Random language thread 6

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2021-01-24, 10:39

linguoboy wrote:This article seemed very apropos for this group: https://deepbaltic.com/2018/03/20/being-non-binary-in-a-language-without-gendered-pronouns-estonian/. (It actually discusses several languages, not just Estonian.)


Thanks for sharing. I've always loved Dutch because it's my native language and disliked English because it is used all over the place and I wasn't good at it (sorry) but these days I wish Dutch was more like English in this matter. I feel like 'they' is working out really well, and in Dutch some nonbinary people are trying to normalise 'die' or 'hen' but for me it doesn't work out (yet). Because when you say something like 'dat vertelde die' (they told that) it sounds nearly the same as 'dat vertelde ie' (he told that). And 'hen' just feels weird because it is plural. But maybe people in the Netherlands will get used to it, eventually. So far the media refuses to use non-binary pronouns, so how is one ever to get used to it?

I'm not an activist person. I feel like I'll be trapped forever.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-01-25, 19:30

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:I'm not an activist person. I feel like I'll be trapped forever.

I've found that with 7 billion people in the world, fortunately not all of us need to be activists out in the general public.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-01, 18:36

I've been watching a lot of Irish Youtubers lately, including some videos of them speaking Gaelic. I came across this one about lockdown terms in Gaelic, which I thought was cool. This Youtuber is from County Mayo, so I'm not sure what Irish dialect she speaks, but if anyone could let me know, I'd love to find out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfpoi-ZU1go

A week or so back, I came across this other video with the same Youtuber as above and another Irish Youtuber both speaking in Irish. It's a story podcast, so they are basically just sharing stories (in this case about life online), so the host did create English subs. Unfortunately, they aren't synced in time with what's being shared in Irish, which kind of sucks. I'm curious to find out what the other Irish Youtuber's accent is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1mTVLMGqQU
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-02-01, 19:30

Well, now there's another thread I can't look at on Unilang. Someone PM me when it's over and I can go back to reading this again.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-01, 19:49

dEhiN wrote:I've been watching a lot of Irish Youtubers lately, including some videos of them speaking Gaelic. I came across this one about lockdown terms in Gaelic, which I thought was cool. This Youtuber is from County Mayo, so I'm not sure what Irish dialect she speaks, but if anyone could let me know, I'd love to find out:

It's not a dialect as such, it's more a sociolect, namely contemporary non-traditional Irish as spoken by an L2 learner. If anything, I would say her speech is characterised by a lack of noteworthy dialect features. There's no stress shift (a marked feature of Munster dialects) and no vowel shift (characteristic of Ulster), but there's also little or nothing in the way of distinctly Connacht features, at least in the bit I listened to. She does have [ʧ] for /tʲ/ and [ʤ] for /dʲ/, which is historically associated with certain dialects of Mayo and Donegal, but IME this is a feature commonly adopted by L2-speakers. (A parallel would be the use of [ʃ] for /ç/ among L2-speakers of German. It's a genuine regional feature, but they couldn't have all learned German from Rhinelanders!) She has a number of nonstandard pronunciations, but as far as I can tell those are mostly errors (e.g. fiabhras with [ʃ], as if fiabhrais; pronouncing ch as [k] in several words) rather than attested dialectalisms.

dEhiN wrote:A week or so back, I came across this other video with the same Youtuber as above and another Irish Youtuber both speaking in Irish. It's a story podcast, so they are basically just sharing stories (in this case about life online), so the host did create English subs. Unfortunately, they aren't synced in time with what's being shared in Irish, which kind of sucks. I'm curious to find out what the other Irish Youtuber's accent is:

Same. She's another L2-speaker and she's not aiming for any particular traditional accent that I can see. The grammar and words choice is CO and the pronunciation is more-or-less lárchanúint influenced by English.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-01, 22:28

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:Well, now there's another thread I can't look at on Unilang. Someone PM me when it's over and I can go back to reading this again.

Why? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make this thread unreadable for you! :(
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-01, 23:19

dEhiN wrote:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:Well, now there's another thread I can't look at on Unilang. Someone PM me when it's over and I can go back to reading this again.

Why? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make this thread unreadable for you! :(

Ciarán doesn't like discussions of dialectal variation in Irish because it inevitably leads to comparisons of traditional dialects of Irish and more innovative forms spoken predominately or exclusively by L2 learners.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Yasna » 2021-02-01, 23:41

linguoboy wrote:Ciarán doesn't like discussions of dialectal variation in Irish because it inevitably leads to comparisons of traditional dialects of Irish and more innovative forms spoken predominately or exclusively by L2 learners.

I must say it's one of the thorniest language-related topics I've ever come across.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-02, 4:44

linguoboy wrote:
dEhiN wrote:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:Well, now there's another thread I can't look at on Unilang. Someone PM me when it's over and I can go back to reading this again.

