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Zewu
07-26-2003, 12:13 PM
"As the legend goes, when the Turkish sultan first heard of Ubykh, the bizarre-sounding language spoken by Muslims who had emigrated from the northwestern Caucasus in the mid-19th century, he dispatched a servant to learn more.

When the servant returned, he described what a language with 83 consonants and one vowel sounded like by taking out a bag of pebbles and pouring them on the sultan's marble floor. ''Listen to these sounds,'' he said. ''Foreigners can gain no greater understanding of Ubykh speech.''

Today, if people are curious about Ubykh, they can listen to a recording instead of a handful of tumbling stones, but they can't hear it spoken in person. The last Ubykh speaker, Tevfik Esenc, died in Turkey at the age of 88 in 1992." - http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~vaux/ubykh.htm

83 consonants and one vowel!!!!! Now wouldn't that have been something to keep?

Languages; history, ways to view the world, dye. Isn't it a pity?

"Roughly half the world speaks one of 10 mega-languages as a primary, or mother, tongue. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by 16 percent of the world's population, followed by English and Spanish at 5 percent each; varieties of Arabic, 4 percent; Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali and Russian, 3 percent each, and French and Japanese, 2 percent each, Ethnologue reports.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of existing languages have 10,000 speakers or fewer, said David Harmon, who analyzed the 'Ethnologue survey and is a member of Terralingua, a society dedicated to language preservation. Languages with so few speakers are highly vulnerable to disruption. "

If your language is small, be proud of it! Don't see it as an obstacle.

Anyway, besides trying to make you aware of the situation, I can ask you this; do you think that it's good or bad that there are fewer and fewer languages spoken throughout the world?

Shogun
07-26-2003, 12:18 PM
I think it's bad, I find languges quiet intresting :)

ammar
07-26-2003, 03:35 PM
Yes it's very bad, no language should die.

And I think that if people speaking this language wanted it to remain spoken, it would not have died..

adrianxw
07-26-2003, 03:54 PM
Speaking different languages promotes misunderstanding. If we all spoke the same language, there would be one less divisive force on the planet.

Zewu
07-26-2003, 04:52 PM
Yes, Adrianxw, but before we promote everyone to a closer understanding, let us record the current languages of the world. They can teach us a lot about ourselves. History etc. you know

Fountain
07-26-2003, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by Zewu
Yes, Adrianxw, but before we promote everyone to a closer understanding, let us record the current languages of the world. They can teach us a lot about ourselves. History etc. you know


Yeh right, dont make me laugh-Think about WELSH before you speak! :D

ammar
07-27-2003, 03:56 AM
Originally posted by adrianxw
Speaking different languages promotes misunderstanding. If we all spoke the same language, there would be one less divisive force on the planet.

But at the sametime, if you are speaking a minority language, you shouldn't let it die, because it carries your culture and your history.

adrianxw
07-27-2003, 04:11 AM
>>> because it carries your culture and your history.

Firstly, I don't actually think that is the case. I think it is a romantic illusion. Secondly, what is the point of having a history and culture if you cannot communicate these to anyone else?

ammar
07-27-2003, 04:26 AM
Originally posted by adrianxw
>>> because it carries your culture and your history.

Firstly, I don't actually think that is the case. I think it is a romantic illusion. Secondly, what is the point of having a history and culture if you cannot communicate these to anyone else?

I didn't say that people speaking a minority language shouldn't learn other common languages like English...They shouldn't let their language die, and I don't think it's very difficult to speak your native language and another common language.


EDIT:
Is English your native language, if it's not, what would you think if no one was speaking your language anymore?

Clyde
07-27-2003, 06:09 AM
Interesting topic, if we replaced all the languages in the world with a single master language, many cultures would be brought much closer together, in doing so cultural differences and a specific sense of cultural identity would ultimately be reduced. That is perhaps what people are afraid of.

What you have to ask is whether that's really such a bad thing? I don't think cultural identities are really worth a great deal, but then language poses an interesting problem because I can see benefits; having diversity in how people solve problems, and even perceive can add something tangible to the human experience. If different languages merely used different phonetics for the same meanings, i would be all in favour of scrapping them all in favour of a single one, but because they are more than that in the sense that the meanings themselves can vary immensely ("information" that is simply unavailable in one language can be found in another) I think perhaps there is something worth saving. Its like you have a hundred paintings of the same scene all slightly different, none more correct that the other, despite the benefits (which probably outweigh the losses) it seems a shame to lose all the paintings but one.

Perhaps the middle road of everyone learning their 'own' languages as well as a master language is the most desirable answer.

