Should English be the international language?

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Sharlos » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:56 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:"No language is neutral"-dionne band

English will remain the main business language till such time as it's overtaken by a more useful one. Or, rather, at such time as English doesn't mean wealth.

The homogenization of language has gone on as long as there has been language, trying to preserve dying languages doesn't work easily. People will learn whichever language makes communication easiest where they live.

Yeah, the best you can do is record it for posterities sake.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:15 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:Hindi does have only slightly more (420 million versus ~400 million) speakers than English, though

The other big aspect of English's dominance is that that's only the number of people who have it as their first language. There are at least that many more learning it as a second, and possibly as many as twice that many or more.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:54 am UTC

Consider Spanish as a counterpoint, which gained a fuckload of speakers in the early modern period, but never quite achieved the same universiality. It's not a positive feedback cycle, because language groups are often very protective of their identity, which is why Welsh managed to survive as a language despite efforts to stamp it out. It's a lot easier to be militarily victorious over a country than it is to assimilate their people within your culture.

English is dominant because the British Empire was larger than any other, and because of American political dominance and cultural hegemony when that Empire declined (other English-speaking countries did their bit here and there, to, and in the sense you might talk about positive feedback).
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

I think that the second World War the Marshall plan aid also helped a lot to spread American culture in Europe.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby sparks » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:45 pm UTC

I think languages are essential parts of any culture. The words themselves reflect an entirely unique cultural experience -- some places have unique words (for example, in the case of the Portuguese word 'saudade') or may have interesting literal translations of words (in the case of languages like German, where many words are made of piecing together pre-existent words). Languages take hundreds or even thousands of years to get to their modern forms, morphing from other languages and evolving. Saying that, say, French is a dead language already isn't exactly true. Sure, it's not as widely spoken as some languages, but each dialect, each accent, each word can be seen as a testament to an unique evolution. Romance languages are different among them, Germanic languages are different from each other, and so on. For instance, Portuguese and Spanish may be similar in many words, and speakers of one language may understand the other easily (unbiasedly, I can say I have been told by speakers of the later that they can vaguely recognize some Portuguese words but not immediately, and not the other way around) but each language stems from a different evolution. I think the fact that certain languages are becoming "extinct" is certainly sad.
In professional terms such as business letters or commercial transactions, then I think it's fine adopting a foreign language occasionally, and that language could be English (since, you know, it's easier for most of the World to pick up on English than a language with different characters and tones and such) but never replacing entirely the existent languages. Ever.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:31 pm UTC

I don't think anyone is really suggesting that we move to using a single language for the entire planet. Language is certainly an important aspect of culture, but international language in this case refers to a language that can be used to communicate between cultures. Language has also caused conflict and war--so it's really hard to say that nationalism and national language is completely benign.

That said--you can't force language, if people naturally learn one language rather than the language their parents spoke because the new language is more useful to them--trying to prevent this will ultimately fail. People will learn and use the language that makes it easy for them to communicate with others.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

I feel that there is a point that is not receiving enough attention here. Having any national language as an international language has a huge, disturbing effect: To give some cultures the right to automatically broadcast internationally. What I mean by this, is that anything being publicized in some English-speaking country is automatically available for everyone who uses English as an international language. Because of that, Dutch media spend more attention on the UK and USA than on other foreign countries because it's easier to read their newspapers. Politicians take American and British policies as an example because they can read the press reports. Effectively, we copy from those countries without the other way around.

Which is why there should be a neutral international language, which is not anyone's own language.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Kaiveron » Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:08 am UTC

Roĝer wrote:I feel that there is a point that is not receiving enough attention here. Having any national language as an international language has a huge, disturbing effect: To give some cultures the right to automatically broadcast internationally. What I mean by this, is that anything being publicized in some English-speaking country is automatically available for everyone who uses English as an international language. Because of that, Dutch media spend more attention on the UK and USA than on other foreign countries because it's easier to read their newspapers. Politicians take American and British policies as an example because they can read the press reports. Effectively, we copy from those countries without the other way around.

