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World English

From:David McCann <david@...>
Date:Sunday, December 28, 2008, 22:02
On Sat, 2008-12-27 at 21:38 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
> Bilingualism is the *norm* in very many parts of this planet - indeed, I > am told that trilingualism is not uncommon in some parts.
To quote an interesting case from Comrie's Languages of the Soviet Union: "The Parya … number about 1000 and live … from the suburbs of the Tajik capital westwards … All adult Parya, including women, are bilingual in Parya and Tajik, some of the men also speak Uzbek, and all children grow up speaking Parya; knowledge of Russian comes only from the educational system." Quadrilinguals! In Papua New Guinea "there is a distinct prestige associated with multilingualism" in many communities. (Foley, Papuan Languages of New Guinea) Predicting people's choice of language is surprisingly difficult: when the Ubykh migrated to Turkey, one might have expected them to abandon their language for Turkish, but instead they switched to Circassian for their L1. Foley pointed out the differences one can find in attitudes in New Guinea. In the village of Yimas, most young people prefer Tok Pisin to their own language, while in the next village of Ambonwari, all the children talk Karawari. Similarly in eighteenth century Europe, both Gaelic and Czech were largely peasant languages. The Czech middle class revived their language (Dvořak's L1 was German), the Irish didn't.