In the end i suspect minority languages will die, in favour of the super languages, simply because ultimately the only thing that will motivate people to learn them is the cultural identity stuff and that won't last because like it or not cultures do change and they do grow more similar, which will reduce the desire to cling to old ways and old customs, as that happens i think the languages will die out in all but the academic sense.

I do think its a shame but then, perhaps its a price worth paying for greater group similarity.

adrianxw
07-27-2003, 07:53 AM
>>>
Is English your native language, if it's not, what would you think if no one was speaking your language anymore?
<<<

We speak Danish at home. When at an office, the working language is almost inevitably English. Often one simply doesn't notice which language is being used.

>>> If different languages merely used different phonetics for the same meanings,

I think that is the general case, however, I accept that this...

>>> the meanings themselves can vary immensely

... has a certain truth. I can't remember the exact number but Innuit has something like 60 words for "snow" depending on it's condition.

There are very few concepts in Danish that I could not translate to English, and vice versa.

Zewu
07-27-2003, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by adrianxw
There are very few concepts in Danish that I could not translate to English, and vice versa.
Well, adrianxw, that might also be because of that both English and Danish are of the proto-Germanic language branch, in the indo-European family tree, and grammar between these languages are similar (I know this since I know Swedish, which is practically the same as Danish, and English).

I read that there is a native American language where they use the same words for the subjects "me", "you" and "us". Now, I'm sure there are concepts in such a language that we will have a hard time translating to English or Danish, and vice versa.

I just think that your comparing English and Danish is a badly drawn example, since they are so close.

Here is another example on how we can benefit from languages:

"Andamanese grammar reflects the aboriginal view that the universe is subordinate to and created for the benefit of humanity, i.e. the Negritos. The parts of the human body reflect the world which world-view is in turn is reflected in the grammar. A remarkable system of nominal classification based on parts of the human body is indeed one of the few clear points of contact between the Great Andamanese and the Onge-Jarawa languages, speaking for its antiquity. The word order follows the Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) pattern"

Because of the way this people's language has arranged, we can tell how they viewed the world.

adrianxw
07-27-2003, 09:39 AM
>>>
Swedish, which is practically the same as Danish,
<<<

Of course I am aware of that, Norwegian also. One of my former employs had Danes Swedes and Norwegians on the project. When there were no Americans around, we spoke our own languages and, of course, we can all understand each other.

>>>
aboriginal view that the universe is subordinate to and created for the benefit of humanity, i.e. the Negritos.
<<<

We know that view is incorrect so I don't really see why preserving it has anything other than academic interest.

>>> we can tell how they viewed the world.

Again, academic interest only. Personally, I don't find it of any particular interest.

Whatever.

Zewu
07-27-2003, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by adrianxw
>>>
Swedish, which is practically the same as Danish,
<<<

Of course I am aware of that, Norwegian also.
ok, sorry if you took it like I thought you weren't aware of that. Of course I assumed you were, it's just that I was speaking to everyone there.

Sorry if I went a little off-topic here. Whatever.

confuted
07-27-2003, 01:23 PM
Germans say things differently than Americans. Translating exactly, with an understanding of both grammars so that the grammar in both languages is correct will frequently yield things that still don't make sense, simply because of the difference in the way things are said. I can't think of any good examples right now - I'm forgetting the German that I knew rather quickly, but I definitely remember encountering several instances in class.

Having said that, perhaps some languages are worth preserving. However, English now has such a large vocabulary and is in such common usage that it should be possible for English to, if it has not already, assimilate any useful features of other languages. Other languages will always be around, though, at least in acadameia, since reading literature in the original language is far better than reading a translation.

We'll probably reach a day when most of the world speaks English (more than now), but people will still know the languages of their "culture" or "heritage" or whatnot. International pilots are all required to know English already.

sean
07-27-2003, 02:06 PM
Germans say things differently than Americans.

Strong Bad does it again (http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail43.html)

ammar
07-27-2003, 03:30 PM
First of all, it's really amazing how English became the most common language in the world... And it's all because English people wanted it to be the first language in the world, and they realized at an early stage the importance of having their language as the main language in the world.

But as I said in my previous post, it's very important to learn your own native language, because it carries your culture and your history... Because people in different areas in the world must be different, because of their history that made their costums, herritage, and also language and others... So you can not expect that someone in Asia should live like someone in North America. And as I also said in my previous post, people should also learn a commong language like English.

In many coutries ordinary people do not have to learn a more common language, because their native language is more than enough for their normal life, unless they are in a field where English is the main language like IT...

