Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby Serpent » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:45 pm

mick33 wrote:Very interesting idea mentioned in the OP. I think what I would most likely do is delve into regional minority languages like Elfdalian, Karelian, or Silesian since they are somewhat related to languages I already have a little knowledge of.

I would go for Karelian as well :D
Also Belarusian and the different varieties/dialects of Finnish, Italian and German :)

I would also count Montenegrin as a separate language :lol:
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby Adrianslont » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:52 pm

basica wrote:Since no one took my bait :shock: 8-) , I'll give a bit more of a serious answer :)

I've found Native American languages to be really interesting. To my ears they sound so bizarre. Sure, there are languages from other regions that also fit the "sound bizarre" bill, but I think the reason for my attraction is from the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto so Modern Mayan would probably be one of them.

I've also got a vague interest in Scandinavian languages. I don't think I'll ever learn one, but if I were paid to do so and the bigger ones were out of the question (and they are according to these rules) I would pick Icelandic. It's reputation of being a fossilized language if you will are intriguing to say the least.

And, lists always look better in 3s, so I'll add one more :) I'd say Maori would be another language. I know it'd probably make more sense to learn an Aboriginal language since I'm in Australia, but I encounter more Maoris than Aboriginals (significantly more in fact), even in the small city I live in now (I could probably count on one hand, maybe two how many Aboriginal people I've seen in person, ever) so it'd be more useful and it'd probably give me a helping hand with Tongan and some other Polynesian languages I'd likely encounter here.

I’m Australian, too and you’ve made me curious about where you live and how few indigenous Australians you have come across and yet meet Maori. The only answer I can come up with is a town other than Hobart in Tasmania.
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby aokoye » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:59 pm

Chung wrote:If I want to turn my current but faintly hipsterish choice of languages into an expression of full-blown linguistic hipsterism / posturing / grandstanding / virtue-signalling / "anti-imperialism" (???), then I'd learn Meänkieli (*wink and nudge to my Finnish friends*), Northern Saami (I want payback for Norwegianism!), Meadow Mari (I'll show them Russkies!), Latvian (I'll show them Russkies! Again), and Rusyn (I'll show them Banderists!).

***

To add to Iversen's and emk's posts, it's naïve (and even rather arrogant) to go in thinking that one's longstanding studying of lower-profile languages regularly and genuinely inspires others similarly to go off the beaten path linguistically. Furthermore, who am I to needle someone, even subtlely, for digging into just FIGS, Mandarin, Russian, MSA or some other big, bad colonial language, while I happily plow through less commonly-taught languages?

What you learn is an asset to yourself and a liability to no one.


I didn't think that that's what the OP was positing - rather I took it as a thought experiment. If you were to do this then what would you chose to learn? That's going to be more thought provoking for some people than it is for others but I'm almost positive people have posted thought experiments like that here and on the old forum before.

Also none of the hipsters that I'm around (and I'm around a lot of them...sadly) are doing anything special surrounding learning other languages. In fact the only people I hear talking about linguistic imperialism are people who are directly affected by it and linguists (and "budding linguists", but even then not much). I suspect a handful of other academics do as well but given that most hipsters are generally of a specific generation you're not going to find many who have a strong foothold into the ivory tower.
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby aokoye » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:06 am

I would study ASL, I mean ok that's already one of my goals for next Fall, but yeah - it's an easy winner. I've been interested in ASL since I was a kid, studied it off and on when I had Deaf acquaintances as a teenager, and have always thought that it was really important. I have a few friends who are proficient in ASL who are making the idea even more tempting.
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby basica » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:08 am

Adrianslont wrote:I’m Australian, too and you’ve made me curious about where you live and how few indigenous Australians you have come across and yet meet Maori. The only answer I can come up with is a town other than Hobart in Tasmania.


I grew up in Sydney in the western suburbs and I should add the caveat that I've quiet likely encountered people who identify as Aboriginal that I wouldn't have necessarily realized this were the case. That being said, yes, I've rarely seen or met in person many Aboriginal people. I know that there's certain areas where there's a larger population than average (such as Redern in Sydney) but seeing those aren't areas I don't live or work in, I of course don't encounter them. I went to school with a kid who was Aboriginal, and I know a few people who claim to have some Aboriginal ancestry people way back when, but aside from them I've encountered more since then in my regional town (which I'd rather not disclose as it's a small place and all).