Which is why there should be a neutral international language, which is not anyone's own language.


The problem with deciding how much effect English as the international language has on Anglophone countries receiving more attention is that the Anglophone countries are some of the most powerful in the world and it is hard to distinguish the power either has. The US is the only superpower and still is the hegemon of Western Europe is some ways. Russia may have a bigger military, Germany may have a larger economy, and France may have better culture and cuisine, but the UK is still a major player due to its superb military, its economy (largest bond market and second largest financial center after NYC), and its colonial and imperialist history. Three countries in the G8 are Anglophone, and six in the G20 have English as at least an official language.

With the hypothetical case of changing the international lingua franca being thrown around, it would be good to note that if that happened English would still have an indelible mark on most cultures aside from the cultural influences the US and UK have just because of their size. The last two lingua francas were French and Latin, and they both still have a large impact on many subjects like law, science, economics, and much more. I am even using the term "lingua franca," which means "Frankish/French language."

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Lucrece » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:00 pm UTC

I'm more curious as to why there should be an international language in the first place, instead of marginalizing foreign languages into the profession of translators.

There's something particularly uncomfortable about seeing little children being taught English as a requirement in Latin American schools. Internet's anglocentric nature has already diluted foreign cultures, from entertainment trends, to music, to language itself ("estoy texteando"). Even food ( *deathglare at McDonalds*).
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

There have always been international languages. This is just the first time any of them has been quite widespread enough to call a world language or global language. But Latin was an international language in Europe for a long time, and Sanskrit was in what would eventually become the country of India (which was many different states before). I know less about other areas of the world, but I'd imagine that any society that has ever engaged in trade with a large number of neighbors got to have its own language serve as a sort of international language in that region.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

Should there be an international language? Yes. It makes things so much easier to not always have to have a translator with you. It gives you access to so many more places, much more information, makes science more effective, etc.

Should it be English? Yes, because significant parts of the world already know English, albeit badly. Also, English is very accessible in today's world. So it's by far the easiest route to have people improve their English and hope there children will learn it well, instead of starting all over again with another language.

Lucrece wrote:There's something particularly uncomfortable about seeing little children being taught English as a requirement in Latin American schools.


Definitely not. For small children, learning a language is easier than it will ever be in later years, and learning a language in which you can communicate with significant parts of the world isn't exactly what I'd consider a disadvantage. The earlier, the better. In fact, I think the ultimate aim can only be to add English to the native language list of all people in the world, though this of course requires some infrastructure, and the people in charge are obviously not able to set such up, considering the problems we have with immigrant kids in Europe who get their natural language acquisition messed up by stupid parents, kindergardeners and politicians.

Kaiveron wrote:I am even using the term "lingua franca," which means "Frankish/French language."


No, it doesn't. It means "language used for inter-group communication that everyone is supposed to know" or something like that. :P Don't confuse etymology with meaning.

Roĝer wrote:Which is why there should be a neutral international language, which is not anyone's own language.


Learning a language is troublesome, and I don't believe in egalitarianism to the extent that you have to give some people additional trouble to make them equal if you can't take the trouble away from the others to achieve the same.
Second, given the current state of the world, this is simply not an option. We have no such language, and it would be a lot of work to get it off the ground and give life to it. And no, simply constructing something on paper like Esperantists doesn't do because the semantic and lexical nuances of natural languages are just too refined and complicated for us to construct such consciously with our current linguistic knowledge. So we would at least have to have a generation or two of interacting native learners work over the language... I have to admit I don't know how long it really took to get Modern Hebrew off the ground, though.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

Makri wrote:Should there be an international language? Yes. It makes things so much easier to not always have to have a translator with you. It gives you access to so many more places, much more information, makes science more effective, etc.

Should it be English? Yes, because significant parts of the world already know English, albeit badly. Also, English is very accessible. So it's by far the easiest route to have people improve their English and hope there children will learn it well, instead of starting all over again with another language.

