Extinct Languages

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Orleander, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    I too value my own culture (Western Civilization) above all others. I too see multiculturalism as an idiotic affectation. But I don't see other cultures as worthless or worthy of scorn. We can learn from them, and add their biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.
     
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    A culture is not just language; it the way some people thought about human beings, relationships, governance, interpersonal relationships, law, happiness, sorrow, religion, emotion, struggle, effort, the world and our place in it and what our contribution to it is or ought to be.

    And language is the bridge that connects us to these people; to consider it irrelevant is to deny a whole aspect of the human experience.
     
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  5. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    Apparently... evolution does no such thing.

    Evolution favors genes that make it into the next generation. That's it.

    Powerful "cultures" assimilate weak ones. Sometimes traits of one are adopted (consciously or unconsciously) by the other. "westerners" are, as we speak, assimilating the cultures of the world. Look at Japan, China, and the countries of south america for example. People want to live the way the "west" lives. As free and affluent as your work and ingenuity can take you. No one want's to be in the indian lower classes (I know sam, there is no "caste system"). No one wants to be an ethiopian.
     
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  7. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    As I said, the germans have some admirable traits, as do other cultures. I see nothing of value though in many, many cultures.
     
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Yup
    The Yup from above should tell you why this does not matter.
     
  9. peta9 Registered Senior Member

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    Um, you are exaggerating a bit. You are confusing practicality and technological advancement with culture. Yes, that is adopted fast but that doesn't mean they don't create their own spin and keep revising and redefining their own culture and customs. It's not exactly the west.

    The west also adopts aspects of other cultures and peoples. A lot of 'american' culture is not purely european.

    Geezus, no one needs to be calling me an idiot on this forum.
     
  10. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    Did I imply anything else in my quite general statement?


    Should I take offense at this implication?
     
  11. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly. I was explaining your own statement to you. So you agree with me. Good.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    And you missed the implications inherent in "strong" cultures.
     
  13. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    Not at all. Although, with your vague and indirect way of phrasing statements and questions, it's easy to miss things at times.

    But that's what makes you sooo wuvable! No one's ever really quite sure where you stand so you seem quite harmless and inoffensive most of the time.
     
  14. peta9 Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, you did. Assimilation works both ways when in contact with other cultures.

    The 'westernization' is nothing more than the 'assimilation' of what appeals to them and is beneficial. This does not change their base identity is and thus it's metamorphosis.

    If you talk to a say a korean, japanese or even chinese they still have a different point of view than you would have and want to retain their core cultural identity despite what they may adopt from the west or others. Just as an american is no more japanese because they eat sushi or watch anime.

    Sharing and trade are beneficial but diversity and creativity is crushed when there is no respect for another's culture at all. People need room and to respect other's space to become what they want and this benefits everyone's upward mobility. This has been going on for ages but what we have learned is there is a balance that must be maintained or else whole civilizations can be lost. The same reason westerners complain about the influx of immigrants to europe changing altogether their way of life and country.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    For example, I am a "westernised" Indian, I speak English, wear jeans, watch South Park and can comment on Western concepts.

    Would you say I am a westerner?
     
  16. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    is this why ebonics needs to be saved and taught in schools?
     
  17. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    That's not a language, that's not speaking proper English.
     
  18. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    so then cajun isn't a language either? Its just French not spoken properly?
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You should give the Baron lessons in expressing anger with more charm.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Huh? There is a small army of linguists racing the clock to learn these languages and preserve them. But it's a daunting task for only a small army. Since the majority of taxpayers are like you and don't value other cultures, more money goes into subsidies for corporate tobacco plantations than grants for linguistics.
    You don't have as much cultural heritage as either Sam or me, if you place so little value on other cultures. Culture is recursive; to be "cultured" includes being curious about the way other people do things, always alert for something they do better, something we could borrow. Or something that is just interesting.
    Obviously a dialect of a language is not as important as an entire language, from some cosmic perspective. It is not as rich a trove of motifs since it shares far more of them with its co-dialects and with the "standard" dialect than even the closest-related languages do such as Czech and Slovak or Danish and Norwegian. But they're still worth studying and people do study them. More to the point of your question, no 20th century dialect of American English will be "lost" even if people stop speaking it, because there are a zillion recordings of it in writing, film, music, etc. Anyone who wants to look for an elusive motif in Ebonics in the 25th century can just go to the "rap music" files in the Galactic Library.
    I haven't seen a ruling on that from the Linguistic Council of Elders. But I personally would call it a dialect of French. When you consider that petit is pronounced p'ti, the Cajun pronunciation ti is not very different. The fact that they just go ahead and spell it that way makes their dialect seem more different from French French than it really is. I don't know of any study that put a Frenchman and a Cajun together to see if they learned to understand each other with only a little effort, the way a person from Beijing and one from Sichuan always do. My marginally educated guess is that they would, since anglophones armed only with high school French have puzzled out the lyrics to zydeco songs.

    As to it being "French not spoken properly," that's a judgment call that linguists should avoid. Brits say we don't speak English properly even though if it came to a vote we'd win if we could overcome our traditional apathy about elections. "Proper speaking" is ephemeral and a matter of perspective. If Elizabeth II could meet Elizabeth I, she would call her language lower-class and "improper." A dialect is a language spoken differently. You have to drill down pretty close to the level of an idiolect, the language of a single person, before you dare call it "improper."
     
  20. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    And is it also the reason that most of those you've named live in dire poverty and hunger, live in mud huts with dirt floors, and are highly suseptible to diseases? And you call that survival?

    And those you've named, who value their cultures highly, have actually done what in the last thousand years? ...while the western culture has had to help them in many, many ways, not the least of which is curing diseases that those cultures lived with for thousands of years and did nothing about it? And you value that?

    Baron Max
     
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Good! If I'm not mistaken, we're a nation of voters and taxpayers ...and we should have a say in whether to spend money on foolish bullshit like ancient languages or spend if wisely subsidizing tobacco farmers!

    Baron Max
     
  22. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    And lest you forget, it was the western culture which provided many of the cures for diseases that were and are rampant in many older cultures of the world ....the cultures that you value because they lived for thousands of years and did nothing to fight those diseases!

    And you call that contributing? And you malign the western cultures that provided the cures for diseases for the backward cultures?

    If the west hadn't helped those other nations, their culture would still be what it was thousands of years ago ....little more than poverty-stricken lands full of starvation and disease.

    Baron Max
     
  23. peta9 Registered Senior Member

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    Hold up. Fighting disease and culture are two different things. Just because someone has made some advances that benefit others doesn't mean that other cultures do not have any value in themselves.

    Just as the west was not always advanced either in every way. It takes time and as one culture makes headway, another improves on it and so forth.
     

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