anamsc wrote: Also, if you address someone in a service position (bus driver, cashier, etc.) in Catalan, they are legally obligated to respond in Catalan (recent immigrants often speak some sort of a Romance mixture, which I think counts as close enough).
Ogrim wrote:I was told a story which I don't know if is true, but apparently a murder was committed in a house with the entrance in Belgium, but the dead body was found in a room in the part of the house that was on Dutch soil, so both Dutch and Belgian police claimed that it was for the other country's police force to investigate the murder. It created a minor diplomatic incident between the two countries, but in the end investigators from both countires agreed to cooperate.
This sounds a bit like the plot of Bon Cop Bad Cop, a bilingual Canadian movie about a murder victim found hanging over the sign separating Ontario and Quebec.
I began watching a program last night on Francophone West Africa and the music movements and trends from each former French colony. Senegal once influenced heavily, would you believe it, by Latin American music, in particular Cuban, used to usually use the medium of the French language for their music, but then at some point the Cuban influenced French language music shifted to Wolof particularly after a local rapper chose Wolof and rose to fame. It was very interesting indeed to watch a documentary in which the narrative was English, the local Africans predominantly spoke French (which I was pleased to be able to follow along nicely) and sung in a mix of French and local African indigenous languages. Despite Europe's apparent linguistic diversity, due to the number of national languages, apparently it's actually rather linguistically lacking in diversity when compared to places like Africa and India, and even Australia (although I never hear aboriginal languages, EVER). How true this is I am not sure (I have no research to cite).
Now since European languages hold my interest the most, for whatever reason, but the topic is Africa currently, here's an interesting country, particularly for the Spanish speakers out there. Equatorial Guinea. The following comes from the Wikipedia page on Equatorial Guinea and another wikipedia page on the languages of Equatorial Guniea.... The official languages are Spanish and French. 87.7% of the population a fluent in Spanish (often as a second language). French is official as well and not used that much in practise except on the offical level, while Portuguese was 'attempted' to be made official third language, but really hasn't progressed much at all it appears. These latter two are really for the purpose of economic ties on an official level more than anything else, with French being much more practical due to the geographical position of the country.
On the ground Fang, a bantu language is the most widely spoken language, while Spanish is the most widespread European language. Since Francophone countries surround Equatorial Guinea, French was adopted as the 2nd official language in 1997-98, but only 10% of students have access to learning it despite it being a compulsory secondary school subject. However the 2nd wikipedia page (Langues en Guinée équatoriale) states 29% of the population speak French. Portuguese was in fact adopted as the third official language in 2007, but with formal requests to become a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries being declined on the basis of lack of progress with the language in the country, the future of Portuguese in EG looks a little shaky. Together with Fang, the wikipedia page cites 8 main bantu languages spoken in the country. I wonder what the local Spanish accent sounds like...
From the wikipedia page "Equatoguinean Spanish" Quote: "Equatoguinean Spanish resembles more peninsular Spanish from Spain than American Spanish dialects, but there are some differences for those who speak it as second language. Differences often include:
Omission of articles No distinction between the usage of tú and usted. No distinction between indicative and subjunctive moods. Vosotros and its conjugations are used with no distinction alongside ustedes. The preposition en as a marker of destination in place of a (ex: Voy en Bata. vs. Voy a Bata.)" End quote.
Ogrim wrote:I've actually been in Baarle-Hertog and Barle-Nassau (which is the name Dutch town which also has enclaves within the Belgian enclaves). It is quite curious, but as there are no border controls you do not notice when you leave Belgium and enter the Netherlands. You cross a street and you are in another country. And there are several houses which stand in both countries. I was told a story which I don't know if is true, but apparently a murder was committed in a house with the entrance in Belgium, but the dead body was found in a room in the part of the house that was on Dutch soil, so both Dutch and Belgian police claimed that it was for the other country's police force to investigate the murder. It created a minor diplomatic incident between the two countries, but in the end investigators from both countires agreed to cooperate.
This sounds like mythical folklore to me, but you never know!
Ogrim wrote:Regarding Alsatian, it is not extremely different from standard German, but enough to make it a challenge to understand it when spoken. Alsatian dialects are part of a dialect continuum that also covers part of Switzerland (Basel dialects) and the German state of Baden-Württemberg. I am not enough of an expert to really hear the difference between the various dialects that are called Alsatian - I have never seriously studied the language.
If you want to hear how Alsatian sounds, and get an idea of how it is used in daily life in Alsatian villages today, then I recommend this series called Hopla Trio - all episodes are on YouTube. It is not the greatest TV show on earth, but one of the few out there with a lot of Alsatian spoken. The way the people in the show mix and switch back and forth between Alsatian and French is in my view quite accurate and what happens in real life as well.