In Australia, the British deliberately took Aboriginal children from their families and put them into Anglo communities, where the children were prevented from learning their native languages. Why? Because, to an extent, uniform language equals control. if you think there is only one legitimate culture, and it is that of English speakers, then the language should be thoroughly propogated. But the fact is a whole lot is being supressed, and the existence of entire cultural groups is put at stake when English is encouarged as the norm.

I think that if you want to trade/converse/deal with the Chinese/Swedish/Australian Aboriginals, then learn their language, or take your shit elsewhere.
Kaiveron wrote:I am even using the term "lingua franca," which means "Frankish/French language."
No, it doesn't. It means "language used for inter-group communication that everyone is supposed to know" or something like that. :P Don't confuse etymology with meaning.
It means both, really: don't dismiss etymology so easily--it gives us insight into words, even if it doesn't determine the absolute meaning.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:In Australia, the British deliberately took Aboriginal children from their families and put them into Anglo communities, where the children were prevented from learning their native languages. Why? Because, to an extent, uniform language equals control. if you think there is only one legitimate culture, and it is that of English speakers, then the language should be thoroughly propogated. But the fact is a whole lot is being supressed, and the existence of entire cultural groups is put at stake when English is encouarged as the norm.


I'm at a bit of a loss looking for a connection to my statement... (And I'm missing a whistling smiley for here.)

I think that if you want to trade/converse/deal with the Chinese/Swedish/Australian Aboriginals, then learn their language, or take your shit elsewhere.


But apparently, the Chinese and Swedish don't want you to do this. After all, nothing forces them to learn English except their desire to interact with you (and possibly people like me who have also been willing to learn English as a second language), and they seem to quite readily learn English. (I'm not sure if you would like to...)

It means both, really: don't dismiss etymology so easily--it gives us insight into words, even if it doesn't determine the absolute meaning.


No, it doesn't mean both. It used to mean one and now it means the other. Etymology does give us insight into words, but it's purely metalinguistic insight.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby goofy » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

Makri wrote:No, it doesn't mean both. It used to mean one and now it means the other. Etymology does give us insight into words, but it's purely metalinguistic insight.

etymological fallacy

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Snowflake » Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:28 am UTC

The problem with English is that it's too easy to mess up.

Picture some dumb fat american kid going "Ehhh Toodddd pass the ketchup. Ohhh duuuude *food falling out his mouth* this stuff is grrreat!"

Not good.

Now, imagine this,
"I believe in aristocracy, though -- if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secreat understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but power to endure, and they can take a joke."

That kind of difference isn't nearly as profound in languages such as... Japanese, where every sentence is filled with elegance and conviction.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:38 am UTC

If you think no other language can involve as big a gap between the most informal and the most formal forms of communication, it just proves how little you know of any other languages.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Snowflake » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:37 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:no other language can involve as big a gap between the most informal and the most formal forms of communication
That is clearly, what I said.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm UTC

Then what difference did you mean when you talked about the one in English being so much more profound than any other language?

In any case, I'm very skeptical of any claim about how much of an outlier English is along any linguistic axis, because in my experience such claims generally come from people who have studied maybe three or four languages total. I am also very skeptical of your claim that *every* sentence in Japanese is "filled with elegance and conviction". Whatever that even means.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:16 pm UTC

Makri wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:In Australia, the British deliberately took Aboriginal children from their families and put them into Anglo communities, where the children were prevented from learning their native languages. Why? Because, to an extent, uniform language equals control. if you think there is only one legitimate culture, and it is that of English speakers, then the language should be thoroughly propogated. But the fact is a whole lot is being supressed, and the existence of entire cultural groups is put at stake when English is encouarged as the norm.

I'm at a bit of a loss looking for a connection to my statement... (And I'm missing a whistling smiley for here.)
I think that if you want to trade/converse/deal with the Chinese/Swedish/Australian Aboriginals, then learn their language, or take your shit elsewhere.

But apparently, the Chinese and Swedish don't want you to do this. After all, nothing forces them to learn English except their desire to interact with you (and possibly people like me who have also been willing to learn English as a second language), and they seem to quite readily learn English. (I'm not sure if you would like to...)

