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Defensive of your language?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by JazzTD, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. JazzTD

    JazzTD Dreamer

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    I'm a native English and Spanish speaker, absolutely and completely bilingual from being raised by bilinguals, I learnt them at the same time and can speak them both fluently (although my spelling is better in English mind you).

    That being said I favor the English language immensely, when being told that Spanish is fabulous I usually counter it with the fact that English is my favorite, now when I'm talking to my friend who is a writer and avid Spanish loving person and I the exact same thing in English you can imagine it causes some friction.

    Has this ever happened to you? Do you love your language or just enjoy writing? Is there a difference? :confused::confused:

    Oh gosh I confused myself trying to explain this. :(
     
  2. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    There is a related post over in writing questions that you might find useful as well.

    I really dislike people who refuse to learn English when they live in English speaking countries, but that is just me. So give your parents a great big hug!

    As for written work once again it is a matter of whom your target is. You can't write in Spanish and expect that it will do well outside of the Spanish speaking market. A few words here and there WITH an explination is fine but half a book written in what for many ammounts to aramaic is not going to fly.

    Hope that helps.
    ~BL~
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    This isn't quite the same thing, but to get a discussion going...

    I do sometimes get annoyed when people try and push everyone into learning languages that they don't need to learn. I think it would be better to spend the time learning to speak one language very well than to speak another language that you may not really need. I guess there's other factors to consider if you're outside the U.S. though
     
  4. JazzTD

    JazzTD Dreamer

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    Indeed, but it also goes the other way around, sometimes people in other countries just don't bother to learn the language of the place they're living in. Anywho, I do adore my parents for it, they spoke to me in Spanish at home and then sent me off to a day-care to be spoken to in English since I was four-six months old. c:

    I mean more like liking the language, not exactly aiming at the audience when writing.

    Like personally I find English absolutely beautiful, I love how it's written and spoken, I love to learn about it. But when I read in Spanish or speak in Spanish I just don't find it that ... beautiful even though I know it inside and out.

    So I'm a bit curious to see if some people just like writing or actually love the language to the point of fighting over it(ahem, not that I'd ever do that). If there's even a difference between the two.

    Edit:

    @Devor Yes, throughout middle school and halfway through high school I was forced to take French classes as well as English and Spanish, truthfully after over four years of learning French all I can say is "I cannot speak French" and "Cheese". Apparently now they have a mandatory Mandarin class as well ... not sure what that's about. ._.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  5. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    I agree with The Blue Lotus that people should learn the language of the country they live in whatever that is. I'm quite defensive of my language because I believe that language is one of the most important parts of a nation's cultural and historical idendity. Learning a language spoken and understood in wide parts of the world such as English surely is a very sensible thing to do for various reasons but that doesn't mean the native language should be given up completely.
    It's the language most people know best and therefore it's the logical choice to write a novel in. In Germany and in many other countries as well I assume, there are still plenty of people not comfortable enough with the English language to enjoy reading books in it. Forcing them to buy translations of "my" potential book into my own language sounds rather foolish to me.
    If it is considered worthwhile, professional translators will translate it into English (and into Spanish, French and the language of everyone else interested as well.) If it's not good enough for that, the English-speaking world should be glad that they didn't have to waste their time on it. ;)

    Speaking different languages can be very helpful for fantasy world-building though and people with English as their first language aren't being hurt if they learn something else as well. Given the number of Spanish speakting countries close to the US, learning this language wouldn't be such an unreasonable idea for Americans.
     
  6. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    Oh, I'll fight for my language. Make no mistake, I will throw down with someone who disses it. However, when in Rome...
    But, I love learning new langs it is just one of my many "kinks" I suppose.
    Moreover, in reply to do some people just like writing in one or the other, Sure. I enjoy writing in Hindi be it the Romanized alph or the Script, but, English is my first love. <3
     
  7. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

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    I only speak English, but I love learning other languages. And yes, I think English can be absolutely beautiful. Someday I'd like to speak Japanese and Welsh (random, I know) well enough to understand poetry and literature in those languages.
     
