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NATLANG:- Keeping alive languages of minoriti... (was: English Homework )

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Sunday, March 6, 2005, 18:35
G. L. King wrote:
(Re Madagascar) Actually you mis-spoke only slightly.  Madagascar does have
a situation where the regional _dialects_ are in danger of dying out under
pressure from the more standardized nat'l language used for education etc.
But AFAIK there's a relatively unified culture, not the mish-mash of
distinct cultural/linguistic groups seen in so many African countries.

As for Mozambique-- Outside the cities and sophisticated circles, I wonder
how widespread knowledge of Port. is? Throughout most of the colonial era,
"educating the natives" was around #47 on the to-do list, and only moved up
toward the top from around 1850 on, in the cases I can think of.  Port.
colonies might have benefited from missionary-educators of the various
religious orders.

>I think that in a area large > enough to host several indigenous languages there must be some way for > then nation as a whole to communicate...,
One would think so; OTOH perhaps some groups are so alienated that they don't want to communicate with others in the same "nation" :-(( This could be the result of the random drawing of boundaries in colonial days, and the old "divide and conquer" policies. ..and it seems natural that one of
> the native languages would come into use.
I think there is even concern in some East African countries, that Swahili is putting pressure on indigenous languages. That would be similar to the influence Bah. Indonesia is having. Perhaps in Mozambique, they simply _had to_ keep using Port. for administration, since there was no native language that could be agreed on. The same problem seems to face former Engl. and French multi-ethnic colonies. (In Indonesia, there was certainly no thought of hanging on to Dutch!!) In the post WW II period, when so many colonies were gaining independence, there was a lot of talk and writing about "National Language" planning. It's really a pity that nothing much ever came of it, and it seems the subject is hardly ever discussed anymore. Personally, at some point in the future, I dream of seeing all the African nations sit down at the conference table and consider re-drawing some of the "national" boundaries. Give up a little territory, and let tribal/linguistic groups re-unite. It could remove at least a few thorns, and maybe let some of the more dysfunctional nations perhaps move on to something better than constant civil wars. Come to think of it, that might work for the Turks/Iranians/Iraqis/Kurds too-- why not a Kurdistan, eh?