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Old 06-03-2009, 02:24 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,341 posts, read 9,988,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeledaf View Post
I do not for a moment support the ham-handed, quasi-fascistic way they have gone about it: in effect, by punishing and discriminating against the anglophones who have lived there as long as the francophones have.
I agree with this too.

Devil's advocate question: Is there any similarity to this treatment of anglophones in Québec and the treatment of a traditional culture/langauge in the soutwestern US? (grab those heart pills! )
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,574,557 times
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Premise: In a substantial geographical area, the language spoken by a significant majority of the population ought to be recognized as that region's working language.

Do you agree or disagree with this premise? If you partly agree, under what circumstances would you agree or disagree?

Let us consider Cameron County, Texas, pop. 335,000 (Brownsville). English is spoken at home by 21% of them. English is spoken poorly or not at all by about the same, 21%, Spanish is spoken at home by 78%. So you have 1/5 speaking English all the time, 1/5 who cannot speak English, and the remaining 3/5 speak Spanish at home but somewhat bilingual. Presumably, the County Council is predominantly Spanish speaking, and has sufficient voting power to make Spanish an official language of Cameron County. Do they have the constitutional aurhority to do so? Even more interesting, do they have the constitutional authority to make Spanish the only official language of Cameron County?

Last edited by jtur88; 06-03-2009 at 05:07 PM..
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:44 PM
 
48,519 posts, read 81,048,183 times
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I don't get it either'my wifes family speaks cajun french in Louisana but the normall spkoen language is english.Wroks well.
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:53 AM
 
365 posts, read 1,023,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Correct me if I’m wrong, but your vote is that their struggle is unjustified because although they are a majority within their region (a very LARGE region of 600,000 square miles), it is ‘overruled’ by being within an even larger non-French speaking region. In our case, we are justified because our region just happens to encompass our entire nation.

My vote is they are justified (as are we) because the region is very large, the language is traditional to the area, the culture is unique to them, business is conducted in that language, and daily life is overwhelmingly carried out in that language.

Other votes? I should have made it a poll: Do you support Québec’s desire to retain their language, tradition, and culture or not? Why? How do you compare it to the US struggle to retain English only?

--------------------------------------------------------------


Here's a hypothetical for you: let’s say the entire western half and eastern seaboard of the US became majority Spanish speaking. Let’s say the Spanish language was (by popular vote) made official. You live in the middle, still speaking English. What would your attitude be toward your English at that point? After all, it would be for the good of the entire nation if you learned Spanish, wouldn’t it? I’ll bet most of you would refuse to give it up... whether or not it is for the common ‘good.’ In fact, I’ll bet many of you would become quite militant about it. Sound familiar?

In response to your 1st question: Their (Quebec) struggle is justified.
But again, I see it as two totally different cases.
Firstly we are talking about two different countries (USA and Canada/Quebec) with different historical contexts, political systems and dare I say it - different characters.
When the British (i.e. Canada) defeated the French (i.e. Quebec) on the battlefield back in 1759, the Brit realized they won the battle but could not survive a brutal winter with the people in insurrection. So they made concession and made compromises to keep the peace. One of those was allowing the French their language and customs. On can argue this has been the Canadian way ever since - compromise.
The US on the other hand, has a different history and character. Territory taken from Spain/Mexico was done largely without compromise.

As for your second question: if hypothetically, large swaths of the country became Spanish-speaking and Spanish started to become the language of business and government, then there is little doubt that I would learn Spanish while retaining English and my (largely) Anglo cultural trappings. Nothing is wrong with bi-lingualism etc. People here in Canada do it all the time. You speak one language in your house, and you speak another at your work. My biggest regret as a Canadian is not becoming more proficient in French. It's a skill that opens more doors. There's only a problem with people forcing you to abandon your culture.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,087,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by west_end_don View Post
As for your second question: if hypothetically, large swaths of the country became Spanish-speaking and Spanish started to become the language of business and government, then there is little doubt that I would learn Spanish while retaining English and my (largely) Anglo cultural trappings. Nothing is wrong with bi-lingualism etc. People here in Canada do it all the time. You speak one language in your house, and you speak another at your work. My biggest regret as a Canadian is not becoming more proficient in French. It's a skill that opens more doors. There's only a problem with people forcing you to abandon your culture.
New flash. In the southwestern states this has always been the case. In fact in most southwestern states there are specific laws enfranchising and requiring contract to be written in Spanish. As a general rule, a contact must be written in the language that was used to negotiate the contract. Lots of Spanish language real estate and automobile contracts are written in the Southwest.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:24 AM
 
28,906 posts, read 45,220,684 times
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There is a logical disconnect in your OP, namely that the two situations are identical.

In the case of Quebec, it's a situation where a French-speaking region was absorbed by an English-speaking nation, and has remained a very substantial part of that country's population.

In the case of the United States, it is true that the United States took the Southwest during the Mexican War, but that area was very sparsely populated, and it was the United States that developed the area. So the Spanish-speaking population that is now in the United States overwhelmingly immigrated from elsewhere.