Why? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make this thread unreadable for you! :(

Ciarán doesn't like discussions of dialectal variation in Irish because it inevitably leads to comparisons of traditional dialects of Irish and more innovative forms spoken predominately or exclusively by L2 learners.

Oh I see; thanks for clarifying! I certainly didn't mean to start any dialectal variation discussions. (Besides, I'm basically just dipping my toe into the Irish pool). I did mean to respond to your analysis of those two Youtubers' accents but forgot; firstly, thanks for taking a listen. Secondly, I forgot to share it when I first posted those videos, but I remember listening to them and feeling like they were speaking Irish with English accents. I had forgotten the terminology of L2 speaker, but especially the podcast video really struck me as how I would imagine native English speakers who learned Irish speak Irish! However, I dismissed that thought in my head because I figured they must have grown up speaking Irish and so would probably be considered L1 speakers.

Actually, this brings up (at least for me) an interesting distinction. What classifies an L1 speaker? Or, more specific to this situation, how would someone who possibly grew up learning both Irish and English but primarily or exclusively speaking English at home be classified? To give another example, my parents grew up in Sri Lanka and are fluent in Tamil and English. However, they belong to basically the class of anglicized, educated Tamils and so spoke basically English at home. I don't know for sure if it was always only English - my dad, for example, had a 'servant' (maid in North American parlance) growing up and I imagine the family would've spoken with her in Tamil since usually servant jobs back then were taken by those of lower socioeconomic and also educational status. I do know that my parents studied fully in Tamil, as at that time the Sri Lankan government's policy was that you studied in the medium of your mother tongue. (I think for mixed Tamil-Sinhalese kids, they could pick). But even though they studied fully in Tamil and spoke fluent Tamil, I recall for example my mom telling me how she would think in English at school and translate into Tamil her answers. So, what would my parents be classified? L1? L2 even though they're fluent in Tamil to this day?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-02, 18:06

Yasna wrote:I must say it's one of the thorniest language-related topics I've ever come across.

The language question is really close to the bone in Ireland, where it's knitted more closely with concepts of identity than elsewhere. Irish English speakers are the only English-speakers I know who use "native language" to refer to a language which they have not learned from birth. That is, they will call Irish their "native language" even if they only really started learning to communicate in it at school (I guess because they consider it their "birthright" to a degree that heritage speakers elsewhere don't).

dEhiN wrote:Actually, this brings up (at least for me) an interesting distinction. What classifies an L1 speaker? Or, more specific to this situation, how would someone who possibly grew up learning both Irish and English but primarily or exclusively speaking English at home be classified?

It depends on the details. As I said, your L1 is considered to be the language you learned from birth. It's possible to have two L1s if you grew up in a multilingual household. It's kind of rare, though; if children catch on that everyone around them is bilingual, they quite often stop actively using the less-dominant language.

dEhiN wrote:To give another example, my parents grew up in Sri Lanka and are fluent in Tamil and English. However, they belong to basically the class of anglicized, educated Tamils and so spoke basically English at home. I don't know for sure if it was always only English - my dad, for example, had a 'servant' (maid in North American parlance) growing up and I imagine the family would've spoken with her in Tamil since usually servant jobs back then were taken by those of lower socioeconomic and also educational status. I do know that my parents studied fully in Tamil, as at that time the Sri Lankan government's policy was that you studied in the medium of your mother tongue. (I think for mixed Tamil-Sinhalese kids, they could pick). But even though they studied fully in Tamil and spoke fluent Tamil, I recall for example my mom telling me how she would think in English at school and translate into Tamil her answers. So, what would my parents be classified? L1? L2 even though they're fluent in Tamil to this day?

If it was a situation where, say, their parents always spoke English and they replied in English by their servants or other caregivers (such as relatives) always or mostly spoke Tamil and they replied in Tamil, then I think you could class them as having two L1s.

dEhiN wrote: I did mean to respond to your analysis of those two Youtubers' accents but forgot; firstly, thanks for taking a listen. Secondly, I forgot to share it when I first posted those videos, but I remember listening to them and feeling like they were speaking Irish with English accents. I had forgotten the terminology of L2 speaker, but especially the podcast video really struck me as how I would imagine native English speakers who learned Irish speak Irish! However, I dismissed that thought in my head because I figured they must have grown up speaking Irish and so would probably be considered L1 speakers.

Most Irish-speakers don't. Estimates of L1 speakers vary (since the census questions are phrased in terms of use, not manner of acquisition), but the number of Irish-speakers within the Gaeltacht who use it daily outside of the education system is less than 70,000. Contrast this to the over half a million speakers who use it daily within the educational system and you begin to see what an unusual situation exists in Ireland compared to other countries.