I understand there a very good reasons for everyone to learn English, and that English already is an international language. My point is that there shouldn't be an international language, where "shouldn't" is used in the moral sense, for the same reasons globalization is undesirable.
It means both, really: don't dismiss etymology so easily--it gives us insight into words, even if it doesn't determine the absolute meaning.


No, it doesn't mean both. It used to mean one and now it means the other. Etymology does give us insight into words, but it's purely metalinguistic insight.

Hmm, for some reason I just assumed the term "lingua franca" was related to the convention of using French for passports, and that in that case the lingua franca was a literal one. Etymology fail.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:49 pm UTC

Actually, the fact that lingua franca comes from the Italian for "Frankish tongue" has almost always been irrelevant to the actual usage of that term in English. According to the OED, from the start it meant "a mixed language or jargon used in the Levant, consisting largely of Italian words deprived of their inflexions." So while the "franca" part was related to French, the actual language being described was really more Italian.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:53 pm UTC

I understand there a very good reasons for everyone to learn English, and that English already is an international language. My point is that there shouldn't be an international language, where "shouldn't" is used in the moral sense, for the same reasons globalization is undesirable.


This seems to me to be a slippery slope, one end of which is: keep foreign languages away from everybody except a small caste of translators. After all, nothing prevents people from following the linguistic (and, if you want, also economical) isolationism that I take it you suggest. And apparently, they don't want that; instead, they learn foreign languages and interact. It's always terribly difficult to argue against something that people do voluntarily...
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Velifer » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:33 pm UTC

Makri wrote:It's always terribly difficult to argue against something that people do voluntarily...

Nah, people act against their best interests all the time. That's good. It keeps public health workers busy. Smoking is bad, kids.

But arguing from ethical perspectives assumes a shared ethic, which doesn't seem entirely consistent with statements about preserving cultural differences. For instance, English speakers may be more Kiplingesque, and believe that they're bringing enlightenment and progress to all mankind, so spread the word to the savages, and that word is in English. It certainly follows from the history of English-speaking nations. Under that gross generalization, not educating the world, not bringing a people into a modern global economy, would be seen as harm. Very colonial mentality, but from an ethical framework, the colonizers were following their ethic.

If you want to argue against globalization (and a global language to facilitate that) from a harm-based morality, then things are gonna drift really far from a language thread.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:22 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:That's good. It keeps public health workers busy. Smoking is bad, kids.


Addictions don't count.

Nah, people act against their best interests all the time.


.. Therefore, this isn't an objection to my statement. :P Apart from that, I'm not very fond of paternalism...

But, sticking more to the issue of language, can you really say that English speakers are "spreading the (English) word"? If so, in what sense - what do they do?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:20 pm UTC

Makri wrote:But, sticking more to the issue of language, can you really say that English speakers are "spreading the (English) word"? If so, in what sense - what do they do?

There are things they do from their own personal interest, like demanding that meetings and reports are in their language. There are things they do neutrally, like writing books and articles that end up encouraging others to learn English to read them. These categories of actions are by far the most important, but I guess they are not exactly 'spreading the word'.

For 'spreading the word" I'd say we have to look at actions where people encourage English because they think that having others speak English is important, either to those others or to the English-speaking world. Some of these are very conscious, like programs to teach English in foreign countries. A lot are more subtle, and happen simply by assuming that others want to speak English anyway. Most things are just side consequences from general globalization efforts, like setting up international organizations or pushing countries to trade more.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

And it's definitely a process that's full of positive feedback. People learn English because it's helpful for doing business with existing firms. Then, in order to compete with those people, others have to learn English as well. Then once more and more people in those companies speak English, English becomes more and more the language in which they do most of their business, further increasing the demand for language education programs.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

An important thing here, I think, is that people can accept parts of globalization as btter than the alternative, even if they would reject the entirety of the parts.

