LANGUAGE and TRADE Esperanto was created in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s by Dr. Ludovic Zamenhof, a Jewish ophthalmologist during the time of the Russian empire. He created this language to foster harmony between people from different countries. Esperanto was an artificial language that he hoped would eventually become the first or second language of all peoples everywhere.
Before Zamenhof invented Esperanto, there werehad been 2 previous attempts, but they failedbecause it was too complicated.Because of the earlier failures, the popularity andenthusiasm had waned by the time Zamenhofinvented Esperanto. Political persecution alsomade it more difficult for Zamenof.It took 3 attempts and 10 years for Zamenhof tocomplete his first book of Esperanto grammar inJuly, 1887 (published in Poland). What was thebasis of the new language?In the early 20th century (1905), the first worldcongress of Esperanto speakers was held inFrance to promote an international movement.Why did the initiative fail? Would anotherattempt be successful today?
LINGUA FRANCA Centuries before the Esperanto experiment, traders speaking different languages were forced to find ways to communicate for trade. The result was the emergence of a lingua franca. Explain where the term comes from and how it was created. Today the term lingua franca is still used to denote any common language spoken by people’s with different native tongues.
One of the best modern examples of alingua franca is Swahili, the linguafranca of East Africa. How didSwahili develop?
CREOLIZATIONLanguage is likely to change when relocation diffusion sends speakers of a language farfrom their homeland (ex: Australian English v. American English).In some cases, a language changes much more radically, where through contact withanother language it can be simplified and modified to become a pidgin. Over time a pidgin language may itself become the mother tongue as the original languages are forgotten. This form of language replacement is known as creolization. The original pidgin becomes a lingua franca and is referred to as a creole language. This language evolution occurred, among other places, in the West Indies. Pidgin and creole languages are important unifying forces in a linguistically divided world.
CREOLIZATION (LANGUAGE REPLACEMENT) EUROPEAN HAITI A LINGUA FRANCALANGUAGES CALLED A PIDGEN NATIVE EVOLVES (A MIX OF LANGUAGES MULTIPLE LANGUAGES). AFRICANLANGUAGES OVER TIME, THE PIDGEN BECOMES THE STANDARD LANGUAGE AND IS CALLED A CREOLE.
MULTILINGUALISMThere are only a few monolingual states, countries in which only one language is spoken(Japan). In reality there is no truly monolingual country. Countries in which more thanone language is spoken are called multilingual states. In some countries linguisticfragmentation reflects strong cultural pluralism as well as divisive forces.
CANADA BILINGUALISMModern Canada is a product of combining a large, dominantly French-speaking territory,Quebec, with an even larger, mainly English-speaking area centered on neighboringOntario.
The British North American Act of 1867,creating the Canadian federation,guaranteed Quebec its French heritage.And as early as 1774 the British hadpassed the Quebec Act, whereby theapprox. 60,000 French residents couldretain Catholicism and many of their oldcustoms and institutions.Thus, there is an historic track record ofrecognizing and protecting the minorityFrench heritage.
The French heritage in Quebec is strongly demonstrated in the province’s architecture &language. Despite good-faith efforts on the part of the national Canadian govt. inOttawa, ….
….generations later, Canada remains a divided society and language lies at the heart of thedivision. What percent of Quebec’s population speaks French at home?
Many Quebecers feel threatened by the English-speaking majority in theircountry. In 1977, the Quebec provincial parliament passed a law to “protect”its language. The Canadian Supreme Court promptly overturned it.In 1988, Quebec enacted another law that not only reinstated the old law,but also added a regulation banning any outdoor commercial signs not inFrench. Predictably, there was a backlash in the rest of Canada.
Tensions culminated between Montreal and Ottawa to the point that Quebec has held aseries of referendums to break away from Canada. With each vote, the separatistscame closer to achieving their goal. Is the provincial govt. serious about secession, or isit a leverage move?The stakes are high for both Canada and Quebec. The U.S. does not support a divided Canada(stability is the issue). No one is sure how the Canadian govt. would react to Quebec secession.Currently there is a tense calm while one side waits for the other to act.
BELGIUM Belgium is another bilingual country facing some challenges. Belgium is divided into Flanders and Wallonia. What is the predominant language in each area? What is the language status in Brussels, the capital? What is the majority language in the capital? Thus, like Canada, Belgium faces threats of division, but it has been able to remain intact and function effectively as a country.
NIGERIAWhy is Nigeria’s multilingualism much more complicated than that of either Canadaor Belgium? When Nigeria gained independence, what did the new govt. do to try toovercome the new country’s language dilemma? What was the result?
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Several dozen countries have embraced the concept of an official language. In theory, how will an official language work? Does the U.S. have an official language?
In the past, colonialism was the primary factor creating multilingualism (FrenchCanadians). In more recent times, migrations are the primary factor. Currently, a language debate rages in parts of the U.S., centered around the growing Hispanic presence. Recently, Hispanics became the largest minority group in the country.
The debate centers on the suggestion of making Spanish an official language in thecountry, or to designate English as the country’s official language and relegate Spanish tosecondary status.The debate has divided both mainstream Americans and Hispanic-Americans.
Many former colonies adopted the colonist’s language as their official language – why?
TOPONYMYToponymy is the systematic study of place names. Place names can reveal muchabout a culture area even when time has erased other evidence (examples).Two-part names consist of two parts, sometimes connected and sometimesseparate: a specific (given) part and a generic (or classifying) part (examples).
CLASSIFICATION of PLACE NAMESHistorian George Stewart classified place names into 10 categories:descriptive associative incident possessive commemorative commendatory folk-etymology manufactured mistake shiftEach of these categories contains cultural-geographic evidence.
CHANGING PLACE NAMESLike language, the names of places can elicit strong passions because of the symbolismit may represent.Changes in the names of cities and towns seem to evoke stronger reactions thanchanges in the names of territories (consider Africa and the former Soviet Union)