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In a message dated 3/21/01 9:31:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:


> "The Story of English" was extremely well done, and I assume the facts 
> were pretty accurate, but the thesis it promoted was, in my view, very 
> problematic.  The only section I could really evaluate was on Scots (and to 
> some extent Gaelic), and I found it infuriating in its assumptions about 
> the 
> wonderful way English supplanted them.  It simply did not happen that way 
> nor was its priviliging welcomed. 
> 
The world seems to be moving towards an "international" culture or 
monoculture, which is good in some ways and bad in others. I hope we'll be 
able to do this and still retain the best of each "minority" culture being 
supplanted. I think, however, that it might be misleading to politicize this 
or paint it as a form of oppression. 

One has to allow people in any part of the world to live their individual 
lives in the way they want. If a Mayan Indian wants to go to Bahrain and 
become a petrochemical engineer, that's the person's right, even though it 
might remove him or her from the mainstream of Mayan culture. If people in 
Russia or China like fast food, and are willing to stand in line at a 
McDonald's restaurant, that's their right, even though I'm sure there are 
other people in China and Russia (and plenty of Americans) who hate the idea 
of fast food.

There's no alternative to this kind of dissemination that isn't oppressive in 
itself, besides being completely unworkable. The UN can't just order everyone 
in the world to live in the "traditional" way their ancestors did, and speak 
the ancestral language. A significant number of people want to make other 
choices, and it's been quite a while since most people in the West seriously 
followed the ancestral ways. Sure there are peasants in Turkey still baking 
bread in stone ovens. But there are also people in Istanbul living much as 
one might live in any large city anywhere.  And we don't need to necessarily 
see the city dwellers as traitors to any nationalist or ethnic cause.

English seems to be becoming, so to speak, the lingua franca of the Internet. 
The advantage of a worldwide language (remember Esperanto!) is that it 
fosters communication. Certainly one can find unfairness in whatever language 
it happens to be, just as one can find unfairness in modern businesses all 
over the world having to use such untraditional tools as computers, 
telephones, and cash registers. But I do think it's an unstoppable trend, and 
the world in the end forgets the unfairness. The trend is judged by its 
results. I'm not saying this is right or wrong. Just that I don't see any way 
of addressing what you perceive as oppression without instituting a greater 
oppression--the tyranny of the group.  That's the "stay with your own kind" 
(and preserve the culture) theory which has already been tried, and not 
everyone liked the results. 

pat


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<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT  SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>In a message dated 3/21/01 9:31:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
<BR>[log in to unmask] writes:
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">"The Story of English" was extremely well done, and I assume the facts 
<BR>were pretty accurate, but the thesis it promoted was, in my view, very 
<BR>problematic. &nbsp;The only section I could really evaluate was on Scots (and to 
<BR>some extent Gaelic), and I found it infuriating in its assumptions about 
<BR>the 
<BR>wonderful way English supplanted them. &nbsp;It simply did not happen that way 
<BR>nor was its priviliging welcomed. 
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>The world seems to be moving towards an "international" culture or 
<BR>monoculture, which is good in some ways and bad in others. I hope we'll be 
<BR>able to do this and still retain the best of each "minority" culture being 
<BR>supplanted. I think, however, that it might be misleading to politicize this 
<BR>or paint it as a form of oppression. 
<BR>
<BR>One has to allow people in any part of the world to live their individual 
<BR>lives in the way they want. If a Mayan Indian wants to go to Bahrain and 
<BR>become a petrochemical engineer, that's the person's right, even though it 
<BR>might remove him or her from the mainstream of Mayan culture. If people in 
<BR>Russia or China like fast food, and are willing to stand in line at a 
<BR>McDonald's restaurant, that's their right, even though I'm sure there are 
<BR>other people in China and Russia (and plenty of Americans) who hate the idea 
<BR>of fast food.
<BR>
<BR>There's no alternative to this kind of dissemination that isn't oppressive in 
<BR>itself, besides being completely unworkable. The UN can't just order everyone 
<BR>in the world to live in the "traditional" way their ancestors did, and speak 
<BR>the ancestral language. A significant number of people want to make other 
<BR>choices, and it's been quite a while since most people in the West seriously 
<BR>followed the ancestral ways. Sure there are peasants in Turkey still baking 
<BR>bread in stone ovens. But there are also people in Istanbul living much as 
<BR>one might live in any large city anywhere. &nbsp;And we don't need to necessarily 
<BR>see the city dwellers as traitors to any nationalist or ethnic cause.
<BR>
<BR>English seems to be becoming, so to speak, the lingua franca of the Internet. 
<BR>The advantage of a worldwide language (remember Esperanto!) is that it 
<BR>fosters communication. Certainly one can find unfairness in whatever language 
<BR>it happens to be, just as one can find unfairness in modern businesses all 
<BR>over the world having to use such untraditional tools as computers, 
<BR>telephones, and cash registers. But I do think it's an unstoppable trend, and 
<BR>the world in the end forgets the unfairness. The trend is judged by its 
<BR>results. I'm not saying this is right or wrong. Just that I don't see any way 
<BR>of addressing what you perceive as oppression without instituting a greater 
<BR>oppression--the tyranny of the group. &nbsp;That's the "stay with your own kind" 
<BR>(and preserve the culture) theory which has already been tried, and not 
<BR>everyone liked the results. 
<BR>
<BR>pat
<BR></B></FONT></HTML>

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