People can choose to buy their products from international firms that are cheaper because of economies of scale. This usually requires adopting a form of the product made for international tastes instead of your own, but the price is worth it.

Of course, the same process means that the firms they work themselves for have to turn international too, perhaps becoming a supplier of larger foreign firms. They have to learn English, adopt American/international ways of doing business, etc. They prefer this over the alternative of losing their jobs, and become enthusiast learners of English.

But what if people could face the combined choice, either having more expensive local products and working for an independent firm using their own language, or cheaper products but working for a subservient firm using a language not their own. Some people might choose the unglobalized version if they could choose the package, while they also choose the globalized parts in separate choices.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby mikhail » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

Snowflake wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:no other language can involve as big a gap between the most informal and the most formal forms of communication
That is clearly, what I said.

Well you didn't say anything else clearly.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Nande_Ebisu? » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:33 pm UTC

Lemme just preface this with I've only skimmed the topic as is, so if someone's already said something to this effect, my bad.

As an American foreign exchange student Germany I'm actually pretty surprised by how well most foreign students speak English, just by talking with them it seems that its not really corporate interests and businesses that are the main driving forces of them learning English, its actually pop culture, movies, TV shows etc. They learn some elementary English in school, but then it develops so much more just by watching movies and shows in English. I've picked up a lot of Japanese vocabulary just by geeking out on anime. (yatta!)

This is mainly an argument against languages like Esperanto which are manufactured, because its a LOT easier to get people to learn a language if they start interacting with it of their own free will, and since there's already 50+ years worth of compelling English language movies and TV-shows which you just can't get with Esperanto until after its already established as a major language.

As far as the argument that a global language will inherently kill off local languages, I kind of see where that's coming from, but its not even a global language that would do that, it can be a larger regional language (ie Catalan and Basque being killed off by Spanish, Flemish being killed off by French etc.) So all we really can do now is record as many as possible now and encourage people to be bilingual. In Belgium, the Flemish speaking parts, they have this knee jerk protectionist reflex to preserve their language, but its a problem when all the road signs outside of the major Airport are all in Flemish, because French speakers need to be able to find their way around once they land as well. (apparently this conflict is more about politics and sovereignty, but it makes a good example and its the only one I'm familiar with)
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Bobber » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:05 am UTC

Good point about pop culture having a larger effect on foreign language acquisition incentive than business.
While business opportunities may give spurts of reason to learn a language, everybody is a teenager at some point, and many teenagers do listen to pop music and watch pop television and movies.

Of course, this doesn't apply to small tribal communities without radio and TV, but these are becoming fewer and fewer; arguably as a direct cause of the very globalization of English discussed in this thread.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:58 pm UTC

Well, Globalization, anyway. I doubt the specific globalization of the English language is really the cause of the demise of tribal lifestyles.

And everyone I've taught English to is studying it for business, education, or travel. I doubt their primary interest is ever being able to understand American movies.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Nande_Ebisu? » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:08 am UTC

People who go take classes on their own to learn English are mostly going to want to know it for corporate reasons, however a large portion of teenagers, aka future businessmen, are much more likely to be proficient in English as a second language because of foreign music, films etc. As I am typing this from a burger king in Oslo all I hear is english language music. Its not just classes in school which teach a language, polish and proficiency come from immersion in some form, good luck finding another language as culturally pervasive as english.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:14 am UTC

And listening to music is not immersion. I've never met someone who was truly proficient in English who neither studied it in a classroom nor lived immersively in an English-speaking environment. Music and movies don't cut it.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:23 am UTC

Music is certainly irrelevant for language acquisition. The speech signal ist just far too bad. Movies, however, seem to be beneficial. Who thinks it's a coincidence that those European countries whose inhabitants are noted for good knowledge of English (i.e. Scandinavian countries) are those where movies and tv-series are often not dubbed?

I've never met someone who was truly proficient in English who neither studied it in a classroom nor lived immersively in an English-speaking environment.