  8. fleamailman

    fleamailman Closed Account

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    ("...to speak two languages is to have two outlooks on life..." mentioned the goblin who really only disliked two things those who refused to learn english and those anglophones who refused to learn anything else, adding "...ah but globalization must not become conglomerization through ease now, so each individual has to fight to retain theirs roots while adapting to their surroundings, where if not one becomes like tumbleweed, rootless that is...")
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  9. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Languages are tightly bound up in cultures, which is why people get so defensive about them in my opinion. At the simplest, languages are a means to an end - a means for transmitting information and ideas. No more. They should be interchangeable and neutral, and everyone should use whichever language best suits their needs.

    Of course, that isn't quite feasible, as we need time to learn new languages and because of the aforementioned linkage with culture. Too, languages are not equal (I've heard some folks says this or that language is best for this or that field, for instance, but that likely has a cause in where this or that field originated and advanced greatly) nor are they necessarily just a means to an end. Beautiful language has and continues to be an end in and of itself, if done well enough (cough, Shakespeare, cough).

    I did not grow up bilingual, but I learned Spanish in college. For a time I was near fluent but sadly I haven't had much reason to use it since (which ticks me off as I spent a lot of money to take those classes!). Even when I was fluent, though, I used Spanish when I needed it and I used English when I needed it. I enjoy learning and using other languages, but not because I think one or the other is better. All languages are capable of sounding beautiful, I am certain. Even German... ;)

    I still hope to continue learning languages, though I hear it gets harder as you get older. I don't think much of my personal cultural identity is bound up in what language I happen to speak natively, so I always find it funny when an immigrant refuses to learn a language - or if a native refuses to learn a language, even, provided that learning the language would be beneficial. Means to an end, people. Communication is good.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    My daughters are bilingual (English/Cantonese).

    My students are learning English as a Second Language (ESL), Spanish being their first language.

    Some want to learn English, some don't. I tell them that their native language and cultural connections are important. However, English is the language of this country. To speak it well in addition to Spanish, or any other language(s), is advantageous. To refuse to learn English, or to learn it well, is setting yourself up for failure.

    EDIT- @Telcontor, you're absolutely right! The older you are the harder it is. Beginners in high school have a hard time learning English, and this difficulty due to age (and background knowledge) is coupled with the frustration of seeing their peers excel. Learning Cantonese at thirty-something is torture, especially when it's optional, making it easy for me to "opt out" (or take it reeeeeeeaaaaaaalllllllly slooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww..........


    ...ly).

    @Jazz, one of my freshmen told me she "likes English better," so I get what you're saying about the preference.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  11. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    You know bugs me the most?

    I used to work in retail, and I had this lady come in she bought exactly 1$ worth of items.
    She handed me a 100$ bill, when I asked her if she had anything smaller she had no idea what I was saying.
    So I was like "One Dollar" holding up 1 finger
    and she replies "One dollar" waving at the 100$ bill...
    I mean really If I had been a dishonest person I could have pocketed the money and she would have been none the wiser. :( I was 17 back then.

    Also I'm sorry but I should not have to press "1" for English in my own country. Pess what ever you need for your language but why do I have to sit there and hear it if I already speak it? UGH!!!

    When I worked in healthcare I translated a lot, man that was a trippy job, we had one guy come in who spoke Creole, no one in the place understood a word he said. I went in and asked in French is he understood and could communicate in French. Thankfully he could! But, it could have just as easily been that he did not and then how would anyone help him? I mean it is not just a matter of taste, it can mean life and death in some cases.

    Working in a gas station I had a coworker come up and ask me to go back to the sandwich area because she had a "mute" trying to order and she could not make out what they wanted by the handwriting...

    So I lock my register and go back and Sign with the guy while telling her what he wanted... when I got back upfront my (spanish speaking) Assistant Manager cussed a blue streak saying it was "unnessasary" to go back and sign, because they can write.

    The only reply that I could think of and voice mind you was that the only differeance between the people I translate for and the ones she does it for is that That guy has no choice, he can't help it where as her Spanish speakers chose to not learn the flipping language in the place they chose to call "Home!"

    Needless to say that went over really well until I pointed out that if in fact you have someone on the property the company has a duty to provide translation services regardless of much they don't want to.

