Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

This is a room for the discussion of travel plans or experiences and the culture of places you have visited or plan to visit.
User avatar
heartlandexpat
White Belt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat May 05, 2018 3:18 pm
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Languages: English (N), French (rusty B2), Spanish (B1) + some dabbling in DE, IT, LT, NL
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=8020
x 31

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby heartlandexpat » Sun May 27, 2018 12:40 pm

I know this isn't entirely related, but honestly Brussels is so multilinguistic I think it's worth mentioning. Of course, in the shops/at restaurants/etc it's mostly French & English, but on the streets, within homes, even within offices it can be an entirely different story. In my house there were 7 of us (I should say at a time as there were a few shifts over my 6 months) and while English was the lingua franca, it was not uncommon for you to walk into the kitchen and hear a conversation in French, Romanian, German, or Italian, and for a brief time Spanish. In my work building there were offices operating in English, Spanish, Italian, and French and in the lunch room a conversation could be operating in any one of these (besides Spanish, I guess they ate in their office?), though when me and my cowoker came down it typically switched to English since she doesn't speak French and I don't Italian.

Honestly, I very rarely ran into Belgian people there, which I think is really unique, and it wasn't for lack of trying. The "EU bubble" is real, y'all. I'm in DC now, and while on the bus and the street I can hear a lot of diversity (in fact I helped a spanish-speaking lady figure out the self-checkout at Target today!), most people are still American at least compared to Brussels- I suppose compared to many other parts of the states it's extremely diverse. On a similar topic, I'll throw in the fact I did go on a date once (a bad one lol) with a girl from Luxembourg and she really did speak a lot of languages at home, it was quite impressive!

I think it'd be interesting to stay somewhere multi-linguistic in it's actual culture as has been previously discussed here because it would give such a good opportunity to learn and develop skills! Plus the histories of the hows and whys are so interesting
1 x
just a midwestern girl off to see the world...
Omaha, USA -> Huddersfield, UK -> Brussels, BE -> DC, USA -> Vilnius, LT

User avatar
iguanamon
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1668
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:14 am
Location: Virgin Islands
Languages: Speaks: English (Native); Spanish (C2); Portuguese (C2); Haitian Creole (C1); Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol (C1); Lesser Antilles French Creole (B2)
Studies: Catalan
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=797
x 8474

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby iguanamon » Sun May 27, 2018 2:25 pm

Miami and South Florida, while heavily Spanish-speaking, represent a vibrant mix of the biggest languages in America. If you catch the Tri-Rail train north to West Palm Beach, the announcements on the train are in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. The languages on the ticket dispenser are also in the same languages. The area has a lot of Brazilian immigrants and visitors too, so I often hear Portuguese. In the winter, many French-speaking Quebecois become "snowbirds" and add French to the mix.

I almost speak more Spanish in Miami and South Florida than I do in nearby Puerto Rico. 70% of the city's population is Hispanic and the majority of the Hispanic population is Cuban, but the percentage is falling as more people from other Latin countries make Miami and South Florida their home. I find the mix exciting and the cultural scene stimulating. US Spanish learners would do well to spend some time there, eat some Cuban food and drink some café con leche, have some Haitian "fritay" or some Quebecois "poutine" and have dinner at a Brazilian rodizio, all while never leaving the US.
The BBC wrote:"Miami is very attractive for Latin Americans. They get to be in the United States, with all its advantages, but keeping familiar cultural roots," says Mr Restrepo.
"It is also a very efficient bridge between both cultures, Anglo and Hispanic. If you go to other places in the country, you feel the cultural and racial tensions to a much larger degree," he adds.
Mr Restrepo is part of a Latin diaspora that has turned Miami into the US metropolis with the largest percentage of foreign-born residents, close to 51% of the population, according to Guillermo Grenier, a professor of sociology at Florida International University. ... "In Los Angeles, when you hear Spanish, it is often the language that the waiters or the cutters doing your lawn speak in the background. In Miami, the people who own the restaurants and the lawn are the ones who speak Spanish."
4 x

User avatar
tarvos
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2500
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Dark paradise
Languages: Native: NL, EN
Speak well: ES, DE, RU, FR, RO, EO, SV
Speak reasonably: IT, ZH, PT, NO, EL, CZ
Need improvement: PO, IS, HE, JP, KO, HU
Passive: AF, DK, LAT
Dabbled in: BRT, ZH (SH), FI, BG, EUS
Dabbling in: Malay
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 4730
Contact:

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby tarvos » Mon May 28, 2018 11:53 am

Brussels depends on the bubble you're in. For me it was very useful as I got to practice several languages on a weekly basis.
1 x
Ich stehe zwischen zwei Welten, bin in keiner daheim und habe es infolgedessen ein wenig schwer.
Preferred pronouns: feminine.

kulaputra
Orange Belt
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:04 am
Languages: English (N), Kannada (semi-native, illiterate), Spanish (~C1), Hindi (A2 speech, B1 comprehension), French (A1 speech, A2 listening, >=B1 reading), Mandarin Chinese (~A1)
x 323

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby kulaputra » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:00 am

How would you define "unique"? Take India: Educated monolingual Indians are essentially a rounding error. Even amongst those that are not highly educated, multilingualism is exceedingly common. Movies in English or any of the major film languages of India (Hindi-Urdu, Kannada, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam) in theaters outside of where those languages are natively spoke are nonetheless not shown with subtitles.