That said, even here I've met more Islanders than Aboriginals. Mostly working in security at pubs and bars which kinda surprised me when I first moved here to be honest. Anyways, I'm sure there's people with completely different experiences than mine who also grew up in Sydney but I would be still be surprised if anyone didn't consider encountering an Aboriginal person as very rare.

EDIT: Just rereading your comment here:
The only answer I can come up with is a town other than Hobart in Tasmania.


Was this a joke that initially went over my head, or am I overanalysing things? :lol:
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:23 am

Adrianslont wrote:
basica wrote:Since no one took my bait :shock: 8-) , I'll give a bit more of a serious answer :)

I've found Native American languages to be really interesting. To my ears they sound so bizarre. Sure, there are languages from other regions that also fit the "sound bizarre" bill, but I think the reason for my attraction is from the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto so Modern Mayan would probably be one of them.

I've also got a vague interest in Scandinavian languages. I don't think I'll ever learn one, but if I were paid to do so and the bigger ones were out of the question (and they are according to these rules) I would pick Icelandic. It's reputation of being a fossilized language if you will are intriguing to say the least.

And, lists always look better in 3s, so I'll add one more :) I'd say Maori would be another language. I know it'd probably make more sense to learn an Aboriginal language since I'm in Australia, but I encounter more Maoris than Aboriginals (significantly more in fact), even in the small city I live in now (I could probably count on one hand, maybe two how many Aboriginal people I've seen in person, ever) so it'd be more useful and it'd probably give me a helping hand with Tongan and some other Polynesian languages I'd likely encounter here.

I’m Australian, too and you’ve made me curious about where you live and how few indigenous Australians you have come across and yet meet Maori. The only answer I can come up with is a town other than Hobart in Tasmania.


Another aussie here,
I think your guestimation could be on the money. I live not far from Australia’s second biggest city and I don’t often come across aboriginals, probably more Maori’s as well, for me.

Currently I’m staying a week or so in the town/small city I grew up in, visiting family (a little further from that second biggest city. There is a sizeable aboriginal population here, but I have never (that I can recall) heard an aboriginal language spoken in this town. Still, I’m rarely on the other side of this town, where the majority of the aboriginal population lives, but I have crossed paths with them a good number of times when I was younger and I would hypothesize that considerably less than 1% of the aboriginal population of this town would speak an aboriginal language with fluidity and spontaneity (lets lower the bar and call it B1 as per CERF). I would even go as far to say there wouldbe none, zero.

Australian aboriginal languages vary wildly, are dying rapidly, have practically zero government support, have dwindling numbers of native speakers who would be very difficult to locate let alone both parties agreeing on learning/teaching the language for a number of sensitive reasons, and other educational, literary, audio resources are miniscule in number, or more than likely non-existent.

Maori is a unified language nowadays with a vastly better situation with relation to everything mentioned in the above paragraph with respect to aboriginal languages.

I know I’m not necessarily teaching fellow aussies and some other folk anything new here with my words above, but some details on the plight of aboriginal languages are nevertheless still interesting to raise within the context of choosing minority languages which one might learn.

Edit: In my work as a nurse I have in the last couple of years come across a handful of aboriginals imprisoned at the time of our meeting (btw there are more Maoris there too at that one particular prison from my observations). I have had a couple of lengthy conversations on the topic of their ancestral languages and whether they speak an/their traditional aboriginal language themselves. The answer is no even for one man who identified strongly with his culture and heritage.

On the contrary I would be almost certain that in the far north and centre of Australia it would be easier to locate and considerably more common to hear aboriginal languages depending on where exactly we are considering, but again still frought with massive challenges were an outsider wanting to learn one of these languages.
Last edited by PeterMollenburg on Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby Chung » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:40 am

nooj wrote:I don't know what virtue signalling is (it seems 27 is now too old to be in with the 'hip crowd'), but I do know when someone reads something that isn't there. This isn't a post about linguistic imperialism, if I want to do that, I would say it clearly, nor about 'saving' languages, a term I loathe with the fire of a thousand stars, and which falls into the pathetic romanticism of a white saviour figure, but about the love of languages, if you had to choose one that has less speakers, less resources. It is an exercise in creativity. All those languages that you wanted to learn but never tried because others were more 'useful', well now they are the kinds of languages that you must learn. That is a joyous thing to indulge in.

