Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

General discussion about learning languages
Alexandra
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Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby Alexandra » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:35 pm

I am a girl from China.As we all know,Chinese is the linguistic giant spoken by more than 1.2 billion native speakers in the world.But apart from Mandarin,there are still many dialects spoken by Chinese in different regions . Mandarin really play an initial part in many ways,just like international communicating or promoting scientific and cultural level,so the government attaches a great importance to speaking Mandarin .However ,it matters that ,due to the policy,some Chinese children in some areas ignore or even can not speak their own dialects at all.I have learned that many countries also speak more than one languages .For example ,Hindi is spoken by over 182 million people ,but at the same time,it shares co-official status with 21 other languages in India.I know,official language is very important in communicating and developing .But is it not necessary to retain our own dialects.Is there a conflict between populizing official language and retaining various dialects.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby eido » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:04 pm

Where? In China or another place?
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby nooj » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:13 pm

Alexandra wrote:I am a girl from China.As we all know,Chinese is the linguistic giant spoken by more than 1.2 billion native speakers in the world.But apart from Mandarin,there are still many dialects spoken by Chinese in different regions . Mandarin really play an initial part in many ways,just like international communicating or promoting scientific and cultural level,so the government attaches a great importance to speaking Mandarin .However ,it matters that ,due to the policy,some Chinese children in some areas ignore or even can not speak their own dialects at all.I have learned that many countries also speak more than one languages .For example ,Hindi is spoken by over 182 million people ,but at the same time,it shares co-official status with 21 other languages in India.I know,official language is very important in communicating and developing .But is it not necessary to retain our own dialects.Is there a conflict between populizing official language and retaining various dialects.


Just letting you know, there is a strict policy about politics not being allowed in discussions here. When you're talking about linguistic policies of countries however, it is literally impossible not to talk about politics. So this thread might be shut down soon.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby aokoye » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:43 pm

This is really more an issue of language policy in countries where various speakers live and less of a "people who live in various other countries aren't choosing to learn dialects or minority languages". The choice in hiring people with prestige dialects to teach foreign/second language learners is more related to your original post, but there's no easy way to discuss either of those issues on more than a surface level without delving into politics.

But yes, you're right in saying that this is an issue more or less everywhere, both in terms of dialects and languages. There's been a lot of scholarship on this issue.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby Saim » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:12 pm

Alexandra wrote:some Chinese children in some areas ignore or even can not speak their own dialects at all.I have learned that many countries also speak more than one languages


Yes, this is a typical example of language shift.

For example ,Hindi is spoken by over 182 million people ,but at the same time,it shares co-official status with 21 other languages in India.I know,official language is very important in communicating and developing.


The situation in China is more comparable with that of the "Hindi belt" in India. That is, Indian states where Hindi is the official
language, but it is not traditionally used as a mother tongue. In fact, Hindi is only really native to northwestern Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

In those states these languages subordinated to Hindi are quickly losing ground to Hindi, similar to how other Sinitic languages are losing ground to Mandarin in China.

Image

Traditional Hindi is marked as "6" on the map. As you can see there are many other languages spoken in this area.

But is it not necessary to retain our own dialects.


I do think so. I'm glad you agree.

Is there a conflict between populizing official language and retaining various dialects.


Yes. They stand in direct contradiction with each other.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby nooj » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:44 pm

I hope we move beyond a discourse of 'retaining' and 'preserving' non-standard varieties of languages. Retaining for what? Preserving for what?

Let's talk and treat non-standard varieties and their speakers with the respect they deserve.

Sinitic languages in China other than Mandarin should not be retained, they should grow from strength to strength,.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby MacGyver » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:44 pm

I don't how to discuss this topic without getting political. If a government actively pushes one language and suppresses others, thats not good IMO.

I know there are cities where speakers of the local language are now the minority, drowned out by Mandarin speakers. The local culture also erodes away, being replaced with that of the North.
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Re: Is there a conflict between popularizing official language and retaining dialects

Postby David1917 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:47 pm

As far as I can tell, Russia by federalizing the country has allowed for local languages to maintain semi-official status along with Russian. That is, languages like Tatar, Ingush, Bashkir, etc. are often the main languages of instruction in primary schools as well as used in homes. Of course, everyone is taught Russian as well, and it remains the official language of the country. Chechen as well, though it is a special case with different considerations that we ought not to go into. I know China allows for Tibetan, Mongolian, Uighur languages to maintain semi-official status and are included in some capacity in state broadcasts. Are the situations for any of these languages and communities in these countries perfect? Probably not, but it is a step in the right direction for their continued existence. In this case, due to the current political philosophies of these countries, there is an official embrace of their multi-ethnic histories.

As far as dialects go, I'm more familiar with the draconian prescriptivism that abounds in English than the situation in China. Certain speech communities are told that they speak English "wrongly." There's a pretty simple way to create a baseline language to normalize communication across a country, whether it's based arbitrarily on the Ohio region, the center of power in Beijing, or the literature of Dante, while not using loaded terms like "standard" "correct" "official" "wrong" "poor" "slang." I think it would also be pretty easy to create similar baselines for Wu, Yue, Hakka, etc. which could include writing system reforms. Official academies could also promote these dialects abroad with film, serials, books, and learning materials. Even lobby to be called a different language, not a dialect. Nobody calls Hindi "Indian" - would such a term encompass Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and even Bengali?
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