Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sat Apr 22, 2023 9:11 pm

Cainntear wrote:
That is how language revival works. The language is inevitably changed in the process.

So are you saying that we're somehow against the language for trying to defend the rights of the remaining native speakers not to have their language "appropriated" by others right out of their mouths?
The way I see it, language revitalisation is utterly pointless if the remaining native speakers are sidelined by it.

I'm saying that that's the price to be paid if Irish is to be turned into the dominant language of Ireland. Is that price worth paying? That's for the Irish to decide. But you can't have it both ways. It's either something for the Irish masses (in which case, you'd better accept significant language change), or it isn't (in which case, Irish will remain a tiny language, and it'll very likely die within a few generations).
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby rdearman » Sat Apr 22, 2023 9:34 pm

Le Baron wrote:So they were sent there after having no instruction in Irish at all, nor any enquiry as to whether they even spoke it?!

Yep! Because the rule was you're in year X then you go. Bureaucracy at it's finest!
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby galaxyrocker » Sat Apr 22, 2023 9:42 pm

tastyonions wrote:It must be a frustrating ordeal learning a language when you’re obliged to seek out a few old people in remote villages to hear any decent examples of it.

Hats off to those who persevere.



To be fair, I love talking to them. They generally have amazing stories and life experiences to share, especially the ones who know the traditional songs and stories. But, there's still young people in the Gaeltacht, thankfully. They're just not really writing much for ChatGPT to pick up on.

Irena wrote:
Le Baron wrote:Bad Irish from the depths of ChatGPT. For pity's sake. Give it a rest.

It's not just ChatGPT. His issue was also with the actual human users of Irish (from whom ChatGPT learned the language).

My whole point is that ChatGPT can't 'understand' and 'correct' itself. It can only mimic what it's been given, which is entirely different from any actual learning. You asked how ChatGPT differs from children learning, and that's one key way. ChatGPT can't understand it's wrong, because it only knows what data it receives. Children can pick up a textbook, or listen to native speakers and say "Oh, yeah, I'm doing it wrong" and then choose to fix it. It's part of the reason why I'll never say ChatGPT and LLMs actually "learn" anything.


Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
That is how language revival works. The language is inevitably changed in the process.

So are you saying that we're somehow against the language for trying to defend the rights of the remaining native speakers not to have their language "appropriated" by others right out of their mouths?
The way I see it, language revitalisation is utterly pointless if the remaining native speakers are sidelined by it.

I'm saying that that's the price to be paid if Irish is to be turned into the dominant language of Ireland. Is that price worth paying? That's for the Irish to decide. But you can't have it both ways. It's either something for the Irish masses (in which case, you'd better accept significant language change), or it isn't (in which case, Irish will remain a tiny language, and it'll very likely die within a few generations).



So basically native speakers and traditional speech communities be damned! Learners have more power and numbers, who cares what natives think? That's just as bad as anything the English foisted upon the Irish speakers, and I hope you can see that. Furthermore, there's no reason why language revival can't be based on the language of the native speakers. In fact, I know many minority groups in America that are doing just that. They want to preserve what makes their language unique, so they base everything off the language of the elders and the strongest native speakers they can find. They're not willing to sacrifice it. And, guess what, people can learn it, if they're bothered to.

Also, the Welsh and Hebrew situations are not comparable. Welsh does exhibit some diglossia, yes, but it's completely language-internal change; that is, change among native speakers, not learners not learning it properly and then forcing natives out (though if Hewitt is to be believed, and I think he is, that's starting to happen). And Hebrew didn't have any living traditional native speakers, so again, not comparable at all.

rdearman wrote:
Le Baron wrote:So they were sent there after having no instruction in Irish at all, nor any enquiry as to whether they even spoke it?!

Yep! Because the rule was you're in year X then you go. Bureaucracy at it's finest!


Oof, that's just awful. I'm surprised they weren't able to get an exemption for the study of Irish, having come in so late. Though maybe the school still wanted to force them off to the Gaeltacht with others of their age. Either way, that's very frustrating!
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sat Apr 22, 2023 10:05 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:So basically native speakers and traditional speech communities be damned! Learners have more power and numbers, who cares what natives think? That's just as bad as anything the English foisted upon the Irish speakers, and I hope you can see that.