Here's a recording of a native speaker of Mayo Irish reading phrases in a Connemara dialect, which should give you an idea of how different L1 Irish acquired natively can sound from L2 Irish acquired through the educational system:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qutRdkEjcX0&t=27s
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-02-02, 19:42

OldBoring wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Bahador Alast contacted me yesterday on Facebook for help making a video comparing Romani with an Indo-Aryan language.

Nice!

Thanks, although nothing has come out of it yet.
How do you know this YouTuber?

Idr. I've been seeing his videos over a period of a few years now. Eskandar linked to one of his videos once in the Persian Study Group, too, which made me take a more serious interest in his channel.
I see most of the videos in that channel are about similarities between languages. I often watch another channel with similar videos: Ecolinguist (also a playlist in Bahador Alast's channel).

That guy also features in one of Bahador's videos.
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dEhiN wrote:Actually, this brings up (at least for me) an interesting distinction. What classifies an L1 speaker? Or, more specific to this situation, how would someone who possibly grew up learning both Irish and English but primarily or exclusively speaking English at home be classified? To give another example, my parents grew up in Sri Lanka and are fluent in Tamil and English. However, they belong to basically the class of anglicized, educated Tamils and so spoke basically English at home. I don't know for sure if it was always only English - my dad, for example, had a 'servant' (maid in North American parlance) growing up and I imagine the family would've spoken with her in Tamil since usually servant jobs back then were taken by those of lower socioeconomic and also educational status. I do know that my parents studied fully in Tamil, as at that time the Sri Lankan government's policy was that you studied in the medium of your mother tongue. (I think for mixed Tamil-Sinhalese kids, they could pick). But even though they studied fully in Tamil and spoke fluent Tamil, I recall for example my mom telling me how she would think in English at school and translate into Tamil her answers. So, what would my parents be classified? L1? L2 even though they're fluent in Tamil to this day?

This is why words used to describe languages are tricky: "native," "L1," "L2," "L"-whatever, even "dead" or "extinct."
linguoboy wrote:
Yasna wrote:I must say it's one of the thorniest language-related topics I've ever come across.

The language question is really close to the bone in Ireland, where it's knitted more closely with concepts of identity than elsewhere.

Or is it?

I don't think this is a uniquely Irish situation at all; I think this is what happens to any endangered language, which means most of the languages spoken in the world today. It's just that Irish is an official language in a Western European country and associated with national identity in a way that other endangered languages are not, so people talk about Irish more. But the issue is no less thorny with, say, Native American languages; we just don't talk much about them with their heritage speakers. Hell, dialect variation is already a very thorny issue even in English! English certainly isn't facing the prospect of endangerment, but a lot of languages are, so this quickly becomes a sensitive issue. Malayalam is not endangered, but it does face that prospect in the long-term, and so I find that I can relate to Ciarán when it comes to having strong emotions about how well/authentically I or other people speak my heritage language etc.
Irish English speakers are the only English-speakers I know who use "native language" to refer to a language which they have not learned from birth. That is, they will call Irish their "native language" even if they only really started learning to communicate in it at school (I guess because they consider it their "birthright" to a degree that heritage speakers elsewhere don't).

I've pointed out before that Indians use this exact same term in a similar sense.
As I said, your L1 is considered to be the language you learned from birth.

But for a lot of us, this is an inadequate definition because it's not how language acquisition works. There is no language that I learned continuously from birth (I'm forgetting whether this is the case for dEhiN as well or not). Every single language I know, to any degree, is a language that I had to learn from a book at some time in my life. I learned Malayalam from books. I learned English from books.
It's possible to have two L1s if you grew up in a multilingual household. It's kind of rare, though; if children catch on that everyone around them is bilingual, they quite often stop actively using the less-dominant language.

I didn't stop speaking Malayalam because I knew my parents spoke English. I stopped speaking it because everyone stopped speaking it to me! I had to cry (sometimes very publicly) and scream and call my parents out and fight tooth and nail to get them to just talk to me in my own goddamn language again. It was just a few years ago that I finally won. I still have to fight tooth and nail and call my parents out to get at least my dad to also stop using English with me (my dad can do this. I'm pretty sure my mom can't).

Speaking of Malayalam, I now have my own YouTube channel, and my last video is in Malayalam with subtitles in English. I intend to upload more such videos in other languages as well. Next on the list is Mandarin Chinese.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-02-02, 21:04

vijayjohn wrote:
Irish English speakers are the only English-speakers I know who use "native language" to refer to a language which they have not learned from birth. That is, they will call Irish their "native language" even if they only really started learning to communicate in it at school (I guess because they consider it their "birthright" to a degree that heritage speakers elsewhere don't).

I've pointed out before that Indians use this exact same term in a similar sense.

