Monday, March 20, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - More Bad News: Another rumble in the dark jungle (in the Naija swamp)

Israel is, as you say, Gloria, an example of how this state creation worked. But the circumstances were different, for obvious reasons, not least of which most Israeli were made of jews from many non-hebrew but also non-english speaking states.

Ireland’s motive in not speaking English might have had to do with resistance to the English, but it was an artificial choice which most people didn’t adopt.

Soyinka said Swahili knowing a country divided amongst many languages couldn’ t settle on one without causing resentments in the others. A prime example is Ethiopia—I don’t know how many know about the enormous struggles over the imposition of Amharic on non-amharic speakers.

And to some extent morocco, choosing Arabic over berber—again possibly a minority imposing on a majority, though census figures couldn’t be safely educed.

Imagine a single language is most African countries, like mali or Burkina. You can’t do it without alienating most of the population.

I have an open mind of this question, it appears so complex.

ken

 

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of "Emeagwali, Gloria (History)" <emeagwali@ccsu.edu>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Monday 20 March 2017 at 16:24
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - More Bad News: Another rumble in the dark jungle (in the Naija swamp)

 

"Lastly, Israel created a national language, Hebrew, that had not been a spoken language since ancient times, except for temple worship. It survived, alongside English, but my impression is that English has declined there, in favor of all Hebrew speaking."

 

If  a dying language was revived and  now eventually rivals English in Israel,   there is hope 

for the  revival  and  growth of living ones  elsewhere.

 

I wonder why  Israel  did not just settle at "reterritorializing" English and claiming  it as theirs? BTW is this not a successful model of state intervention  in language preference?

 

BTW,   speakers of  Swahili and Hausa  may be  about 100 million each,  across several countries.

 

 

 

 

Professor Gloria Emeagwali

Professor of History
History Department

Central Connecticut State University

1615 Stanley Street
 New Britain. CT 06050
www.africahistory.net

Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on

Africa and the African Diaspora

8608322815  Phone

8608322804 Fax

 


From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2017 11:21 AM
To: usaafricadialogue
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - More Bad News: Another rumble in the dark jungle (in the Naija swamp)

 

I’ve heard that gaelic is declining in Ireland, despite its creation as a national language along w the irish revival.

Why do we speak as we do? Not because the state mandates such and such, but because we want to communicate with others. Eventually languages die off—a very sad fact, but it goes with the loss of species as well. There are factors that play into these choices that seem quite complex to me. What is the ecology of language as spoken?

 

Lastly, Israel created a national language, Hebrew, that had not been a spoken language since ancient times, except for temple worship. It survived, alongside English, but my impression is that English has declined there, in favor of all Hebrew speaking.

And a guess: Arabic speaking in Israel probably declined as the borders got shut off.

 

Simultaneously, I am pretty sure Spanish has increased in northern morocco since so many more Spanish tourists come down.

These are not factors govts control.

Last I looked france had 70-80 million tourists. Someone has to speak to them when they want to buy things. And French is not the common language.

ken

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Cornelius Hamelberg <corneliushamelberg@gmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Monday 20 March 2017 at 10:54
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - More Bad News: Another rumble in the dark jungle (in the Naija swamp)

 

 

"When you're lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in, without impropriety "( Lyrics)

"In Language, the ignorant have prescribed laws to the learned" (Maxims)

Or Jane Austen : "It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language” ( Northanger Abbey)

Except that this correction of banalities such as "An advice,” “a good news”, errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English" etc. as a necessity - nyet - a priority and a good part of development strategy should be no laughing matter. It's OK developing British and American English , but charity they say begins at home - so what about our own Nigerian English - doesn't it have a soul of its own? (Sure, sleeping giant, overweight elephant, the Eagle soars - not like "His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich. It enabled him to run, though not to soar" (Ellis)

So (as always) - from the point of view of some of the privileged elitists

(those who correct our broken English on a daily basis )

it has come to the point where it's a matter of the survival of the fittest:

Just like the African elephant, indigenous African Languages are now endangered species !

One would have thought that our indigenous African languages are part of the world's / humanity's intellectual and cultural heritage - on par with the UNESCO world heritage sites and consequently, that indigenous African languages have to be developed !

UNESCO : indigenous African languages have to be developed

Here's a disheartening headline : ‘More than 400 Nigerian indigenous languages are endangered’
BBC : (Asia) :
How to revive a 500-year-old dying language

Dickens : "Miss Blimber, too, although a slim and graceful maid, did no soft violence to the gravity of the house. There was no light nonsense about Miss Blimber. She kept her hair short and crisp, and wore spectacles. She was dry and sandy with working in the graves of deceased languages. None of your live languages for Miss Blimber. They must be dead - stone dead - and then Miss Blimber dug them up like a Ghoul." ( Dombey & Son)

 

 

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