And there are many countries that provide translations for almost everything that people would learn English to understand, because they feel that they are preserving their own culture by preserving their language.

But what if English was not the first language in the world? Maybe some people will be tryig to make their own language more and more common, because if a country's language is common, then it's culture will be common too.

Finaly, I don't want to see a world speaking only one language no matter what this language is, I would like to see everybody speak their own language, but at the same time know another common language in order to communicate better with the outside world( especially the western world ).

Note:
I'm sorry for my English, I know it's not good enough!

Clyde
07-27-2003, 05:23 PM
First of all, it's really amazing how English became the most common language in the world...


Its not. Chinese is.



But as I said in my previous post, it's very important to learn your own native language, because it carries your culture and your history


I really don't buy this argument, history, is factual, it can be written down in any language. The history of a people is unlikely to disappear merely because people stop speaking the language, know many people who speak Latin?

As for cultural identity, why is that a good thing? We just take it as given that maintaining our respective cultures is inherently good, well i don't buy it. What’s so good about splitting people into artificial groups? Left alone cultures merge. Why not let them?



Because people in different areas in the world must be different, because of their history that made their costums, herritage, and also language and others...


None of those things have to cause lasting differences, the only reason history has an impact is because it is the basis for cultural and economic differences, and both those can and do change with time.

Individuals will always be different, and its seems inevitable that there will always be certain levels of grouping, but that doesn't mean we should fight to preserve differences for the sake of preserving differences when we could just allow them to fade away.



So you can not expect that someone in Asia should live like someone in North America.


Today maybe not, but there is no reason why that should always be the case. Cultural differences merge, historical differences of themselves dont matter, economic issues are really the only differences that have the capacity to stick around, and even then there is room for change.



Finaly, I don't want to see a world speaking only one language no matter what this language is


Ok, what about a REAL master language, consider for a moment what would happen if people took a language's grammatical structure, and took the core mainstay words, then added to them. If the Inuit had to convert to English they would no doubt invent or merely port across new words for snow. What if every language did that?

Then you wouldn't lose any meaning at all. You would effectively have a language with a max vocabulary that was truly gargantuan, large numbers of people around the world would no doubt favour different words, but they would still share the same core, and hence all be able to communicate with each other.

Interestingly you can already see languages picking up words here and there, "le sandwich bar" "the buffet" come to mind.

Not that i think my scenario is particularly likely, it was merely food for thought.

TechWins
07-27-2003, 07:56 PM
First of all, it's really amazing how English became the most common language in the world... And it's all because English people wanted it to be the first language in the world

It was the imperialism of the English people that caused this. The English language spread to so many different areas of the world that all parts of the world were learning the language. Not to mention, that throughout the 19th century, coming into the 20th Century, and throughout the 20th Century the 2 super-powers of the world were England, for it's respective time period, and the US. Since English had become so widespread and English was/is the first language of these two countires other countries had to conform to English being the primary language of international discussions and other such matters. Which, partially relates to English speakers wanting it to be the first language in the world.

confuted
07-27-2003, 08:16 PM
Veritas vos Liberabit, Clyde.

Kinasz
07-28-2003, 05:54 AM
Hi. This was an offtopic flamebait post. Now it's not.

I expect a PM complaining about this by the time I'm back from lunch. Let's see what happens.

-Govtcheez

edit: no PM

ammar
07-28-2003, 06:44 AM
Of course I know that Chinese is the most common language in terms of native speakers, but I think that you know I didn’t mean that!

Although history is factual, it’s still best expressed with its native language, for example you cannot study Japanese literature in English, so your relation to your past will be weakened if not died.

And why is the relation with the past important? Because it’s simple why you became as you are now… Even if you want to change some cultural values, you have to study how they came out in the first place, and you cannot fully understand that in a language other than your native language, so any change in the current time, should be based on the study of history.

I’m not saying that people should be isolated, cultures are influenced by other cultures and that’s good, but each community should maintain its differences, because it makes its identity… For example, if you went to live in China, don’t you want to have your own identity, language, and customs! Would you like to speak Chinese and forget English, live the Chinese way of life, and not your own, of course I don’t mean that you should be isolated from the community, maybe Chinese people living with you will be influenced by your culture, and maybe you will be influenced by theirs as well.

I myself prefer the western lifestyle, because it’s the one that I live now, and it’s the one that I think is right, but others don’t think the same, they might prefer other lifestyles, so there should be some place were you can live the lifestyle you want.

Finally having one common language will make communication with the outside world much easier, but even without that one language, things are not that bad!

I’m sorry again for my Enlish!

