Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

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

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 10:21 am

Irena wrote:
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.

No, you're wrong.
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.

The reason I say you're wrong isn't that I say your facts are wrong, so pointing out that I prove your facts right doesn't mean I'm proving you right.

I think I have made it pretty clear that what I object to is a choice between two absolutes, and your refusal to accept that there's a whole spectrum of possibilities.
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.

OK, so imagine if France lost a nuclear war and was wiped off the planet.

Imagine that the rest of the world says "we must preserve the French language in their memory" and learnt French en masse... badly. Should the surviving minority living in other countries feel grateful that they did this? Perhaps. Would the surviving minority be well-served by being unable to understand or be understood by a worldwide majority of learners? I reckon not.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sun Apr 23, 2023 10:38 am

Cainntear wrote:I think I have made it pretty clear that what I object to is a choice between two absolutes, and your refusal to accept that there's a whole spectrum of possibilities.

Oh, I can see a third possibility, all right: create a class of "professionally Irish people." That is to say, you heavily subsidize the remaining native Irish speakers to persist in speaking Irish and passing it on to their children, you discourage them from ever using English, thus massively restricting their economic opportunities, but you can offset that by, as I said, massive government subsidies. (And you leave the non-native speakers out of it, except perhaps at a few selective universities that can afford to maintain high standards.) But if you create a situation like that, then that entire community would be in a massive amount of trouble should the subsidies ever come to an end.

Cainntear wrote:OK, so imagine if France lost a nuclear war and was wiped off the planet.

Imagine that the rest of the world says "we must preserve the French language in their memory" and learnt French en masse... badly. Should the surviving minority living in other countries feel grateful that they did this? Perhaps. Would the surviving minority be well-served by being unable to understand or be understood by a worldwide majority of learners? I reckon not.

You know what, in that case, I'd say there would be very little point in learning French, except perhaps passively in order to read French literature or philosophy or whatever it is you want to read. Kinda like Ancient Greek. And French probably would die within a few generations under such circumstances. Now, if you had a large-ish group of people who were very passionate about "reviving French," then yes, "A-vey voow day freets" would be the expected and perfectly natural outcome. Although that actually seems far too optimistic: you'd probably get badly messed up syntax on top of that.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 11:10 am

Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:I think I have made it pretty clear that what I object to is a choice between two absolutes, and your refusal to accept that there's a whole spectrum of possibilities.

Oh, I can see a third possibility, all right:

So you have chosen to present a third absolute that is deliberately presented in the worst possible light, and you genuinely think that offering a third extremist strawman does anything to counter my criticism that you're refusing to recognise a spectrum of possible actions...?

Cainntear wrote:OK, so imagine if France lost a nuclear war and was wiped off the planet.

Imagine that the rest of the world says "we must preserve the French language in their memory" and learnt French en masse... badly. Should the surviving minority living in other countries feel grateful that they did this? Perhaps. Would the surviving minority be well-served by being unable to understand or be understood by a worldwide majority of learners? I reckon not.

You know what, in that case, I'd say there would be very little point in learning French, except perhaps passively in order to read French literature or philosophy or whatever it is you want to read. Kinda like Ancient Greek. And French probably would die within a few generations under such circumstances. Now, if you had a large-ish group of people who were very passionate about "reviving French," then yes, "A-vey voow day freets" would be the expected and perfectly natural outcome. Although that actually seems far too optimistic: you'd probably get badly messed up syntax on top of that.

It seems to me you're deliberately deflecting. I deliberately placed an unrealistic scenario in front of you as a thought experiment. Instead of addressing the questions I asked, you immediately launched into questioning whether there was any point in my deliberately unrealistic scenario.

The nearest you got was in making an assertion was in talking about "expected and perfectly natural" outcomes. You did not answer the question of how the remaining native speakers of French would feel about that.

