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Re: French

From:Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 19:36
> From: Michael Poxon <mike@...> > Surely the problems are many - if someone posted in Swahili, most of the group > would have no idea what the post was about, and surely that defeats the whole > purpose of a discussion group. If most of us don't understand something, how can > we discuss it? The clue's in the word! :-) > There's also the problem of elitism - it may be just intuition, but I suspect > that some people have felt "out in the cold" with the French thread since their > French wasn't up to it. > Mike
I wouldn't say two problems are "many." ;) Problem the first: Sure, it's a discussion group. If someone posted in Swahili, then only the people who could read Swahili (of which there are many in the world, but probably few on this list) would be able to comment. The poster wouldn't get many useful comments, and would quickly find themselves switching to a more common language. As to the language currently under dispute, French, there are apparently quite a few people on this list who read French (myself included, although slowly). The discussion doesn't include everyone, but enough people on the list to keep it flowing. Many of us who can read French can't write it well enough to justify doing so, so those responses are in English. Unless there's sufficient critical mass of French posting to keep it going, eventually the French posters will revert back to English. Problem solved by linguistic democracy. :D Problem the second: Again, recall how this issue started in the first place: Someone whose native language wasn't English was told, in barely more political words, that his English was substandard and that he ought to write in French. Little seems more blatantly elitist to me than to suggest to someone that they oughtn't post in an English-only forum until their language skills are up to snuff, because some people won't be able to work out what's meant. My point being, I think there's a good flow of linguistic elitism in multiple directions. Personally, I think it's cool to have posts in languages other than English show up in my inbox. :D If it's a language I have some knowledge of (French, German, or Spanish), I'll have a go at reading it. If it isn't, I'll skip to the next post. I realize that's not everyone's cup of joe, so whatev. I'm not planning on posting in any natural language other English, so it doesn't matter that much to me, I just don't think it's any more elitist to carry on a conversation in some other language than it is to tell someone to say it in French because their English is incomprehensible. (Also, to keep my third noted problem in the mix: It's certainly possible that two people who speak a language that nobody else on this list speaks could carry on an obscene dialogue insulting the rest of the group. I'm not sure why they'd want to do such a thing, though.) -- Paul


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Erbrice <erbrice@...>
Edgard Bikelis <bikelis@...>