Clyde
07-28-2003, 09:05 AM
Although history is factual, it’s still best expressed with its native language, for example you cannot study Japanese literature in English, so your relation to your past will be weakened if not died.


This argument doesn't work, just because people stop speaking a language doesn't mean academics have stop learning it for historical reasons.

Just look at Latin, ancient Greek, they are no longer spoken but people still learn them for academic purposes and as such no history is lost.

If Japanese stopped being spoken, academics would still learn it, so they could study ancient Japanese literature.



And why is the relation with the past important? Because it’s simple why you became as you are now…


No no no no, all that attitude does is again separate people for absolutely no reasons: My history is this, your history is this...... irrelevant. History should be preserved but not on a personal level, why should the history of England be more important to me than the history of say South America? It shouldn't.



Even if you want to change some cultural values, you have to study how they came out in the first place, and you cannot fully understand that in a language other than your native language,


Oh come on that's pushing it, if that were true then evolutionary psychology and anthropology would completely fail, but they don't do they, so clearly it is possible to understand cultural values without learning the language.

Besides your point doesn't really add up.

1) The British managed to change cultural values all over the world without having a freaking clue about the cultures they were stomping on.

2) I am not advocating forcing cultures to adopt specific values or characteristics, but i do think there is something to be said for allowing cultures to merge.



I’m not saying that people should be isolated, cultures are influenced by other cultures and that’s good, but each community should maintain its differences, because it makes its identity


Nonsense, this is just the standard answer, the socially acceptable opinion, that's the answer that everyone nods their heads to and mutters "Ah yes what a wise young man" but actually, when you look at it, it doesn't make a great deal of sense.

Identity? Why is group identity a good thing? Why are we trying to preserve this?

I'm from England and i do x,y and z, and think a, b, and c,. And your from South Africa and you do 1, 2, and 3, and thing 5, 6, and 7. Bollocks to that.

Group identity sucks ass, its an evolutionary throw-back, and instead of protecting it we should speed its demise.



For example, if you went to live in China, don’t you want to have your own identity, language, and customs! Would you like to speak Chinese and forget English, live the Chinese way of life, and not your own, of course I don’t mean that you should be isolated from the community, maybe Chinese people living with you will be influenced by your culture, and maybe you will be influenced by theirs as well.


Why does my identity have to have anything whatsoever to do with my race? It doesn't, and it shouldn't.

Do you think British born Asians who are no different to me other than the colour of their skin are somehow lesser for it?

I'm not superhuman, I’m a product of our time, you're right in that I wouldn't really like to instantly lose my "identity". BUT that doesn't mean i should fight to save it. You go back a few hundred years, when the concept of organ transplants came up, and people thought it was horrible, it felt inherently wrong to chop up humans, just because something feels wrong doesn't mean it is.

Most people do have a sense of national and cultural identity, but its not a good thing, or atleast it would be much better if we all shared the same identity, that way you don't lose anything you merely gain.



I myself prefer the western lifestyle, because it’s the one that I live now, and it’s the one that I think is right, but others don’t think the same, they might prefer other lifestyles, so there should be some place were you can live the lifestyle you want.


Give me an example of a way of life that would be highly sought after and would not be possible without individual geographically separate cultural regions.

To summarise i don't think arguments for keeping languages "alive" on historical of "identity" grounds are valid because "dead" languages can be used for historical purposes and I don't think a strong sense of "identity" that separates groups of humans is a good thing.

Zewu
07-28-2003, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Clyde
Group identity sucks ass, its an evolutionary throw-back, and instead of protecting it we should speed its demise.
I totally disagree here. Group identity is an evolutionary push-forward. What if a group of monkies never would have started to walk on two legs?

What if a group of people facing a new area never would have wanted to name the new things they found there. Like the Inuits who faced their sixty different kinds of snow, it was necessary for them to name them. The Beduins, on the other hand, might instead have faced sixty different kinds of sand. If these two groups would have been stuck to the language of their forefathers, they would have been having a harder to survive in their respective environments.

Language is an adaption to the surrounding environment, to the way you live, and is thus necessary to be different with different ways of life. However, I can agree to that grammar and syntax might possibly have been better, if it would have been the same all over the world.

PJYelton
07-28-2003, 09:44 AM
Zewu, I think you got it backwards. Groups with strong identity would have done the opposite you were thinking. Those monkeys would have been unwilling to stand on two legs because their group identity told them they weren't supposed to. And instead of the Inuit's creating new words for snow and the Beduins creating new words for sand, they would have fought to keep their old traditions alive and thus not change them to incorporate their new habitat.

Its the people who fought their group identity who changed these groups.