Why not? Is it because you could not deny my claim that the creation of a new language that is incomprehensible to native speakers of the old language would increase their alienation

...and I would hark back to what galaxyrocker said:
galaxyrocker wrote:This shows ignorance of the Irish language situation.

You have demonstrated that you know very, very little indeed about the issues that Irish faces, and yet you have repeatedly made assertions to two people who are more than well acquainted with Irish language matters that *you* are right and *we* are wrong. You haven't asked any questions of us, instead preferring to dream up strawman arguments to fight against rather than even consider our perspectives for a fraction of a second.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sun Apr 23, 2023 11:26 am

Cainntear wrote:So you have chosen to present a third absolute that is deliberately presented in the worst possible light, and you genuinely think that offering a third extremist strawman does anything to counter my criticism that you're refusing to recognise a spectrum of possible actions...?

It's not an "extremist strawman" at all. This is essentially how languages such as Navajo and Yiddish survive. The former survives on a reservation. The latter in welfare-dependent insular communities. That's not to deny the horrible things that led to the situation, or to minimize the horror of those things. It's simply to describe the situation as it actually is today: the reservation/welfare is what keeps those languages alive.

Cainntear wrote:You did not answer the question of how the remaining native speakers of French would feel about that.

You'd have to ask them. But here's what's not an option: having a huge number of non-native speakers (an order of magnitude larger than the number of native speakers) learn the language well. Sorry. Not happening. Ever.

In any case, Irish revivalism is not about the remaining native Irish speakers at all. It's about the non-native speakers. It may very well be that Irish revivalism is actually detrimental to the remaining Irish speaking communities. And that pits the Anglophone Irish who are bitter about the fact that their language was "stolen from them" (and to be fair, it was stolen from them in a real sense, via the Irish Potato Famine and the rest of it) against the few remaining native Irish speakers. How is that to be resolved? That's not for me to decide. But the conflict is obviously there. My actual point is this: having millions of Anglophone Irish learn the Irish language well is out of the cards. You can forget about it. The fact that an occasional individual can pull it off does not mean that millions can.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby tastyonions » Sun Apr 23, 2023 12:07 pm

For Cainntear and galaxyrocker: what's the realistic or even feasible plan for maintaining actual Irish (not anglicized zombie "Irish") as a living language?
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 12:16 pm

Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:So you have chosen to present a third absolute that is deliberately presented in the worst possible light, and you genuinely think that offering a third extremist strawman does anything to counter my criticism that you're refusing to recognise a spectrum of possible actions...?

It's not an "extremist strawman" at all. This is essentially how languages such as Navajo and Yiddish survive. The former survives on a reservation. The latter in welfare-dependent insular communities. That's not to deny the horrible things that led to the situation, or to minimize the horror of those things. It's simply to describe the situation as it actually is today: the reservation/welfare is what keeps those languages alive.

Yiddish... you mean the language that was historically subject to elitists looking down on it and was nearly killed by a language revivalist movement...?

Cainntear wrote:You did not answer the question of how the remaining native speakers of French would feel about that.

You'd have to ask them.

Aha. So what you're saying is that I have to ask the theoretical population that I dreamed up as part of a thought experiment in order to get an accurate answer to the question in the thought experiment...?

I mean, I see what you're saying, and that is actually technically true, but you do not see what you're saying because you're actually more than happy to make absolutist pronouncements about a language you do not speak in a country you have no real link to.

Like, honestly: if we're talking about Irish and you were to actually take on your own view of "you'd have to ask them", you would possibly find that, maybe, just maybe, me and galaxyrocker have actually asked some of "them". You are insisting that you know better than people who have good reason to believe we know better than you.
But here's what's not an option: having a huge number of non-native speakers (an order of magnitude larger than the number of native speakers) learn the language well. Sorry. Not happening. Ever.

What on Earth makes you think that either me or galaxyrocker would make such an argument? To use your own words: not happening. Ever.

