I thought I would draw the groups' attention to a new book, "Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages" by Mark Abley.

"Modern English is the Wal-Mart of languages: convenient, huge, hard to avoid, superficially friendly, and devouring all rivals in its eagerness to expand."
‹Mark Abley
The book is available at Amazon, whwre you will find some reviews and this description:In Spoken Here, Mark Abley journeys around the world seeking out languages in peril Manx, Mohawk, Boro, Yiddish, and many more. Along the way he reveals delicious linguistic oddities and shows us what is lost when one of the world's six thousand tongues dies an irreplaceable worldview and a wealth of practical knowledge. He also examines the forces, from pop culture to creoles to global politics, that threaten to wipe out 90 percent of languages by this century's end.

Abley encounters one of the last two speakers of an Australian language, whose tribal taboos forbid them to talk to each other. He spotlights those who believe that violence is the only way to save their tongue. He meets a Yiddish novelist who writes for an audience she knows doesn't exist. He pays tribute to such strange tongues as the Amazonian language last spoken by a parrot, the Caucasian language with no vowels, and the South Asian language whose innumerable verbs include gobray (to fall in a well unknowingly) and onsra (to love for the last time).

Each of the languages Abley spotlights, from the familiar to the foreign, exemplifies the various threats that endanger languages worldwide. But many also prove their resilience, thanks to the efforts of their determined speakers and such unlikely tools as soap operas and pop music. Abley meets the crusaders as well as the uncaring, all of whom offer surprising insight into this centuries-old debate.

Spoken Here is a singular travelogue, a compelling case for linguistic diversity, and a treasure
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
In our last episode,
(Email Removed),
the lovely and talented MC
broadcast on alt.usage.english:
(Evidently quoting an Amazon.com review)
In Spoken Here, Mark Abley journeys around the world seeking out languages in peril Manx, Mohawk, Boro, Yiddish, and ... lost when one of the world's six thousand tongues dies an irreplaceable worldview and a wealth of practical knowledge.

Two issues glossed over rather quickly:
Is a language per se a world view (or does a language per se contain a world view)?
No doubt there is much lore that is expressed in the language, but that is not the same thing.
Is knowledge of a language knowledge of anything except the language?

Again, there may be some facts expressed in a language, but would they not be the same facts if their expression was translated to another language?

Lars Eighner finger for geek code (Email Removed) http://www.io.com/~eighner / Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better. Robert Redford
I thought I would draw the groups' attention to a new book, "Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages" by Mark ... language whose innumerable verbs include gobray (to fall in a well unknowingly) and onsra (to love for the last time).

Someone who has onsrad may gobray while worrying about it.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
In Spoken Here, Mark Abley journeys around the world seeking ... an irreplaceable worldview and a wealth of practical knowledge.

Two issues glossed over rather quickly: Is a language per se a world view (or does a language per se ... expressed in a language, but would they not be the same facts if their expression was translated to another language?

The language encapsulates the way in which the speakers understand the world. So the Inuit have a conceptual framework, encapsulated in their language, which enables them to survive in their extreme environment, as do the (surviving) tribes in the Amazonian rain forest, the Hopi Indians in the USA, etc etc etc. Every language contains concepts and manners of expression that cannot be translated simply, with their full meaning, into another language. This is just as true of the major European languages, where if you immerse yourself in a culture with a different language only a hundred miles from your native place, on returning home you find yourself lost for words when relating a conversation you had in the other language only days before.
The essence of this is that these languages are the vehicle that allows the population to survive as a community in the geographical space that they occupy. Replace their language with another, and they are less able to survive, and the knowledge bound up in the language is lost.

Taken to the extreme, if English (or Spanish, or Mandarin, or ... ) were to become the first language of the whole world within a single generation, then techniques of survival such as food, medicines, knowledge of the environment, etc etc are lost, and the survival of the population is threatened.
This isn't to say that the population will inevitably die out, but to survive they will have to rediscover the wisdom of their ancestors, which is first of all a waste of time if they had kept their linguistic conceptual framework, and secondly will necessitate the re-introduction of the ancient concepts into the new language, which will cause the language to change to such an extent that the people of the plains will develop a dialect that sets them apart from the people of the frozen wastes, or the rain forests, or ...
Lets hope we survive long enough for this to happen, and Babel to return.

Dave OSOS#24 (Email Removed) Remove my gerbil for email replies

Yamaha XJ900S & Wessex sidecar, the sexy one
Yamaha XJ900F & Watsonian Monaco, the comfortable one

http://dswindell.members.beeb.net
In our last episode,
,
the lovely and talented Dave Swindell
broadcast on alt.usage.english:
The language encapsulates the way in which the speakers understand the world.

Yes. I understand this is the assertion. What is the evidence?
So the Inuit have a conceptual framework, encapsulated in their language, which enables them to survive in their extreme environment, ... or the rain forests, or ... Lets hope we survive long enough for this to happen, and Babel to return.

Lars Eighner finger for geek code (Email Removed) http://www.io.com/~eighner / But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. Lord Byron
Taken to the extreme, if English (or Spanish, or Mandarin, or ... ) were to become the first language of ... such as food, medicines, knowledge of the environment, etc etc are lost, and the survival of the population is threatened.

***. There are plenty of books about food, medicine, and survival in English. Do you think they are all worthless?
This isn't to say that the population will inevitably die out, but to survive they will have to rediscover the ... conceptual framework, and secondly will necessitate the re-introduction of the ancient concepts into the new language, which will cause the

You're out in fantasy land.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Taken to the extreme, if English (or Spanish, or Mandarin, ... are lost, and the survival of the population is threatened.

***. There are plenty of books about food, medicine, and survival in English. Do you think they are all worthless?

Specialized vocabularies would have to be either recreated or carried over. But I agree with you: so what? English readily accepts words from other languages, as do most other languages, French being the exception.

John Varela
(Trade "OLD" lamps for "NEW" for email.)
I apologize for munging the address but the spam is too much.
Specialized vocabularies would have to be either recreated or carried over. But I agree with you: so what? English readily accepts words from other languages, as do most other languages, French being the exception.

Yup, and it would happen real fast. No problemo.
Chinese has special loanword problems because of its eccentric phonology and it's bizarre orthography; nevertheless, they do it often and quickly. No problemo.
Cultures that go on and on about loanword problems are just self-stroking and navel-gazing. It's no big deal.
\\P. Schultz
I thought I would draw the groups' attention to a new book, "Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages" by Mark ... pop culture to creoles to global politics, that threaten to wipe out 90 percent of languages by this century's end.

I don't see how creoles can be considered among the forces which might lead to languages dying out. Creoles arise out of pidgins, and pidgins arise out of economic necessity. A creole is an example of a language being *born.* It occurs when the children of the speakers of a pidgin, who come from various linguistic backgrounds, make changes to the pidgin to accommodate it to their needs. If there is any connection between either pidgins or creoles and the death of any language and I don't see that there is it would not be the fault of the pidgin or creole, but of the economic situation which caused the pidgin (and subsequently, creole) to develop in the first place.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more