Clyde
07-28-2003, 11:13 AM
What if a group of people facing a new area never would have wanted to name the new things they found there. Like the Inuits who faced their sixty different kinds of snow, it was necessary for them to name them. The Beduins, on the other hand, might instead have faced sixty different kinds of sand. If these two groups would have been stuck to the language of their forefathers, they would have been having a harder to survive in their respective environments.

Language is an adaption to the surrounding environment, to the way you live, and is thus necessary to be different with different ways of life. However, I can agree to that grammar and syntax might possibly have been better, if it would have been the same all over the world.


I think you're misunderstanding what i'm saying, what i meant by an evolutionary throw back, was merely a characteristic that no longer benefits modern man. (like uhh chest hair).

Besides, i don't see the correlation between developing new words and group mentality. I am not saying that based on different environments people shouldn't behave in slightly different ways (that happens all the time independent of national culture - people who live by the sea probably go to the beach more often than those who don't), it is the artificial catagorisation that i think is harmfull: The view that "I am with this group, and you are with that group" is detrimental. It seems an inherent part of human nature, and is to a certain extent inevitable BUT there are many instances where its effects could lessen, and i think in most of those instances we should let it, rather than fighting to protect it.

ammar
07-28-2003, 05:43 PM
This argument is becoming more and more interesting…



This argument doesn't work, just because people stop speaking a language doesn't mean academics have stop learning it for historical reasons.


Here you are limiting the access of history to academic people only, why don’t ordinary people have access to it too, without having to learn a language that’s already dead…
If you have a language that’s developed enough like any other modern language, and it’s been there for a long time, why let it die?! And again I say, it’s still important to speak another common language, because if you can not make your language common, you have to speak a common one.



Just look at Latin, ancient Greek, they are no longer spoken but people still learn them for academic purposes and as such no history is lost.


I think that it’s different in the case of Latin, because languages like English developed from Latin( if I’m right ), so it’s evolution here, not change, and the same applies to ancient Greek, which means that people developed the language and they are using that new language, and it’s different from the case where you have to adopt a new language.



why should the history of England be more important to me than the history of say South America? It shouldn't.


I think it should be, because you are from England and not fron South America… What you are now, is the results of what happened in the past.



it is possible to understand cultural values without learning the language


It will not be a perfect understanding… We all know that translation cannot “translate” everything form a language to another, many things are going to be altered, for example if you are reading an English translation of a novel, no matter how good the translation is, it’s not as if you were reading the original French novel, and that’s just a novel not a whole nation’s history.



The British managed to change cultural values all over the world without having a freaking clue about the cultures they were stomping on.


You know they forced them to do that, although they did not succeed in most of the cases, people did not express those values in the public, but they were still believing in them, maybe they became more attached to them, because they were forced to abandon them.



I am not advocating forcing cultures to adopt specific values or characteristics, but i do think there is something to be said for allowing cultures to merge.


I don’t want culture to “merge”, and I want them to “communicate”, and if two cultures were to “merge” that should take a VERY long time, and this usually happens to minorities living in certain communities, so the minorities’ cultures merges into the majorities’.



I'm not superhuman, I’m a product of our time, you're right in that I wouldn't really like to instantly lose my "identity". BUT that doesn't mean i should fight to save it. You go back a few hundred years, when the concept of organ transplants came up, and people thought it was horrible, it felt inherently wrong to chop up humans, just because something feels wrong doesn't mean it is.


You shouldn’t “fight” to save it if you don’t like it.
But if you do, you should, because you have the right to live as you wish without “fighting”, of course as long as you are not interfering with other people life, but if you don’t like at the first place, just leave it, and adapt another one.



I'm from England and i do x,y and z, and think a, b, and c,. And your from South Africa and you do 1, 2, and 3, and thing 5, 6, and 7. Bollocks to that.


Do you think it’s right for me to make you do 1, 2, 3 and think 5, 6, and 7, do you think I have the right to do it!? Even if you did 1, 2, and 3 and thought 5, 6, 7, but you don’t believe in them, how is that any good?!



Group identity sucks ass, its an evolutionary throw-back, and instead of protecting it we should speed its demise.


Now that is nonsense… Group identity is an evolutionary push-forward, because a community with many group identities will have each identity influencing other identities, and after all have a better understanding of each other.


I’m saying that if you and I have different identities, or different values, we can still live in peace, you don’t have to believe as I do, and neither do I have to believe as you do. We can learn from each other, which is good for both of us, and maybe we will eventually change some of our own values, based a new and more developed understanding of things.