This is what I mean about building up strawmen: you are attacking something neither of us has said... and in doing so dragging this thread massively off-topic, because rather than respectfully disagreeing and letting the conversation move on, you are insulting people with personal investment in the topic by completely disregarding what they say and what they believe.
In any case, Irish revivalism is not about the remaining native Irish speakers at all.

When did either me or galaxyrocker use the term "Irish revivalism"?

If the answer is "never", that might just be because both of us are of the opinion that the "revivalism" mindset has done more harm than good for the Irish language, for precisely the reasons that you indavertently give for that. A language cannot be "revived" by teaching it to a mass of non-natives.

It may very well be that Irish revivalism is actually detrimental to the remaining Irish speaking communities.


Finally... you've said something with an actual point to it!
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 12:28 pm

tastyonions wrote:For Cainntear and galaxyrocker: what's the realistic or even feasible plan for maintaining actual Irish (not anglicized zombie "Irish") as a living language?

The rapid growth of a language as expected by people who talk about "revivalism" is inherently harmful. Restoring a language can only be done slowly.

Compare this to "reforestation".
One group says "we must plant lots of trees" and goes out an digs up animal habitats across the country, planting non-viable trees in random, isolated patches.
One group says "we must let the forests regrow themselves" and acts to stop further development and agricultural activity on land adjacent to forest, so that when seeds fall there from the forest they'll germinate and grow into trees.

The latter approach is still not getting a lot of traction, as tree-planting for carbon credits is now big business, but it's more and more recognised as the right way to do things.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun Apr 23, 2023 1:17 pm

Irena wrote:In any case, Irish revivalism is not about the remaining native Irish speakers at all. It's about the non-native speakers.



I was done with this debate, but do you realise how this sounds? "Sure, the future of your language doesn't pertain to you at all!". Any 'revival' effort (and it doesn't need to be revived - it's not dead!) has to be about the native speakers, otherwise it's doomed to fail. Period. Telling native speakers they don't matter in the future of their language, all to cater towards learners, is just as bad as forcing them to switch to English.

tastyonions wrote:For Cainntear and galaxyrocker: what's the realistic or even feasible plan for maintaining actual Irish (not anglicized zombie "Irish") as a living language?


Along with what Cainntear said, we need to drop the whole idea that schools are going to save the language. This idea is very prevalent in Ireland, and has been since the founding of the state. They thought - wrongly - that the National Schools were the reason for the decline and therefore the way to improve it.

My plan would be to focus on the Gaeltacht, and only the Gaeltacht. Drop the mandatory Irish requirement nationwide, first and foremost. Yes, there'll be fewer people taking it, but those few can have better teachers (most teachers are, honestly, quite inept and can't even distinguish /k/ from /x/, let alone palatalised and velarised consonants!) and actually focus on learning the language as it's spoken in the Gaeltacht.

Then, subsidise people from the Gaeltacht becoming teachers, and place them at schools in and around the Gaeltacht. Start with the breac- and iar-Ghaeltachtaí, the places that were Irish speaking within living memory and work outwards. All Irish schools there, taught by native speakers from the area, with the dialect, so they can connect to the local place. And then slowly expand. Also start including grants for more and more business in the Gaeltacht working through Irish. Make it mandatory, and if the business doesn't use Irish, it pays a fine. Also, housing discrimination to stop the gentrification of these areas.

It's not quick, it's not flashy -- and it's probably not legal -- but it's basically the only way.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Irena » Sun Apr 23, 2023 2:18 pm

Cainntear wrote:
But here's what's not an option: having a huge number of non-native speakers (an order of magnitude larger than the number of native speakers) learn the language well. Sorry. Not happening. Ever.

What on Earth makes you think that either me or galaxyrocker would make such an argument? To use your own words: not happening. Ever.

Ah, okay. So you agree with my main point. Good.

Cainntear wrote:
In any case, Irish revivalism is not about the remaining native Irish speakers at all.

When did either me or galaxyrocker use the term "Irish revivalism"?

