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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Alex S (U4744604) on Monday, 8th October 2012

    Recently I heard this curious report from the World Service....

    And it reminded me that I promised to start this discussion....
    To what extent the SCRIPT is important for a LANGUAGE and why do you think?

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Alex S (U4744604) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    As you guessed I posted that extract from a World Service programme just to stress that script is important. It is not exactly relevant to the subject of this thread. Let me share with you one more extract:

    The first extract was about a script, the second one is about a language.... I like the expression in it - "diversity is the name of the game!"

    Some time ago I became curious - what is the closest language to the Australian aborigine's one? Could you imagine my surprise, when I knew that this is actualy not a ONE language! And there are lots of languages in Australia! Can you guess - how many?

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by inegch (U2246749) on Wednesday, 21st November 2012

    And there are lots of languages in Australia! Can you guess - how many?  
    Not as many as there used to be before white settlement!

    Some time ago I read an interesting story by David Malouf. The title is 'The Only Speaker of his Tongue"

    I quote a few sentences from it:

    " ...
    He is, they tell me, the one surviving speaker of his tongue. Half a century back, when he was a boy, the last of his people were massacred. The language, one of hundreds (why make a fuss?) died with them. Only not quite. For all his lifetime this man has spoken it, if only to himself. ...

    It is alive still in the man's silence, a whole alternative universe, since the world as we know it is in the last resort the words through which we imagine and name it; and when he narrows his eyes, and grins and says 'Yes, boss, you wanna see me?', it is not breathed out. ..."

    He regards me with curiosity, with a kind of shy amusement, and sees what? Not fir forests, surely, for which he can have neither picture nor word, or lakes, snow-peaks, ...

    It is all there in our mouths. In the odd names of our villages, in the pet-names we give to pigs and cows ... in the nonsense rhymes in which so much simple wisdom is contained (not by accident, the language itself discovers these truths), ...


    By the way, what do you think about the last sentence: " ... the language itself discovers these truths" Do you agree?

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Alex S (U4744604) on Wednesday, 21st November 2012

    Not as many as there used to be before white settlement!  

    Yes, of course! But....

    In the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 distinct Aboriginal social groupings, and a similar number of languages or dialects. At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 indigenous languages remain in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered.  

    Even now over hundred! Amazing! I think that the legend of Babel is not very scientific.... It seems that the things go the other way round - from many to few... smiley - biggrin

    the language itself discovers these truths" Do you agree?  

    Well, there is a mailing list for the Slavists - SEELANGS. It is still working - a "dinosaur" of our time! I look there sometimes. And maybe I will find some time to post there messages like "Tales of my Grandma" or "Stories from Our Street".... Maybe those linguists would find something new smiley - biggrin

    There are many interesting questions. For example, "is it possible for a language not to evolve?" Or - "could it be a language without a nation?" Or vice versa - "could it be a nation without a language???"

    But I just mentioned the SEELANGS for the other reason too.
    When Internet began, it was almost totally "LATIN" - national codpages first were not compatible and very unreliable.... So people prefered to use latin letters even if in their Mother tongue they were using other SCRIPT - cyrillic or katakana, Arabic or Thai .... It was possible to read such letters, but I hated myself to read Russian in Lating, for example smiley - biggrin It was a strange feeling. Linguists call it "transliteration"...

    So I would like to ask all people on the Board - to what extent they need their special script in their language?

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