To summarise i don't think arguments for keeping languages "alive" on historical of "identity" grounds are valid because "dead" languages can be used for historical purposes and I don't think a strong sense of "identity" that separates groups of humans is a good thing.

I think that languages are better when they are not died, and there is no reason to let them die, while we can at the same time communicate with other people and learn from them.

Clyde
07-28-2003, 07:11 PM
Here you are limiting the access of history to academic people only, why don’t ordinary people have access to it too, without having to learn a language that’s already dead…


Detailed history is an academic subject. Ordinary people do have access to it in a general sense though; anyone can learn about Roman history and culture, Latin is not a precursor.

The only people who really want to submerse themselves totally in a given culture for historical reasons, are academics, and they have no problem learning languages.

Your historical argument really doesn't work.



I think that it’s different in the case of Latin, because languages like English developed from Latin( if I’m right ), so it’s evolution here, not change, and the same applies to ancient Greek, which means that people developed the language and they are using that new language, and it’s different from the case where you have to adopt a new language.


..... not following you.

My point was merely that Latin and ancient Greek are dead languages yet that is not a barrier to our grasp of their respective histories. No i am not have a a perfect grasp of exactly what the Illiad said but i have a pretty good idea, the only people who want a perfect grasp of the Illiad are academics.



I think it should be, because you are from England and not fron South America… What you are now, is the results of what happened in the past.


So? Why does my geographical location on the Earth matter? Why does how i got here matter?

I should value ALL histories equally. Or atleast I think a world where people valued ALL histories equally, a world where people weren't divided up into their little meaingless groupings would be a better world.



It will not be a perfect understanding… We all know that translation cannot “translate” everything form a language to another, many things are going to be altered, for example if you are reading an English translation of a novel, no matter how good the translation is, it’s not as if you were reading the original French novel, and that’s just a novel not a whole nation’s history


See my point about the Illiad.



You know they forced them to do that, although they did not succeed in most of the cases, people did not express those values in the public, but they were still believing in them, maybe they became more attached to them, because they were forced to abandon them.


I know, you seemed to be saying that inorder to change cultural values you needed to understand them, evidently not.



I don’t want culture to “merge”, and I want them to “communicate".


IMO one inevitably leads to the other.



and if two cultures were to “merge” that should take a VERY long time, and this usually happens to minorities living in certain communities, so the minorities’ cultures merges into the majorities’.


It will no doubt take a long time, my point is merely that it is a good thing so we shouldn't fight it.

Minority populations in other countries gradually shed their own culture in favour of the culture they are in, but thats not exactly what i mean (though the process is similar). What I mean by cultural blending is two separate cultures becoming more and more similar presumeably eventually reaching a point where they are no longer distinct (this is what people are so terrified of happening in Europe).



You shouldn’t “fight” to save it if you don’t like it.
But if you do, you should, because you have the right to live as you wish without “fighting”, of course as long as you are not interfering with other people life, but if you don’t like at the first place, just leave it, and adapt another one.


But i do like it, or atleast it feels nice, but what feels nice, is not neccessarily the best thing for humanity, since i think humanity would be better off without artificial groupings i therefore support cultural merging despite the fact that i do like being English and would feel a certain sense of loss in the demise of that "identity".

Ok your argument here seems to be:

People have the right to live the way they want, with multiple cultures they can sample them all and pick the best one, whereas if there is only one uber culture they wouldn't have the choice, right?

Doesn't work like that, if that were true how do you explain the fact that almost everyone in the west chooses to stay in the West?

They choose to stay within the confines of Western culture because they prefer Western culture, and why do they prefer Western culture? Because the criteria they judge cultures on (food, language, customs/religions, laws, etc.) are formed due to the cultural enviornment they grew up in!

Clyde
07-28-2003, 07:29 PM
Do you think it’s right for me to make you do 1, 2, 3 and think 5, 6, and 7, do you think I have the right to do it!? Even if you did 1, 2, and 3 and thought 5, 6, 7, but you don’t believe in them, how is that any good?!


I'm not advocating making anybody do anything.



Now that is nonsense… Group identity is an evolutionary push-forward, because a community with many group identities will have each identity influencing other identities, and after all have a better understanding of each other.


Group identiy sucks, it means we arbitrarely identify with one group of humans over another. Its why people go to war, why football (English) fans beat the snot out of each other, its why racism, and every other form of stereotyping (<-- this is not the word i want but I can't remember it) exists, its also why the West leaves the 3rd world to rot, while the death of a single person can make headline news.

We could do without it.



I’m saying that if you and I have different identities, or different values, we can still live in peace, you don’t have to believe as I do, and neither do I have to believe as you do.