If the answer is "never", that might just be because both of us are of the opinion that the "revivalism" mindset has done more harm than good for the Irish language, for precisely the reasons that you indavertently give for that. A language cannot be "revived" by teaching it to a mass of non-natives.

Ah, okay again. So, it would appear that your actual disagreement is with people like Le Baron (see below), and with hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Anglophone Irish people who would like to revive Irish for their own benefit.
Le Baron wrote:It's simply that English was successfully transplanted by imperialism and reviving Irish is not unpopular, but that learning it is not easy where natural immersion has been destroyed. Yet it can be done, as it was in Wales.

Is Irish first and foremost for native speakers, or first and foremost for all the ethnic Irish, the vast majority of whom are native Anglophones? Me, I don't have a horse in this race. However, it seems pretty clear that the prevailing opinion in Ireland is that it is for the latter. Otherwise, making it a mandatory school subject would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It may indeed be the the native Irish speakers disagree (they are a tiny minority in the country). In any case, I have zero interest in learning the language, so the language is obviously not for me. I'm just observing the intra-Irish linguistic conflict and drawing some conclusions based on those observations.

But for what it's worth, I suspect Irish will be dead by the end of the century, revivalism or no revivalism.
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Re: Kaufmann: ChatGPT: Should Language Teachers Be Worried?

Postby Cainntear » Sun Apr 23, 2023 5:56 pm

Irena wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
But here's what's not an option: having a huge number of non-native speakers (an order of magnitude larger than the number of native speakers) learn the language well. Sorry. Not happening. Ever.

What on Earth makes you think that either me or galaxyrocker would make such an argument? To use your own words: not happening. Ever.

Ah, okay. So you agree with my main point. Good.

Again I apologise for not being psychic. It was remiss of me to assume that your main point was evident from what you wrote and not realise that it was something entirely different from the main point in your written messages.
Cainntear wrote:
In any case, Irish revivalism is not about the remaining native Irish speakers at all.

When did either me or galaxyrocker use the term "Irish revivalism"?

If the answer is "never", that might just be because both of us are of the opinion that the "revivalism" mindset has done more harm than good for the Irish language, for precisely the reasons that you indavertently give for that. A language cannot be "revived" by teaching it to a mass of non-natives.

Ah, okay again. So, it would appear that your actual disagreement is with people like Le Baron (see below), and with hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Anglophone Irish people who would like to revive Irish for their own benefit.

Once again, you have made the critical mistake of reducing a massively nuanced matter into a choice of two absolute stances. The fact that I disagree with Le Baron doesn't mean that I don't also disagree with you. I have a history of having extended (pretty aggressive) disagreement with Le Baron on this forum.

The fact that I didn't bother pointing out a minor difference of opinion with him is itself testament to how massive my disagreement with *you* is.

Is Irish first and foremost for native speakers, or first and foremost for all the ethnic Irish, the vast majority of whom are native Anglophones? Me, I don't have a horse in this race. However, it seems pretty clear that the prevailing opinion in Ireland is that it is for the latter.

...which leads us back to the whole bloody point of this thread! The problem with AI is that it inherently supports majority rule. Imagine an alternative reality where computers were all in the hands of rich white people in the colonial powers who still held sway over much of the world. Do you think AI in that world would be pointing out the madness of racism, or would it say that white people were genetically superior?

Now, current AI has to be explicitly programmed not to be racist; in a racist world that wouldn't be the case at all.

The mass subjugation of a disenfranchised minority is a huge problem, and here I claim that it's a problem that AI has failed to recognise because many humans don't recognise it.
But for what it's worth, I suspect Irish will be dead by the end of the century, revivalism or no revivalism.

I suggest that it will be dead only when the last native speaker dies, which means that it's unlikely to die before the end of the century. However, I would say that its death is more likely if the "revivalist" mindset doesn't itself die. "Revivalism" is an ego trip that puts individuals sense of identity above the language itself.
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