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Linguistic Nationalism [was: Re: Multi-Lingos]

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Monday, August 21, 2000, 18:37
Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:

> Would the Americans here be offended if I stated that there seems to be a > considerable sentiment of "linguaphobia" in American society? What do you > think of it? With things like the 'English-only' front (some movement > against the growth of Spanish and other immigrant languages, demanding that > English be made the official language of the US). It just seems pretty > extreme to me, no, actually quite _disgusting_, to expel a person for > speaking a foreign language (out of necessity too). I mean, isn't that an > outright violation of American law (e.g. the oft-quoted "freedom of speech" > article)?
That's not exactly what the movement stands for. The English-only movement, remember, is a movement to give the US an official language -- it has never had one before -- not to make everyone speak English. Although I'm sure there are *some* people in a country of nearly 300 million people who want to literally deport all non-English speakers, their number is vanishingly small. In this respect, it is not that different from what is already the norm in many countries. France, for example, has the French language officially declared its official language in its constitution, and has long had a policy which essentially amounted to effacing linguistic minorities, most of whom having histories that predate France itself, by assimilating them into the French mainstream. The likelihood of any constitutional ammendment passing in the US is at any rate also very small, as it must pass 2/3 of both houses of Congress, and 3/4 of the State Legislatures, and the support is simply not there, especially since both major parties' presidential candidates this year are opponents of the measure. ObConlang: Phaleran, incidentally, is treated similarly to French by the various regimes where it is the predominant language of government. Other speech varieties that also descend from Tlaspi, such as Ti'c|onga or Acropedial Phaleran, are repressed by government authorities, perhaps all the moreso since their very existence is a smack in the face of the government fundamentalist propaganda that Phaleran is the 'holy language, uniquely conceived by Þyrra [the god of prophecy and intellectual discourse] to express the human condition and its plight in the search for meaning'. So, major publications must pass the government censors for language purity before they are released to the public. A serious reform was started around 1280 PC to purge the language of influences from C'|ali (a non-Tlaspi language), including glottalic consonants which had been imported from that language some 500 years previous when the C'|ali people had established something of an empire over most of the planet. Naturally, this failed entirely, and only succeeded in killing large numbers of people through civil strife and government pogroms. ;( ====================================== Tom Wier | "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." ======================================