Euskara (berriro)

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nooj
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:51 pm

In 2001, the now defunct newspaper Egunkaria reported on the remarks of a councillor of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru. His name was Seimon Glyn, and he was at that time the chair of the Plaid Cymru Housing Committee of the county of Gwynedd. Gwynedd is the most Welsh speaking county in Wales.

Egunkaria, by the way, was the only Basque language newspaper of its time and was closed in 2003 by order of a Spanish court, for allegedly having links to the terrorist organisation ETA. The seizure and closure was later legally declared spurious and politically motivated.

Here is what Glyn said on BBC Wales:

We’re faced with a situation now where we are getting tidal waves of migration, inward migration into our rural areas from England and these people are coming to live, to establish themselves here and to influence our communities and our culture with their own… Now if they were coming here under strict monitoring and control and if, for example, they were made aware of you know the different cultural aspects of these areas and made to or be persuaded to learn Welsh and to integrate smoothly into our communities there wouldn’t be a problem


Glyn was referring to retired, elderly English people moving into the area, sometimes buying secondary homes. As the Egunkaria article mentions:

Gwynedden urtebetean saldutako jabetzen herena kanpotik joandako jendeak eskuratu zuen, eta zinegotzi batzuek Galesko Legebiltzarrari eskatu zioten bertako herritarrek etxeak erosi ahal izateko neurriak hartzeko. Izan ere, ingelesek diru gehiago ordaintzen dute etxeengatik, eta bertako herritarrak kanpora joatera bultzatzen ditu horrek. Glynek egoera hori salatu baino pixka bat lehenago, ikerketa batek ohartarazi zuen nekazari galestar komunitateak desager zitezkeela etxe salmenta handiarengatik.


A third of the properties sold yearly in Gwynedd were acquired by people who came from outside the county, and some councillors have asked the Welsh Parliament to take measures so that local residents can buy houses, as the English pay more money for the houses, which pushes local residents to leave. Shortly before Glyn denounced the situation, a study warned that rural Welsh communities could disappear due to the large sale of housing.

Glyn was vociferously criticised for his remarks from all political sides, called a racist, xenophobe and so forth. Including for his remarks about the Welsh language, about making or encouraging English immigrants learn the language. Curiously, Britain imposing English language qualifications on international immigrants seemed to cause much less waves in the media...

And yet, what he said was and still remains true.

Compare the situation in the North Basque Country, where a full 25% of all housing is classified as 'secondary housing', that is, property that outsiders buy and leave mostly empty for the year, only to come during summer. Meanwhile, the demand for primary housing among actual residents cannot be satisfied, and the prices go up, forcing residents, especially youths, to leave the area altogether. You can imagine the serious deletrious effects this can have on a language community. Physical contiguity of a language speaker community is important.

There are probably thousands of Basque speakers living in Paris and its metropolitan area. But they are spread out and do not constitute a majority in any one place. A Basque speaker who is forced to leave their town in the Basque Country in order to find work and a house that he or she cannot find at home, is a 'lost' Basque speaker in a sea of erdaldunak. And so long as the laboral and housing conditions at home remain poor, there's every possibility that the loss becomes permanent, and they will not return home.

Healthcare in areas that are the subject of secondary housing are focused towards looking after people who are only there for a few days a year, people who contribute in no meaningful way to the life of a place for most of the year. Meanwhile infrastructure that is required all year round for people who live there all year around like public transportation, hospitals, communications and education are neglected. The consequence is this: the Basque Country loses its natives, 'gains' foreigners who are attracted there by the weather. Not exactly a firm basis to create a society out of. Or a Basque language community. The biggest such increases are noted for the coastal areas, but even in the interior (far more rural), the trend is being noted.

Let's examine some of the metropolitan areas in the Basque Country. Basque name first, French name second. These are figures from several years ago, 2015-2017.

Miarritze (Biarritz): 41% of the housing are secondary homes.

Donibane Lohizune (Saint-Jean-de-Luz): 47% of the housing are secondary homes.

Getaria (Guéthary): 48% of the housing are secondary homes.

What to do? Starting with the legal option, tax the shit out of the secondary homes. If they're going to live there, at least get some money out of it to pump back into the region. And that's precisely what some communes have done, with secondary residences paying up to 60% of the housing tax, often in the face of opposition from powerful interest groups and land developers.