But it doesn't happen unless our values are almost identical, if you believe strongly in murderering babies and i believe strongly in not murderering babies we hit problems. Only when the differences in values are superficial do people live in harmony.



We can learn from each other, which is good for both of us, and maybe we will eventually change some of our own values, based a new and more developed understanding of things.


Yes, thats what i want, you take the best things from my culture i take the best things from your culture. Our cultures merge each one gaining from the strengths of the other to form a new improved culture that includes both populations.



I think that languages are better when they are not died, and there is no reason to let them die, while we can at the same time communicate with other people and learn from them.


As i said in my first post, language is an interesting issue, it marks out an unnessary group difference, on the other hand i have read articles that seem to indicate language can have a large impact on the way we percieve, that would seem something worth saving.

My debate with you is merely with your reasons which seem to be motivated by a wish to preserve individual cultural identities.

unanimous
07-29-2003, 12:01 AM
We could all just go learn Esparnato(sp?) and let it finally fulfill its purpose of uniting the world with a single language...but I would rather we stick with English b/c those other languages are too difficult, after 2 years of Spanish which means 2 years of cheating on Spanish tests, I ave realized I like English, much more complicated but I actually understand it.

ammar
07-29-2003, 04:54 AM
When I said that it’s different in the case of Latin, I meant that English developed from Latin, and it’s not the same as when you have to adopt a new language that was not developed by you, like having to adopt, say, Japanese just because it’s a more common language… People let Latin die, because they developed the language and they are using the developed for of it, and the same applies for ancient Greek.

What I want to it say is that people have native languages, and they should preserve it, and that doesn’t mean that they should not communicate with other cultures, and maybe “merge” after a certain period of time, but the right way to do that is by “communication” between cultures, where each culture should have it’s own identity so that each culture could see that identity very clearly, and take the good things from it, but if you wanted people to follow a certain life style or adopt a new language, they will loose their identity, and you will not be able to learn form them, simply because their identity is no more existing.

So I’m not saying that people should stay as they are because it’s what they are now, and I’m not against the change in cultures, but I want it to be done right.



I should value ALL histories equally. Or atleast I think a world where people valued ALL histories equally, a world where people weren't divided up into their little meaingless groupings would be a better world.


Yes, you should value all histories equally, but you should also learn about your history more than you have to learn about other histories… Is there any country that you know about it's history more than you know about England?



I know, you seemed to be saying that inorder to change cultural values you needed to understand them, evidently not.


I meant the “right” way to change them, it’s what I’ve already said.



IMO one inevitably leads to the other.

( communication and merging )

But they have to communicate first, and communicate right, and I said that previously.



It will no doubt take a long time, my point is merely that it is a good thing so we shouldn't fight it.


We shouldn’t fight it, and we shouldn’t “force” it, it should come naturally, otherwise it won’t be right, and it’s will cause problems after a while.



But i do like it, or atleast it feels nice, but what feels nice, is not neccessarily the best thing for humanity, since i think humanity would be better off without artificial groupings i therefore support cultural merging despite the fact that i do like being English and would feel a certain sense of loss in the demise of that "identity".


If you did not “loose” you identity, but “developed” your values, you will not feel a sense of “loss”.



They choose to stay within the confines of Western culture because they prefer Western culture, and why do they prefer Western culture? Because the criteria they judge cultures on (food, language, customs/religions, laws, etc.) are formed due to the cultural enviornment they grew up in!


That exactly what I’m saying…
Maybe I didn’t get you right, but that is exactly what I’m saying. People in the west prefer the Western culture( usually ), and they will probably won’t prefer the African, or the Asian on.



But it doesn't happen unless our values are almost identical, if you believe strongly in murderering babies and i believe strongly in not murderering babies we hit problems. Only when the differences in values are superficial do people live in harmony.


Come on!
Who believes in murdering babies?! I think that it’s a bad example…

I want to ask you this:
How can you learn from me, and I learn form you, if each of us doesn’t have his own identity?



Yes, thats what i want, you take the best things from my culture i take the best things from your culture. Our cultures merge each one gaining from the strengths of the other to form a new improved culture that includes both populations.


I’ll ask you the same question as above.



My debate with you is merely with your reasons which seem to be motivated by a wish to preserve individual cultural identities.


Again I say that preserving them doesn’t mean not to try and learn from others, but if others are going learn from you, you should have an identity.