But is this unusual? I would hazard a guess that this kind of situation is common in many parts of Asia and Africa.

Or do you mean areas where lots of languages are spoken (but not necessarily where lots of multilinguals reside)? In that case, many (but not all) of the world's major metropolises would qualify: New York (I've read that the borough of Queens is the most linguistically diverse area in the world), Miami, LA, London, Mumbai, off the top of my head.
2 x
Iha śāriputra: rūpaṃ śūnyatā śūnyataiva rūpaṃ; rūpān na pṛthak śūnyatā śunyatāyā na pṛthag rūpaṃ; yad rūpaṃ sā śūnyatā; ya śūnyatā tad rūpaṃ.

--Heart Sutra

Please correct any of my non-native languages, if needed!

User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
x 4972
Contact:

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:15 am

kulaputra wrote:But is this unusual? I would hazard a guess that this kind of situation is common in many parts of Asia and Africa.


I was wondering this also - as just one example - Singapore has Malay, English, Mandarin, Tamil. Bilingualism is official policy and many people are tri-lingual. It wouldn't be a vast exaggeration to say that all of Africa is a multilingual environment.
2 x
Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com

User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2429
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=784
x 5069

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:22 am

True indeed,

So perhaps my thread wasn't so well thought through. I guess I was thinking from within the prism of my first world existence and interest in Europe and European languages, but wasn't strictly limiting it to that. Still I don't mind what the definition entails, how it's interpreted, as clearly my mind ought to think outside the box on this matter. Still, I guess I was thinking along the lines of official languages within a jurisdiction (Singapore, Belgium, Switzerland, Llivia, Luxembourg are good examples), and although I know about European languages in other parts of the world, I don't know a great deal about African and Asian languages, particularly indigenous and minority languages, as to where two or more official languages (or even unofficial) co-exist within borders, so feel free to derail this thread from my Western prison prism ;)
2 x

nooj
Blue Belt
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:59 pm
Languages: english (n)
x 1580

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby nooj » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:30 am

Guyane. South America, French territory. According to a researcher whose interview I just listened to, it is very often the case that children speak 3-4 languages, adults speak 7-8.

These are indigenous American languages like Palikur, Kali'na and creole languages like Guyanese Creole + European languages like French, Portuguese etc. Around 30-40 languages spoken in Guyane.

This is the reality on the ground.

Institutionally and legally, French is the sole official language of the French state.
2 x
زندگی را با عشق
نوش جان باید کرد

nooj
Blue Belt
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:59 pm
Languages: english (n)
x 1580

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby nooj » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:46 am

Dalabon was spoken to the extreme north of the Australian continent, in the part of the Top End peninsula called Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land is a region of approximately the same size as Portugal for instance, which has been somewhat protected from the most violent colonization, and remains a cultural bastion. Reflecting the high linguistic density observed elsewhere on the continent, more than 15 languages were spoken in Arnhem Land alone. Each language was spoken by a few hundreds speakers, and therefore each speaker spoke several languages, so as to interact within a broader social network involving members of the neighboring language groups. Therefore, Dalabon speakers traditionally knew other languages also spoken in this part of Arnhem Land, namely Rembarrnga, Mayali and Jawoyn, each spoken by a few hundreds of speakers. Speakers of Dalabon Rembarrnga, Mayali and Jawoyn lived together: they intermarried so that family units where often multilingual. That is, these language groups formed a cultural unit where a multiplicity of languages were spoken. Therefore, they must have shared most representations and practices about emotions—an assumption confirmed so far by my ethnographic observations.


By linguist Maïa Ponsonnet: Aboriginal Languages, and the Linguistic Representation of Emotions

At least traditionally, most people up in Arnhem Land were highly multilingual (easily 5 or more languages). This is still somewhat the case today. Most people older than 65 are consummate polyglots.
2 x
زندگی را با عشق
نوش جان باید کرد

nooj
Blue Belt
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:59 pm
Languages: english (n)
x 1580

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby nooj » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:11 pm

In Djibonker, but probably also elsewhere among Baïnounk speakers, it is normal for children to master four languages, and a repertoire of six to ten languages is nothing unusual for an adult person.


This is in the highly multilingual region of Casamance, in Senegal.

Multilingualism in West Africa is nothing new, it is extremely rare - especially outside of the cities - to be monolingual.

But the Casamance really takes the cake, it is an incredible region.

THE CASAMANCE AS AN AREA OF INTENSE LANGUAGE CONTACT: THE CASE OF BAÏNOUNK GUBAHER
4 x
زندگی را با عشق
نوش جان باید کرد

LauraBB
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:02 am
Languages: English (Native), French ((Advanced), Spanish-tourist level, German- tourist level
x 1

Re: Unique multilingual regions, cities, towns etc

Postby LauraBB » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:42 pm

It looks like this is an old discussion, but no one mentioned Switzerland or Moldova. I lived in Neuchâtel for four years and there are many towns on the French speaking/ Swiss German speaking division. We used to go to Biel/Bienne to see movies, because they were always in the original language.
Also in Moldova, Russian and Moldovan (Romanian) are spoken, though many people speak one or the other.
1 x


Return to “Travel and Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Mista and 2 guests