The Basque nationalists are the ones who have been fighting against property speculation from the very beginning. They are currently the leading left wing coalition in the Basque Country, and second party overall. Their rise to political relevancy over the past decades in the North Basque Country is stunning, given their extremely humble beginnings. Mainstream political parties on both the left and the right used to create a 'cordon sanitaire' around them, fearing their political (Basque nationalism, independence), ecological (green ecologists) and economic (socialism) ideology. Today however, in many parts of the Basque Country, gaining support or creating a coalition from Basque nationalists is necessary to even govern at all. All this, they have slowly accrued by years of good governance.

Image

Euskal Herria ez da salgai, this graffiti reads: the Basque Country is not for sale. Spayprainted on a secondary house, empty for most of the year. Graffiti and even arson attacks against tourist houses and property speculators (real estate agents) have been recorded as well.

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:37 pm

The last couple of months, I have been ecstatically watching two TV shows about the Catalan language and linguistics. They came out this year. One is on IB3, the TV channel for the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, and is called Téntol, the other is on TV3, the equivalent TV channel for the Principality of Catalonia, and is called El Llenguado.

These are high quality productions, well-researched, well-shot, well-edited and importantly in long format. None of this 5 minute stuff for our ever shortening attention span. No siree, they give you meat to chew on.

Téntol is dedicated to exploring the dialectical diversity of Catalan in the Balearic Islands, and wisely goes beyond the Mallorca-centricity into which one can fall into when talking about Balearic dialects.

Every episode has a theme and every episode unites speakers from all the islands, meaning you have a sample of a range of authentic Balearic dialects. Starting with the host. Margalida Mateu is from Montuïri and speaks very much like a montuïrera, with the exception of using articles literaris instead of articles salats as befits a journalist.

If you want to know and learn how people in the Balearic Islands speak Catalan without ever stepping foot there, this TV series is your greatest ally. I cannot emphasise how amazing this series is. If I had won the lottery, I would have loved to fund a show like this!

The most recent episode focused on the relationship that people have with playing and games. Speaking of which, the word téntol (which gave the name to the series) is the way to say 'time out' in Mallorca, when one is playing at a game.



El Llenguado is more generalist in its themes, exploring things such as the sociolinguistic status of Catalan, whether it is being taught well in the education system, how Catalan is used by youth, how it is used in the media, how people think about dialects of Catalan. In the latest episode, they went to North Catalonia to explore how Catalan is faring 'over there'.

The producers and the autonomic channels have my sincere thanks for raising metalinguistic awareness and promoting discussion of language in public television. Language, when it is even raised as a subject, is often limited to documentaries or doom and gloom predictions that take themselves (too) seriously. El Llenguado and Téntol treat their subject playfully, passionately because language IS playful and should inspire passion. They treat language as if it were - dare I say the word, my God what has the world come to - fun!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:55 pm



An interesting documentary about the Mapuche nation of Chile, working to revitalise their language, Mapudungun. The documentary's title is Mai da bai (eta ezetzik ez dago), which means in English Yes is Yes (and there is no saying no). Mai is the Mapudungun word for yes, bai is the Basque word for yes, and the bit in brackets means 'there is no denying, refusal, saying no'.

The documentary was created by the Basque non-profit organisation Garabide, which works with other communities of minoritised languages around the world, and shares techniques and strategies for revitalising their languages in workshops. It is a trilingual documentary in Mapudungun, Basque and Spanish.

Featured is a very interesting Mapuche rapper:



I liked what one participant says, Viktor Naqill:

ezer ez dakien pertsonak, ikasi egin behar du
apur bat dakien pertsonak, gehiago ikasi behar du
eta dakien pertsonak erakutsi egin behar du


The person who doesn't know anything, must learn.
The person who knows a little, must learn more.
And the person who knows, must teach.

Everyone is (held) responsible.

Two years ago, I shared another video of Garabide, uniting speakers of Nahuatl, Nasa, Kitxua, Mapuche (Mapudungun), Maya, Kakchiqel, Aimara, Guarani, Bariba who came to one of their workshops. I'll repost it here:

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:04 pm



RAG: Achar? Non é unha palabra galega non? Pois é! O certo é no galego actual, non se usa dabondo o verbo 'achar' que tan comunmente se encontra no portugués, pero non ten sido sempre así. De feito, é unha palabra ben patrimonial e galega, que paga a pena rescatar do esquecemento. Con todo, hai un matice importante. En galego, achar vai acompañado co sentido de dúbida ou usase como contesta a unha pregunta. Hoxe día, os verbos máis miúdo utilizados polos galegofalantes para dicir achar son coidar, pensar e crer. Para eses falantes, achar xa se usa sobretodo no sentido de 'encontrar, topar'.

