reply is similarly "misinformed" (put politely).
Your emoji comparison to an entire complex language is absurd. Furthermore, a language derived from caricatures suffers from large numbers of "readers" who've no clue what a symbol means 'they ain't all smiley faces' "not that unlike" - what an absurd argument!
Your dragging politics (e.g., 'bombing' into this) perhaps underlies your real motivation. However, lets just consider what your darling French are really like: they're the ones who are constantly limiting freedoms (no head scarfs, no kippas, no this - no that - even an attempt at regulating beachwear so no one "frumps" their beaches!). Freedom of speech/press . . . but you can only use the words they let you use. Sounds to me like a growingly oppressive regime.
About all they've got left in life is going on strike out of fear of having to work for a living.