    She left me alone after that and business from the deaf community started pouring in after word got around that someone there signed. They even followed me when I transfered stores clear across the bay!

    I really should have asked for a raise!
     
  12. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    I have an acquaintance who is so xenophobic that she gets all indignant if she hears a couple having a private conversation in another language while they're waiting in the supermarket line. There are also workplaces what mandate that employees can't speak to one another in a non-English language while they're at work, which I think is wrong. What do I care if the janitors are gossiping to each other in Spanish while they sweep, as long as they're not pointing at me and laughing while they're doing it?

    On the other hand, I sometimes get frustrated when employees of a business don't speak English well enough for us to make ourselves understood to each other. I have been to eight or ten dry cleaners in this region, because I can't find one that has someone who speaks English well enough for me to explain what alterations I want done. Also, when I go through the drive-thru at the local McDonalds', I refer to it as "multicultural potluck night" because none of the employees taking orders speak English very well, and you just never know what you're going to get when you reach the pick-up window. Sometimes it's what you asked for; but often it's not. Asking "hold the mayo" throws them into a tizzy of confusion.

    That said, I think it's great for people to learn a second (or more!) language. I don't have much talent for it, but I've been trying off and on since high school.
     
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy Scribe

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    I was never very interested in foreign languages in school, I regret dropping them now. Especially when travelling. I think my problem was that my schooling wasn't consistent enough. In primary school I had to learn Italian. And in High school I had to learn French and Japanese, and I hated my Japanese teacher and my french teacher was pretty annoying too. So it didn't go very well. If I'd just had one language drilled into me all through my school years I'm sure it would have stuck more.

    Learning a second language can help a lot in understanding the structure and usage of your native language. It's a very valuable skill, but really you have to encourage it in children when they're young. And get them to use it often and consistently. Otherwise it tends to just fizzle out. My sister was fluent in Italian when she was younger, but she hadn't used it for so long that when she went to Italy for a couple of weeks it wasn't much use to her. Course if she'd stayed there longer I'm sure it would have come back to her.

    I too think it's annoying that some people never bother to learn English if they've moved to an English speaking country. Rude more than anything else really. If I even go somewhere for a holiday I try and at least learn a bit of the language. If I moved overseas to a non-english speaking country, learning the language would be a very high priority. But whatever.

    Signing does look interesting, I'd kinda like to give that a go one day.

    But the quest to master English continues, and it is enough for now. :D
     
  14. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Hey. ;)

    In my opinion, it's a matter of respect to speak the language of the country where someone living or working for a long time. This also applies if the language in question is not English. Expecting everyone to speak your own language without bothering with theirs at all is, well how do I put it without offending anyone, not very polite. Besides that, getting along there is much easier if someone can communicate with the common people living their properly. Telling someone at a bakery what you want for example, might be difficult without being able to speak German. Even though pointing at it might help as well. ;) Sometimes people don't even know what you want if you don't use their local term and have to resort to pointing as well.
    In German schools, English is compulsory for everyone, but that doesn't mean that everyone will understand or speak it well after school. In other countries such as France this isn't even the case and you'd meet many people who don't speak any English at all.
    Maybe, living in Europe where many people with different languages live in a relatively small area, the need to learn foreign languages seems much greater than in the US. A common language for the EU isn't in sight and I think that's good even though it does make some things more difficult. It wouldn't be easy to choose one anyway, English doesn't make much sense given how the only country speaking it as a first language doesn't seem to be too interested in the EU anymore. But still interested enough for the British Prime Minister to become deeply offended by some German politician saying that "Europe is speaking German again." Language can be a severe issue even there.
     
  15. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    LOL Kit,
    Your friend would last all of 5 mins in our house.
    I understand where she is coming from however. Siva and his friends sit around talking in Tamil, a language I have tried to learn but have failed at in a grand fashion. I get tired of reminding them that when people who do not understand the languge are underfoot it is considered rude to blather on endlessly about God above only knows what. I mean they could be saying my butt is big for all I know...