AGAL: Devemos revalorizar o que é de nosso, acho que sim! A propósito, a moça que aparece no segundo 1:53 tem un sotaque galego que presta muito, é a isso que se referem os castelhanofalantes a dizer que os galegos tenhem um acento galego. Oxalá o colha eu também cedo!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:49 pm

An interesting theatrical perfomance, combining three Mallorcan rondalles together with three Mallorcan girls competing to tell them in turn. One story is about a nightingale that is looking for a nightingale partner, one is about a rat who marries a cat and the last one is about a cunning fox and an arrogant cat. A note about the language they use: purposefully, they slip in and out of central Catalan and Mallorcan Catalan. When speaking to each other, or to be more accurate, sparring with each other, they use Mallorcan. The dramaturgist is Mallorcan, he must have done this mix of dialects on purpose.



A rondalla is a kind of fantastic traditional story, a fairy tale, in other words. Many of the rondalles in the Balearic Islands (there are Mallorcan ones, Menorcan ones, Ibizan ones etc) were brought over from Catalonia, where they have their own rondalles, and adapted to the islander life and culture. Many of the Catalan rondalles are shared with other traditional fairy tales around the Mediterranean, or at least share common themes and tropes.

Traditionally they were passed down orally, and there are still people who have memorised them by heart and can retell them, but most people today know them because of written collections that were made in the late 19th century. The Mallorcan rondalles were collected, synthesised and written down by the priest and philologist Antoni Maria Alcover i Sureda. Each story is accompanied by the name of the person he heard it from. In total 24 volumes were published, but there were surely more rondalles that he did not get around to and which were simply lost to time.

In the very first public radio transmissions in Mallorca, in the 1950s, there was a program where these rondalles were read out by the great Mallorcan linguist Francesc de Borja Moll. He had worked with Alcover (the man who collected them), and finished the work Alcover had not completed at his death, the Diccionari català-valencià-balear (DCVB).

Despite being started in 1900 and finished in 1962, thus an old work by now, it is one of the very best dictionaries and in my opinion, an invaluable resource to any Catalan learner. I use it all the time, the only thing you have to be careful of is that since the 60s, a lot of new terminology has entered into the language, obviously you're not going to find words that have to do with modern technology.

These stories are still highly readable, despite over a century of linguistic difference between the Catalan of then and now. It's not at all like having to read medieval Catalan, which whilst not requiring the years of training that a speaker of modern English requires to read Old English, is still difficult to understand for a modern Catalan speaker. Especially early medieval Catalan (13th century for example is hard), latter stages of Catalan are easier.

Keep in mind that these stories were collected before the orthographic and linguistic standardisation of the language, and these stories have not been updated into modern Catalan, meaning you'll run constantly into odd spellings, contractions, weird morphological forms etc. For me, apart from being very fun to read, they're a treasure trove of linguistic information of what Mallorcan Catalan looked like at that time. Some things have changed since then. A surprising lot has not.

Take for example what one of the narrators says in the video, 4:50. She is telling the story of the nightingale who is looking for a lady nightingale to have as a partner, but has trouble finding one, until one day, the nightingale finds one. He greets her with, alabat sia Déu 'God be praised!' and she in turn says per sempre sia alabat 'may He be praised forever!'.

These greetings were common in Mallorcan life up until a couple of decades, not just as greetings in the street, but in the home.

When a visitor entered the house of another person, they would say alabat sia Déu 'God be praised!' and the host would reply per sempre sia alabat 'may He be praised forever!'.

Another very common alternative was for the visitor to say ave Maria Puríssima 'Hail, most pure Mary', and the host to reply concebuda sense pecat/concebuda sense macula 'Conceived without sin'.

The changing religious tides eroded this usage over time, but by no means is it dead, as there are still people in the 21st century who say them. If you ever go to Mallorca and you want to make a good impression, and if you're entering the house of an elderly person (they're more used to it), enter a house saying alabat sia Déu or ave Maria Puríssima. These are fixed expressions from medieval Catalan, which explains why the subjunctive is sia (archaic form) and not sigui (modern form).
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby guyome » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:21 pm

Great post!