Also, this is not a thread necessarily about endangered languages. A language doesn't have to have more than 2 million speakers to be healthy. A language can have 100 speakers and be far more healthier than one than has 6-8 million native speakers (like Quechua).


As one of the dinosaurs on this forum and the old one, we obviously don't see eye-to-eye on the thrust of this thread (another thing: You haven't heard of virtue-signalling? In 2017?) How the thread about lingua francae devolved (as referred to by Adrianslont earlier in this thread) into a pissing match about "massive" languages steamrolling minority or indigenous languages makes me feel that the current thread about replacing current rosters of languages (many of which are "massive" or just plain popular languages) with ones bearing speech communities of two million or smaller is rather a variation on a theme, although it's been quite benign here so far.

aokoye wrote:
Chung wrote:If I want to turn my current but faintly hipsterish choice of languages into an expression of full-blown linguistic hipsterism / posturing / grandstanding / virtue-signalling / "anti-imperialism" (???), then I'd learn Meänkieli (*wink and nudge to my Finnish friends*), Northern Saami (I want payback for Norwegianism!), Meadow Mari (I'll show them Russkies!), Latvian (I'll show them Russkies! Again), and Rusyn (I'll show them Banderists!).

***

To add to Iversen's and emk's posts, it's naïve (and even rather arrogant) to go in thinking that one's longstanding studying of lower-profile languages regularly and genuinely inspires others similarly to go off the beaten path linguistically. Furthermore, who am I to needle someone, even subtlely, for digging into just FIGS, Mandarin, Russian, MSA or some other big, bad colonial language, while I happily plow through less commonly-taught languages?

What you learn is an asset to yourself and a liability to no one.


I didn't think that that's what the OP was positing - rather I took it as a thought experiment. If you were to do this then what would you chose to learn? That's going to be more thought provoking for some people than it is for others but I'm almost positive people have posted thought experiments like that here and on the old forum before.

Also none of the hipsters that I'm around (and I'm around a lot of them...sadly) are doing anything special surrounding learning other languages. In fact the only people I hear talking about linguistic imperialism are people who are directly affected by it and linguists (and "budding linguists", but even then not much). I suspect a handful of other academics do as well but given that most hipsters are generally of a specific generation you're not going to find many who have a strong foothold into the ivory tower.


In this particular instance, I'm using the analogy of hipsters and the drive to seek out the most obscure / lowest profile whatever (Look at me! I was into [insert obscure/uncommonly-taught language name here] before it was cool! :roll:). Nothing to do with PBR, single-speed bikes or lumberjack beards.

As tarvos asked earlier, "Why"?
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby basica » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:46 am

Chung wrote:As tarvos asked earlier, "Why"?


I guess I'm a bit more playful than you two. When I was a kid we would ask outrageous questions like this for fun (one in particular that we often went to: would you rather be deaf or blind?). Obviously you guys don't think it to be so fun :lol:
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby Chung » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:51 am

basica wrote:
Chung wrote:As tarvos asked earlier, "Why"?


I guess I'm a bit more playful than you two. When I was a kid we would ask outrageous questions like this for fun (one in particular that we often went to: would you rather be deaf or blind?). Obviously you guys don't think it to be so fun :lol:


That actually would be more fun for me.

Constraining the choice of language to study by size of speech community (Why 2 million anyway? How about 20 million? 200,000? 20?) is not as fun for someone who likes foreign languages, and wants to let interests guide the decision rather than some figure plucked out of thin air.

If I want to play along then, may I ask which language(s) anyone would like to learn among the languages that have just three grammatical numbers (i.e. singular, dual, plural)?
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Re: Replace all the languages you are learning with ones that have less than 2 million speakers

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:55 am

For the record, I see/saw no harm in this thread.

Admittedly it may need to be brought on track like many other threads, but as the question was asked, I simply see it as a bit of fun, a chance to wanderlust in a what if scenario. I don’t think it’s useful judging this thread as inherently negative when a language lover just wanted to allow for some shared exploration of language wanderlust with fellow language lovers.
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