    Which leads us to why most people get so bent out of shape over this matter. Since we have no clue what is being said, we feel like they might be bad mouthing us and it tends to get feathers in a ruffel.

    I know for a fact that people use this tactic, because while working in my friends dress shop (Indian dress) I was helping a customer who wanted to know the price of an item. Sadly my friend has an amazing memory and never taged anything... I had to call and ask, while doing so the ladies stood there saying I was a "Stupid American" and some other pointless jabs.
    When I hung up the call I replied in Hindi as to the price of the item and to never assume that someone does not understand them.
     
  16. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello, native Castilian speaker here =) First, I want to say that there are many languages in Spain and all of them are Spanish, but the language that is usually known as spanish is actually Castilian!! Saying "spanish" to mean Castilian is exactly like saying "british" to mean English, but that particular mistake cannot be changed now in the world.

    I defend my language and I love it (two of my Fantasy series are written in Castilian) and even though I have been learning English for my entire life, I feel that the language is always one step ahead of me and I never seem to really grasp all of it- English is today the language of Fantasy literature, almost all of the successful Fantasy series are written in English and so many Fantasy authors hail from English-speaking countries...

    As a native speaker of Castilian I feel that this is a disadvantage for me, but I am writing my Joan of England series in English and I really wish to publish it someday =)

    Some people say that English is ugly and boring, others say that it's beautiful... the truth is that all languages can be beautiful or ugly depending on how they are used!! Anyway, I was raised to believe that English is the language of superior people, a superior language, the one and only, the best of the world, with it you are powerful and without it you are nobody, Castilian and all other languages of the world are worthless... and sadly I cannot take those ideas out of my head, no matter how hard I try =(
     
  17. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Seriously? Where did this happen?

    Anyway, writing a world bestseller such as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter isn't a realistic idea for most of us. And if we do after all, it will get translated for other parts of the world. I don't think that writing for youe home markt at first is a bad idea. Fantasy writing will be inspired by your own background and therefore most relatable for people with a similar one. At least, if you're not trying to copy Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter which is surely going to fail compared to the original. Despite of this, I could actually imagine good stories written about a German wizarding school but I'm shying away from it myself because every wizarding school set in the real world probably will seem derivative after the great success of Harry Potter.
     
  18. JazzTD

    JazzTD Dreamer

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    Erm, I've heard about the whole different Spanish things(since my grandfather didn't speak Castilian Spanish dialect even though he was from Spain) and different regions of Spain have different variants of it, in Spanish literature class it was Literatura Castellana for example(and that I understood since that type of Spanish is considered Castilian), but other than that I just generalize it and call it Spanish. Which for me, in my head, refers to Mexican Style Spanish although there are very many different versions of it around the world(even within a country), though most try and stick to the RAE(Real Academia Española) there are always going to be different variants, be it in English or Spanish or any other language it will always evolve in one way or another.

    In any case I don't believe there is a superior language even if I absolutely adore the English language(modern, mind you). It is always a matter of preference as seen by my brother who was raised beside me and cannot speak either language fluently even though he only knows English and Spanish.

    Of course there may be a monopoly of fantasy books written in a certain language if it is more common, but that does not mean it is superior in any way shape or form.

    So what I meant by this topic wasn't about people learning the languages of places they live in or visit or finding it rude when they do or don't regardless of reason, but more as a "do you feel attached to your language enough to be competitive that it is the best?" kind of situation. Or a "do you just like to write or are you enamored with the language you write in in and of itself?".

    :confused:
     
  19. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    In my family and the freak elitist schools that I was sent to =P

    @JazzTD: In answer to these specific questions, yes I am attached to my language enough to defend it... and I feel enough love for it to write many of my Fantasy novels in Castilian instead of the clear advantage that English gives you, at least in the world of Fantasy literature =)
     
  20. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    If the work is good, it will be translated. So really it matters not!

    However when dealing with people in the states it is always best to use English as a good portion of us have bulked at being "forced" to learn spanish of any sort. It is changing slowly, my sister is bilingual Spanish/English. However here "Spanish" usualy means either Mexico or Cuba, not sure if that makes a huge difference or not. I know spanish in Spain is vastly different from those two.
     
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