I'm just pointing out what the alternatives are. Expecting millions of ordinary Irish people, who are native English speakers, to learn Irish to a high level is a pipe dream. Yes, of course, a few can manage it. A few manage to learn excellent Japanese, too, no doubt. Most can't and won't. So there's the question: who is Irish for? The native speakers or all the ethnic Irish (the vast majority of whom are native English speakers)? I do not have a horse in this race, and I'm perfectly fine with either answer. But if you want language revival (maybe you don't?), then the answer is and must be that Irish is for all ethnic Irish, in which case, massive language change is unavoidable.

galaxyrocker wrote:Furthermore, there's no reason why language revival can't be based on the language of the native speakers. In fact, I know many minority groups in America that are doing just that. They want to preserve what makes their language unique, so they base everything off the language of the elders and the strongest native speakers they can find. They're not willing to sacrifice it. And, guess what, people can learn it, if they're bothered to.

Ah. McWhorter talked about this on Lexicon Valley (based on someone else's book; sorry, I don't remember which book it was). He said they weren't learning the full languages, just some words and phrases. It's too hard otherwise. But apparently, this little bit is meaningful to people from those communities. Something similar could be done be done with Irish, of course. But then don't expect it to turn into the language that the masses of Irish people use to discuss anything from breakfast cereal to politics (as happened with Hebrew).
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby rdearman » Sat Apr 22, 2023 10:14 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:Oof, that's just awful. I'm surprised they weren't able to get an exemption for the study of Irish, having come in so late. Though maybe the school still wanted to force them off to the Gaeltacht with others of their age. Either way, that's very frustrating!

To be fair to the school, it was a tiny village school and one of the teachers had to go with the class, so I suspect it was more to do with the lack of staff. They couldn't manage with most of the class away and a couple of stragglers to look after back at the school, I suspect. Also, most of them looked at it as a holiday, rather than a learning experience. (The kids, I mean)

That was the oldest two, but actually my youngest still remembers some Irish. Mostly "Please may I go to the toilet" since they had to ask in Irish before they were allowed to leave the classroom. :D

The other kids would ask my daughters to buy them stuff, because after a day everyone knew the "English Girls" and they could get away with using English. The other children still had the Irish accent, so just saying they were English normally didn't get them the "get out of jail free" card my children got.

Nobody got an exemption from learning Irish. Bureaucracy isn't good with exceptions. Irish is one of the core subjects in the school curriculum in Ireland, and you can get an exception if the child is over the age of 12 and studied outside the ROI for 3 years. But my children were not old enough to get an exemption. So they had to study it.

Another anomaly was they got boosted up one grade because they were much further advanced than the Irish students. I think the kids in ROI start later than in the UK? Most are 6 and in the UK most are 5 ? Anyway, my daughters were too advanced for their group and got bumped up a year, and so they were in the class that went to Gaeltacht.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 6:50 am

Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
That is how language revival works. The language is inevitably changed in the process.

So are you saying that we're somehow against the language for trying to defend the rights of the remaining native speakers not to have their language "appropriated" by others right out of their mouths?
The way I see it, language revitalisation is utterly pointless if the remaining native speakers are sidelined by it.

I'm saying that that's the price to be paid if Irish is to be turned into the dominant language of Ireland. Is that price worth paying? That's for the Irish to decide. But you can't have it both ways. It's either something for the Irish masses (in which case, you'd better accept significant language change), or it isn't (in which case, Irish will remain a tiny language, and it'll very likely die within a few generations).

So you're saying that the only way to stop a language dying is to create a new easier-to-learn language with the same name and teach that instead?

That still sounds like language death to me.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sun Apr 23, 2023 8:26 am

Cainntear wrote:
Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
That is how language revival works. The language is inevitably changed in the process.

So are you saying that we're somehow against the language for trying to defend the rights of the remaining native speakers not to have their language "appropriated" by others right out of their mouths?
The way I see it, language revitalisation is utterly pointless if the remaining native speakers are sidelined by it.

I'm saying that that's the price to be paid if Irish is to be turned into the dominant language of Ireland. Is that price worth paying? That's for the Irish to decide. But you can't have it both ways. It's either something for the Irish masses (in which case, you'd better accept significant language change), or it isn't (in which case, Irish will remain a tiny language, and it'll very likely die within a few generations).

So you're saying that the only way to stop a language dying is to create a new easier-to-learn language with the same name and teach that instead?

That still sounds like language death to me.

That sounds like an Anglo-Saxon --> Middle English level change to me. Is that language death? You tell me.