Let me put it this way. What if, unlikely as it may seem, a very large number of Americans decided to move to Costa Rica? After all, it's a stable country with good infrastructure and a low cost of living. Now, let's say that 600,000 Americans wound up being expatriates in that country. That is roughly the same percentage of Latinos in our country today. But what if, suddenly, those 600,000 began demanding that the Costa Rican government began doing business in English as well as Spanish? Wouldn't that be the height of hubris?
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:25 AM
 
365 posts, read 1,023,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlchurch View Post
New flash. In the southwestern states this has always been the case. In fact in most southwestern states there are specific laws enfranchising and requiring contract to be written in Spanish. As a general rule, a contact must be written in the language that was used to negotiate the contract. Lots of Spanish language real estate and automobile contracts are written in the Southwest.

I wasn't aware that it was codified in law. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
The various states within the US likely have more leeway with regards to governance than Canadian provinces. In Canada there is a strong federal system.
So what’s the problem with a State in the Southwest with large Spanish speaking population (and history) becoming de facto bi-lingual, and states without a large Spanish population maintaining the English-only status quo?
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:28 AM
 
365 posts, read 1,023,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
There is a logical disconnect in your OP, namely that the two situations are identical.

In the case of Quebec, it's a situation where a French-speaking region was absorbed by an English-speaking nation, and has remained a very substantial part of that country's population.

In the case of the United States, it is true that the United States took the Southwest during the Mexican War, but that area was very sparsely populated, and it was the United States that developed the area. So the Spanish-speaking population that is now in the United States all immigrated from elsewhere.

Let me put it this way. What if, unlikely as it may seem, a very large number of Americans decided to move to Costa Rica? After all, it's a stable country with good infrastructure and a low cost of living. Now, let's say that 600,000 Americans wound up being expatriates in that country. That is roughly the same percentage of Latinos in our country today. But what if, suddenly, those 600,000 began demanding that the Costa Rican government began doing business in English as well as Spanish? Wouldn't that be the height of hubris?
Thank you. Two separate issues.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,574,557 times
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How places historically became what they are today should not have a bearing on whether people there today have language rights or not.

The constitution of the Philippines was written in Spanish, a mere 111 years ago. There has been no significant immigration. The people just stopped using Spanish, reverted to their own native Tagalog, and made the practical switch to English as their second language. No government mandates "forced" them to---they just said "This is best for us" and did it. Now, nearly everyone is functionally bilingual, which is a good thing, but cannot read their own constitution, which may be unfortunate but not tragic.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,574,557 times
Reputation: 35864
How places historically became what they are today should not have a bearing on whether people there today have language rights or not.

The constitution of the Philippines was written in Spanish, a mere 111 years ago. There has been no significant immigration. The people just stopped using Spanish, reverted to their own native Tagalog, and made the practical switch to English as their second language, which is almost universally understood. (You may reacall, the Corazon Aquino election campaign there was conducted almost entirely in English, partly to benefit the US media.) No government mandates "forced" them to---they just said "This is best for us" and did it. Now, nearly everyone is functionally bilingual, which is a good thing, but cannot read their own constitution, which may be unfortunate but not tragic.

In the island nation of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. English is the official language, after over a century of British rule.. Yet, none of the million-plus inhabitants speak English, and when I was there 30 years ago, there wasn't a single English newspaper or radio station, and no signs were in English anywhere.

Language of Mauritius (from Wikipedia) (I'll reproduce the whole thing, for it is invigorating read on this topic)

In Mauritius, people switch languages according to the occasion. Over the course of a day a typical Mauritian might use English to write a school essay, Creole Morisien to chat with friends and French to read a novel.[24]

The Indian Ocean country's constitution makes no mention of an official language and its one million citizens speak either English, French, Hindi or Mauritian Creole—a French patois.

Only in parliament is English stipulated as the official language—but lawmakers are allowed to address the speaker in French.[25][26][27] However, even if English is generally accepted as the official language of Mauritius and as the language of government administration and the court business, the lingua franca remains French.[28][29] Road signs are in English, and most newspapers and media communications are in French, and while exams are written in English, during business meetings and in the work environment, French is used.[30] It appears that English and French can co-exist in harmony here.[31]

Moreover, Creole, which is spoken by 90 per cent of the population, was developed in the 18th century by slaves who used a pidgin language to communicate with each other as well as with their French masters, who did not understand the various African languages. The pidgin evolved with later generations to become a useful, casual language.[32] Mauritian Creole has close ties with French pronunciation, but with a few marked differences and is considered to be the native tongue of the country. Other languages spoken in Mauritius include Hindi, Urdu, Hakka (a Chinese dialect) and Bojpoori (also written "Bhojpuri"), which is an amalgamation of several Indian dialects spoken by the early Indian settlers[33]. Most Mauritians are at least bilingual, if not trilingual

Last edited by jtur88; 06-04-2009 at 08:59 AM..
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