That's kinda cool to hear. It sounds nice to my ear the Alsatian language, and the show is curiously interesting, just from the tiny snippet I saw, even if not much happens in the show, linguistically it is unique. As for Alsatian, it's a shame the French government has not ratified the European charter for minority languages. It's almost as if France has been hell-bent on firmly planting the French language on as much European soil as possible even at the demise of other regional heritage langauges important to the local identity. Spain seems to have gone the other way, perhaps after wishing to avoid a total break-up of the counrty post Franco dictatorship, while German has retreated in both geographical spread (the German nation shrunk in size post WWII) and the language suffered majorly as a 2nd language taught abroad post WWII and retreated in eastern centres such as Bratislava, once comprised of 40% German and 41% Hungarian populations. As much as I love the French language, and it is not the enemy here, the policies of the French government are a little sad. Mind you, the Anglo-American sphere have done much more to push their languages by whatever seemingly harmless means which leaves us in a world in which English is leaping ahead of the crowd. On reading about Basque, Breton, Occitan, Catalan, Alsatian, Corsican and some others it seems very few regional languages if any have a definitive positive future in store, except perhaps Catalan and maybe Basque simply because other governments just over the border are doing more to support those languges future.
Edit: I actually have seriously considered learning a French regional language. 'French' meaning a regional language on (European) French soil. Breton has probably sparked my curiousity the most, but the region is not completely to my liking and although i've been there and would like to return is I find it facsinating it some way, I doubt I could live there. And the language is not widespread enough for my confidence in it's usefulness, but what am I to expect nowadays from a regional language.
I have considered Basque too, but resources are rather thin on the ground, and although, as Iguanamon and others have demonstrated very finely, one can learn a minority language with few glossy language learning resources, I'd prefer not to. The language is notoriously difficult and without a mass of resources I'd be very hesitant to venture down that road unless I knew I were definitely going to own property in the area (I want to base myself in France perhaps part time with my family in the near-ish future, where exactly is not clear yet).
Occitan definitely looks interesting too, but two problems arise here- 1. It's lack of unification, which I think is great in respect to allowing for diversity, but not so good when learning a language. and 2. it's future, despite a large number of speakers looks desperately grim. Unfortunately I'd be much more likely to take up the learning of one or even multiple regional languages IF the government were to ratify the charter for European regional/minority languages. I doubt I'll see that happen any time soon.
Alsatian I can't see myself learning this for two reasons. 1. I'd prefer to learn German first- many more doors would open with German than Alsatian. 3. I don't plan to spend much time in the Alsace region, but who knows, stranger things have happened.
Corsican I don't plan on living there either. I would, especially with a minority/regional language to spend a considerable amount of time in the area (live there part time more than likely). Corsica has spectacular scenery, French language and another beautiful language (Corsican), but it's too geographically isolated for my liking.
Catalan I plan on learning Spanish, so Catalan would unlikely come before that. I've learned Spanish in the past and aim to do it again at some point, so if I choose Catalan it won't be for a while. Catalan is probably the most logical choice on this list. It's future seems assured. If the region won it's independence (unlikely I think any time soon) then I'd consider it even further as I'm sure the language would only grow in strength. For me to definitely study the language, again I'd need to live in or around Perpignan somewhere, where I'd definitely have access to speakers of the language perhaps even regularly.
As for languages outside of France which interest me and are smaller or regional languages- Frisian or 'West Frisian' spoken in Friesland in the Netherlands is curiously interesting and Luxembourgish and Swiss German hold some interest more for potential job prospects were my family and I to chose to live there.
Languages: Speak well = English (N), Deutsch Speak poorly = יידיש (Yiddish), Français, Esperanto "Speak," I guess = עברית (Hebrew), Русский (Russian) Actively study = Ελλενικά (Greek), 中文 (Mandarin) Still remember a lot = Nederlands, Gaeilge
While no longer around, the historical situation of Martha's Vineyard Sign Language is one of the most interesting I've heard of. While many of the examples listed so far are merely cases of national borders getting a bit scraggly and various points on dialect continua being simultaneously standard, here we had a bilingual population in two completely different modes of communication.
PeterMollenburg wrote:Despite Europe's apparent linguistic diversity, due to the number of national languages, apparently it's actually rather linguistically lacking in diversity when compared to places like Africa and India, and even Australia (although I never hear aboriginal languages, EVER). How true this is I am not sure (I have no research to cite).
Sure, Europe is hardly linguistically diverse compared to many other countries. Add up Nigeria (512 languages) and Papua New Guinea (820 languages) and you've got about a fifth of the world's languages in only two countries.