Posted by alexandra_k on November 19, 2005, at 0:50:19
In reply to Re: France is » Bobby, posted by Jakeman on November 18, 2005, at 21:19:07
> In terms of language, I speak English (I wish I knew other languages)
Yeah, me too. I tried learning some Maori in school but I really was very bad at it :-(
I think its amazing how people in Europe (and other parts of the world) can grow up learning a couple of languages. In fact... I do believe that most of the world knows two or three. Its actually a whole heap rarer to know just one.
>In my family research I've found that most of my ancestors spoke Gaelic, a Scottish or Irish form. But we adapted to speak English because that was the language of our colonizers. In Ireland, they've fought against it, and now you see road signs that are both in English and Gaelic.
I think thats cool. They have some pretty looooong names over there, huh. We have a place called Ngarawahia. Not so long, but looks hard to pronounce. (Maori is actually fairly easy for an English speaker to pick up apparantly because the English speakers wrote it down and made it all nice and phonetic)
>I guess it begs the question of what is the true language of Americans.
Is there any such thing?
>Yes English has become the standard that everyone wants to learn here and world-wide.
I don't think the majority of people in the world would be happy to hear you say that! I don't think they would agree either. We may well think that they jolly well *should* learn English. We may well think that the world would be a more comprehensible place if they learned English. I really do believe, however, that the other people probably figure our ability to learn a language isn't so flash (most of us speaking only one) whereas if you know two or three already... may as well learn another ;-)
>In the US there other languages that come into play in this great melting pot we have. Some people still speak French in SW Louisiana, the language of their forebearers. I wonder what happened to the native American languages.
Probably all but died out.
I dunno. Are there any communities of native american indians around??? What do they speak?
In New Zealand... We have two official languages: English and Maori. That being said... If you tried to take a check written in Maori to the bank... I imagine the teller wouldn't know what to do with it. At our university you can hand in assignments / tests where you have written your answer in Maori. You are supposed to give 3 weeks warning so they can attempt to find a specialist and / or translator (unless you are studying Maori, obviously).
For a while...
Maori kids were given the cane for speaking Maori at school (including in the playground).
They were told 'you will never get anywhere in life unless you stop that horrible vulgar language and learn English'. That generation grew up and... Did not teach their children Maori. Because they came to believe what their teachers and the greater society was telling them.
The language was almost run into extinction.
The government put a lot of money into trying to teach people Maori again... In reperation. Scholarships for people to learn it and become teachers etc etc. TV adds. TV shows (the ones kids watch after school) trying to be a little more bi-lingual. Now... More and more Maori words are becoming mainstream.
There are bi-lingual schools now. Where half the teaching time is in English, and half is in Maori. There are also total submersion schools where from entry to school to intermediate (around age 11) the kids only speak Maori.
Despite what you might be inclined to think...
The bi-lingual kids tend to outperform comperable kids in totally English speaking schools. They also have more pride in their heritage and have more contact and involvement in their culture. The kids in the total submersion... Pick up English 'unofficially' anyway from watching TV and talking to people in the greater society (going to the shops etc). They tend to outperform kids who were only taught in English in school cert. english exams after 3 years of high school.
But I probably should say...
That the bi-lingual / total submersion schools have a distinctively different flavour. More of a community. Probably... Wealthier families. And I'm pretty darned sure... More teachers / facilitators per kid than your average public school.