Wikipedia wrote:L1 speakers: 170,000; daily users outside education system: 73,000. Daily speakers in Northern Ireland: 43,557 (2021) (2019)

L2 speakers: unknown; In 2016, 1,761,420 people aged 3+ claimed they could speak Irish in ROI. In 2021, 228,600 people aged 3+ (12%) could speak Irish in NI. 18,815 in the United States.

So, an order of magnitude more non-native speakers than native ones. Those are precisely the kinds of circumstances under which massive language change would be expected to happen. And it's only made worse by the fact that something like 99.9% of non-native speakers have English as a native language (oh, I'm sure there's some Chinese or Russian linguist somewhere who's actually learned Irish, and probably quite a bit better than the English-speaking kids in Irish schools), which means that for all those non-native speakers, the utility of Irish as a tool of communication is actually enhanced by - butchering Irish. That is, substituting Irish words for English ones, while keeping English sentence structure. Oh, and don't expect actual Irish pronunciation of those Irish words. That just makes Irish more difficult to understand. Don't like it? Okay, then stop pushing Irish so much on the masses (e.g. via the education system). But in that case, Irish will most likely die a natural death, within a few generations.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 9:42 am

Irena wrote:That sounds like an Anglo-Saxon --> Middle English level change to me. Is that language death? You tell me.

Yes.

Latin is a dead language.
⇒ Anglosaxon is a dead language.
So, an order of magnitude more non-native speakers than native ones.

Doesn't make learner errors any more acceptable than English-speaking kids who say "A-vey voow day freets" instead of "Avez-vous des frites".
Those are precisely the kinds of circumstances under which massive language change would be expected to happen.

No, it's not about something being "expected to happen"; that presupposes that something's an inevitable consequence. It's something that is a predictable consequence of a given action, not an inevitable one.

The difference between the two isn't just academic -- it's fundamental.

By presenting a false choice between language death and language change, you create a choice between two undesirable outcomes, and this has been the excuse of Anglophones in the Irish language debates forever.
It creates a convenient excuse for them not to try.

which means that for all those non-native speakers, the utility of Irish as a tool of communication is actually enhanced by - butchering Irish.

Again, that's typically of the excuses used by Anglophones for failing to learn Irish. But the argument has no value because if you're looking for a language that maximises its utility as a tool of communication, just stick with English. Bad Irish has less utility as a tool of communication than English.
That is, substituting Irish words for English ones, while keeping English sentence structure.

That's not what happens at all.
Don't like it? Okay, then stop pushing Irish so much on the masses (e.g. via the education system).

Well that's potentially racist. You're talking as though policies that I fervently disagree with are my fault because of my Irish ancestry. I mean, is not like I'm in the Dáil or anything.
But in that case, Irish will most likely die a natural death, within a few generations.

Better a natural death that being beaten to death by people who get prickly if you try to point out that they don't actually speak the language at all.

But here's the thing: the government's actions are presently harming the language. The government could take different actions that could have genuine positive effects on the language. Claiming there's a choice between "government kills the language" and "government leaves the language to die in a corner" is really, really unhelpful.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 9:49 am

To go back to this, then:
Irena wrote:If ChatGPT manages to mimic Irish as it's actually used most of the time (to the chagrin of native speakers and purists), then I see that as a major success of AI.

It is only a success of AI in that it has acheived it.

Failures of AI go further than this, because AI has repercussions on society. People are predisposed to point at computers and say "see? The AI says it, so this must be right."

Technology has historically been very bad at identifying prejudice driving it's own conception. AI is the first technology that might be capable of doing so in the longer term, but it can't do it now.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sun Apr 23, 2023 9:57 am

Cainntear wrote:
which means that for all those non-native speakers, the utility of Irish as a tool of communication is actually enhanced by - butchering Irish.

Again, that's typically of the excuses used by Anglophones for failing to learn Irish. But the argument has no value because if you're looking for a language that maximises its utility as a tool of communication, just stick with English. Bad Irish has less utility as a tool of communication than English.

There you go: I'm right. What I said was a perfectly natural consequence of having an order of magnitude more non-native speakers than native ones (and worse: having practically all those non-native speakers have the same native language) is in fact happening, en masse, according to you. And it'll continue to happen, as long as this arrangement persists.

Oh, and "A-vey voow day freets" would be perfectly fine French - if you expected to use French first and foremost with native English speakers, and only very rarely if ever with native French speakers.
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