Certainly. But I conjecture that classroom alone is not enough; and books and movies are a good supplement in the absence of native speakers. This is why I believe it's a point in favor of English as an international language that additional input is so easily available.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby BrotherLaz » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Nande_Ebisu? wrote:Flemish being killed off by French etc.) (...) In Belgium, the Flemish speaking parts, they have this knee jerk protectionist reflex to preserve their language, but its a problem when all the road signs outside of the major Airport are all in Flemish, because French speakers need to be able to find their way around once they land as well. (apparently this conflict is more about politics and sovereignty, but it makes a good example and its the only one I'm familiar with)


I wouldn't call it 'familiar' because you're completely wrong wrong wroooooooooooooonggggg.

The situation isn't that the Flemish are resisting the 'tide of progress'. There is a 6 million Flemish (ie. Dutch) speaking community and 4 million Francophone community and neither even attempts to convert the other to their own language.

(Well, aside from some clashes around the capital which is 95% French speaking despite being located in Flemish territory and officially being bilingual. Its sphere of influence seems to expand into Flemish territory, this leads to political conflicts at the border and the EU gets called in to solve the issue, then listens only to one part of the argument, no thanks to the presence of the actual French in said EU. But this conflict is mostly a matter of each community attempting to 'win' and make the other 'lose' rather than an actual effort to convert people to the other language)

The conflict is political and economic - the wealthy Flemish part is mostly right wing, anti-immigrant and slightly separationist, the Francophone part is socialist and (therefore) suffers from massive unemployment, violence, political corruption on an Italian level and immigration of unskilled people from the Middle East, as well as serving as a huge black hole for a continuous cash flow from the Flemish community which doesn't seem to be used for anything constructive due to said corruption.

In official federal politics, both communities are supposed to enjoy equal representation (even if the Flemish community has more people), but the mighty Francophone socialist party and the king are heavily pro-French-community, while the Flemish have at least 3 political parties that are strongly separatist. Almost every issue that affects both communities turns into a massive political battle, resulting in a near standstill of political progress.

......

Your image of the backwards Flemish resisting the freedom and wealth of French as an international language is thus false. In fact, here in Flanders, a lot of people are bilingual or trilingual (Flemish/French/English), in part because many Francophones are perfectly trilingual: French, French and quand même un tout petit peu de Flamand if really necessary and their life depends on it.

......

Oh, and the road signs are in Flemish because the airport is in a Flemish part of the country. What a surprise. That's like asking why the road signs in София are in български and not in English.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Dibley » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:27 am UTC

Makri wrote:Who thinks it's a coincidence that those European countries whose inhabitants are noted for good knowledge of English (i.e. Scandinavian countries) are those where movies and tv-series are often not dubbed?
I think you may be getting that backwards...(apologies to non US residents, apparently youtube sucks that way)

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:45 pm UTC

I'm afraid I don't get what you say, in neither direction...

You're not suggesting that those films are not dubbed because people in Scandinavia know English so well, are you?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

Makri wrote:You're not suggesting that those films are not dubbed because people in Scandinavia know English so well, are you?

You think that's the more implausible option? On what planet?

Possibility A: No one bothers to dub English movies in Scandanavian countries, so people magically learn English by watching these movies.
Possibility B: People in Scandanavian countries already know a great deal of English, so no one bothers to dub English movies there.

From where I'm sitting, B is *way* more likely.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Makri » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

I find the teaching magic that possibility B implies (per this study, at least) not particularly more implausible than the learning magic of A... :roll:
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Bobber » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Possibility A: No one bothers to dub English movies in Scandanavian countries, so people magically learn English by watching these movies.
Hey, one person's magic may be another person's language acquisition.
I believe that I have improved my English though my childhood and youth by watching movies and TV-shows.
I still do it, now without the subtitles. This sometimes reinforces the memorization of some words, and I definitely do learn some interesting metaphors and idioms.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

My point was, Makri's post a little way up the page suggests complete incredulity at the notion that movies aren't dubbed because people there already know more English.

I don't understand the incredulity, because that's the reason English movies aren't dubbed in the US, for example...
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