Clyde
07-29-2003, 10:08 AM
When I said that it’s different in the case of Latin, I meant that English developed from Latin, and it’s not the same as when you have to adopt a new language that was not developed by you, like having to adopt, say, Japanese just because it’s a more common language… People let Latin die, because they developed the language and they are using the developed for of it, and the same applies for ancient Greek


I'm not disputing that, I am disputing the idea that we need to keep languages alive for historical value, we don't.



What I want to it say is that people have native languages, and they should preserve it


Why should they preserve it?



and that doesn’t mean that they should not communicate with other cultures, and maybe “merge” after a certain period of time, but the right way to do that is by “communication” between cultures


I agree.



where each culture should have it’s own identity so that each culture could see that identity very clearly, and take the good things from it, but if you wanted people to follow a certain life style or adopt a new language, they will loose their identity, and you will not be able to learn form them, simply because their identity is no more existing


Cultures having their own "identities" means that groups of people are defining themselves by their differences, i don't think thats a good thing. Why do you think cultural "identities" are a good idea?

Instead of saying I'm English and your French, wouldn't it be better to say we're European? And instead saying I'm European and your American, wouldn't be better to say, we're human?

I am not advocating forcing anyone to do anything, I am merely suggesting that its a good idea not to go out our way to protect cultural identity.

We should make sure these languages don't die, otherwise cultural identity X will disappear. GOOD, that doesn't mean everything from that culture will vanish merely that the IDENTITY will go and even then it wont just disappear one day it will gradually become less and less significant in favour of a new larger vaguer cultural identity. The aspects from the culture that are positive (music, food, clothing, attitudes etc.) will not be lost they will be incorporated into the newer larger grouping



So I’m not saying that people should stay as they are because it’s what they are now, and I’m not against the change in cultures, but I want it to be done right.


Ok, i agree with that, i don't think British imperialism was a good idea, I just don't think we should protect group identity for the sake of protecting group identity.



Yes, you should value all histories equally,


Agreed.



but you should also learn about your history more than you have to learn about other histories… Is there any country that you know about it's history more than you know about England?


No you shouldn't and this contradicts your former statement; you can't learn about all histories equally if you learn more about one than another. I do know more about English history than the history of another country but i don't think that’s a good thing. I would prefer a world where people did not show bias towards one particular group of humans over another, historical education is merely another facet of the same idea.



We shouldn’t fight it, and we shouldn’t “force” it, it should come naturally, otherwise it won’t be right, and it’s will cause problems after a while.


Right, but it does come naturally, then people fight it! People fight to save ‘their’ identity, they place laws to guard ‘their’ language, the older generations try to force the newer ones to follow old customs, "why must i do it like this mummy?" "Because thats how ‘we’ do it". Yuck yuck yuck yuck.



If you did not “loose” you identity, but “developed” your values, you will not feel a sense of “loss”.


Agreed, which is why its a gradual process, whether your identity is "lost" in favour of a new one or whether it merely changes to include a new one is semantics the point is that people become less fragmented and groupings get larger. I think its a process that should be encouraged rather than discouraged.



Maybe I didn’t get you right, but that is exactly what I’m saying. People in the west prefer the Western culture( usually ), and they will probably won’t prefer the African, or the Asian on.


Right but that doesn't present an issue with what i'm saying; if there were not individual cultures but merely a single master culture incorporating all the positive aspects of the cultures round the world, no one would want to be part of anything else. There would always be local diversity of course, but it wouldn't be given the significance it is today.



Come on!
Who believes in murdering babies?! I think that it’s a bad example…


It was of course an extreme example but it illustrates a point; the more similar two cultures are the more friendly they become, the more different, the more hostile.



I want to ask you this:
How can you learn from me, and I learn form you, if each of us doesn’t have his own identity?


I could learn from you in exactly the same way i learn from anyone else, if someone happens to practice karate they can show it to me, if i happen to play an instrument i can show it to them. But i'm not defined by a "music playing group identity" and he's not defined by a "karate practicing group identity". Or atleast not to the same extent, people always form groups and group identities always exist BUT with cultures we enshrine these identities we make them so much more than they need to be.

You could show me the food you eat, or clothes you wear or music you listen to and vice versa without either of us being defined by those things anymore so than we are defined by our other choices. Then instead of people being born into a particular style of clothing, music, food, attitudes, people could actually pick and choose, just like they do with activities that are less defined by "group identities". Wouldn't that be better?

Wouldn't it be better if instead of being born into culture X and automatically being handed a huge aspect of who you are expected to be, you could actually choose which bits you like from all of the cultures all over the world? Its already happening, we eat other cultures' foods more and more, we are beginning to listen to to other cultures music, fashion is now regularly using other cultures styles as the basis for new ideas, international law is gaining more importance...... cultural blending.