I also enjoy reading fairy tales or stories and like you, I have found that material collected in the 19th c. or early 20 th c. is generally not very linguistically removed from what I learn now (which reminds me of all these discussions about wether a course from the 1960's is outdated :roll:). Here are some Occitan folktales I read some time ago (it's only the first installment of a series). They were published in the 1880's but I don't think the language is very different from what you'd be taught today. Of course, I'm not very knowledgeable about Occitan, which means there probably are differences but at my level I just don't notice them.
These are fixed expressions from medieval Catalan, which explains why the subjunctive is sia (archaic form) and not sigui (modern form).
Interesting. Languedocian (at least Standard Languedocian) still uses siá but I've seen forms close to sigui in texts from various places (both Languedocian and Provençal).
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:01 am

A Galician poet. She was born in a taxi. She grew up in the far west of Galicia, in the Costa da Morte, literally the Coast of Death, so named because of the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean that have killed countless sailors throughout the millennia.
Image

Really easy
it's really easy to be a wolf
to rise up, as the night dies
and delicately put on a suit of shadow
slowly hitch the tie, the silk tie
be a respected wolf, father of a litter
a wolf lucky in business, a wolf with important businesses, a skilled investor, a responsible wolf
a good advisor, a friend of his friends
a wolf with contacts, a good education, good backers
a wolf who viciously developed his career, a committed predator
it is really easy to defend the liberties of the wolves, the interests of the pack
to be the hand that holds the law up, master of the land, owner of the water, of the oak trees, of the beings that have no voice
lord of all mammals, even those that gave him his name
it is really easy to walk the earth with the airs of the beast that can seize
everything
to have the wolf's tongue/language
and to sharpen it on the necks of lambs, is really easy and pleasurable.
it is very easy to be a wolf.
what's hard is to live in the land of wolves.
in the land of wolves
in the land of wolves
everyone wants to be a wolf. what's hard
what's hard is to be cattle
to be cattle and to survive.

what's hard is to be cattle - o dificil ér ser ganado

Note the purposeful use of rhotacism in this one line, where she is talking about how hard it is to be cattle. An [r] is interpolated. This is a characteristic of the natural Galician dialects. This phonological process has been active since the very days of Latin (flōsem -> flōrem), operative throughout the history of Galician-Portuguese (blanco -> branco, esclavo -> escravo), and continues in a natural way in ordinary Galician.

The solidarity with the working class, the peasants, the farmers, the fishermen, the fishermen's wives who make their nets by hand, the canners, the miners, the potters is indexed here by orthographically marking how she really speaks. In identifying herself as one of them, she consequently takes her place among the cattle that the wolves prey on.

I want to say personally that if there are two types of language communities in the world, the haves and the have nots, the cattle and the wolves, then I prefer not to be a wolf...
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:36 pm

I spilled coffee on my laptop and it has gone kaput so there will be a significant reduction in the quantity of posts for the foreseeable future. I'm writing this on my phone.

At least it will give me the opportunity to read my ever growing pile of books.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby guyome » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:25 pm

Too bad about your computer.

Thanks for posting the poem. I was intringued by this bit,
nooj wrote:This is a characteristic of the natural Galician dialects.
Does it mean there are un-natural dialects, like an artificial standard which doesn't possess such a characteristic (I must admit I don't know anything about Galician)?
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:30 pm

guyome wrote:Too bad about your computer.

Thanks for posting the poem. I was intringued by this bit,
nooj wrote:This is a characteristic of the natural Galician dialects.
Does it mean there are un-natural dialects, like an artificial standard which doesn't possess such a characteristic (I must admit I don't know anything about Galician)?


There is the orthographic standard of Galician which was concretised late 1970s-early 1980s (a standard Galician orthography is thus only a couple of decades old) which does not represent many phonetic and phonolgical traits of Galician as it is normally spoken.

In the same way as the standard English orthography does not represent non-rhotic dialects, or the standard French orthography does not represent the affricatisation of dental stops before high front vowels in Quebec French, or how Spanish does not reflect at all the vowel system of western Andalucian dialects.

Rhoticism is one of those traits gummed over, another is gheada which I've written about before in this blog. Both are widespread traits in native speakers. They CAN be written down, by bending the orthography, like how a non rhotic English speaker can write 'caa' for 'car' or 'waata' for water if they wanted to.

However, would people want to mark key distinctive traits of their language in writing, even if it was technically feasible, if those traits were not considered prestigious? Both rhoticism and gheada are indexed with rurality, poverty, 'ugly sounds'.

Despite the fact that they are some of the most widespread phonological phenomena in Galician, you will almost never hear gheada or rhotacism from presenters or journalists on TVG, the autonomous channel for Galicia, even if they speak like that normally offset. I think it's perverse.

For people with these traits, writing Galician as they really speak is consequently limited to text messages, tweets and literature that purposely tries to reflect ordinary speech.

The reintegracionist orthography itself, by approaching the Portuguese one almost completely, also in turn hides and occults many aspects of Galician phonology in favour of the orthography of another language/dialect/whatever you wanna call it.

To which reintegracionists reply that there's no need for writing to accurately reflect speech, and the practical benefits of a Portuguese-ish or Portuguese-light orthography outweigh the principle of text-sound isomorphism that many proclaim to be important.
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