And I've heard children or grandchildren of immigrants (from various language backgrounds) say "I don't know my native language" about themselves or their parents/grandparents say "he/she can't even speak his/her native language", countless times. Sometimes they mean their parents spoke the language with them as a child and now they've forgotten it, but more often than not they mean their parents only spoke to them in English and so they never learned their parents' non-English language at all. (On a similar note, "mother tongue" is used much the same way: "he/she never learned to speak his/her mother tongue," etc.)
Or: "in that family the children do not learn their native language."
They mean the language of their heritage culture, the native language of a parent or other ancestor, whether or not they speak it themselves to any degree.
The first time I heard it it really threw me for a loop: "How can you not speak your native language?? If you never spoke it even as a child, doesn't that mean it can't be your native language?" But it's common in immigrant communities to say it this way.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2021-02-02, 22:05

It could be related: as time goes by, linguistic literature uses native and foreign less, and numbers (L1, L2, L3) more. Especially with Heritage Linguistics being quite popular at the moment.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-03, 5:54

linguoboy wrote:If it was a situation where, say, their parents always spoke English and they replied in English by their servants or other caregivers (such as relatives) always or mostly spoke Tamil and they replied in Tamil, then I think you could class them as having two L1s.

Yeah, I guess they would have two L1s then. I'm not 100% sure about always, but yeah they both grew up in an English speaking household, although their parents and siblings could speak Tamil fully. Even to this day, at extended family gatherings (on either side), English is used by default essentially among my parents and aunts/uncles. They all fluently know Tamil and could easily switch into it. Growing up in Sri Lanka, they would have all used it not just at school, but also with any shopkeeper, government official, etc. (Well, in truth, for those who lived or grew up in Colombo, chances are they would've used mostly Sinhalese, especially with government officials, etc. and some Tamil if the other recipient was clearly Tamil. However, I know my parents consider their Sinhalese to be conversational at best. I think this is the case with the majority of my aunts and uncles, although I know some who probably could be called fluently trilingual.)

linguoboy wrote:Here's a recording of a native speaker of Mayo Irish reading phrases in a Connemara dialect, which should give you an idea of how different L1 Irish acquired natively can sound from L2 Irish acquired through the educational system:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qutRdkEjcX0&t=27s

Yeah, I definitely hear a difference. I suspected as much; yes, those two Youtubers speak English with Irish accents, but listening to their Irish made me really think of someone who first became fluent in English and then later learned Irish, such that they have more of an 'English mouth' trying to pronounce Irish sounds.

vijayjohn wrote:But for a lot of us, this is an inadequate definition because it's not how language acquisition works. There is no language that I learned continuously from birth (I'm forgetting whether this is the case for dEhiN as well or not). Every single language I know, to any degree, is a language that I had to learn from a book at some time in my life. I learned Malayalam from books. I learned English from books.

I think in my case, I could say I learned English continuously from birth. As I've already shared, my family being anglicized meant my parents spoke English at home, even back in Sri Lanka. We also had a servant, and I would imagine my parents spoke to her in Tamil. I also imagine when I attended Montessori school in Lanka, it was either all in Tamil or I at least was taught Tamil. (The Montessori was run by Catholic nuns, so I'm really not sure which would've been the case). In either case, if we had stayed in Lanka, I'm fairly certain I would've become fluently bilingual. In fact, the reason my siblings and I didn't keep any Tamil once we came to Canada was because my parents decided to only use English with us to help make it easier for us. They would frequently though speak to each other in Tamil when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying.

But, come to think of it, I'm not sure how it would've been easier for us! I should ask them about that, because as I said, even in Lanka they would've mostly spoken English at home.

vijayjohn wrote:I didn't stop speaking Malayalam because I knew my parents spoke English. I stopped speaking it because everyone stopped speaking it to me! I had to cry (sometimes very publicly) and scream and call my parents out and fight tooth and nail to get them to just talk to me in my own goddamn language again. It was just a few years ago that I finally won. I still have to fight tooth and nail and call my parents out to get at least my dad to also stop using English with me (my dad can do this. I'm pretty sure my mom can't).

I found the same difficulty. In my case though, I didn't push that hard, and took the easy way out of reverting back to English with my parents. I think it's hard for someone who's used to interacting with another in a particular language to change that. I don't know what the linguistic evidence is for or against this, but I recall back when I used to frequent language exchange Meetups, several multilingual speakers would tell me how they felt like they almost had a different 'personality' for each language they spoke. If that's a documented thing, then I could understand how, for example, my parents would find it a little strange to interact with me using their 'Tamil selves'.

Linguaphile wrote:The first time I heard it it really threw me for a loop: "How can you not speak your native language?? If you never spoke it even as a child, doesn't that mean it can't be your native language?" But it's common in immigrant communities to say it this way.

I never consciously thought about it until now, but growing up, usages like what you described were common for me. However, once I started actively learning linguistics, I recall thinking the same thing: "How can you not speak your native language?" I think for me, if I didn't know linguistics at all, I would probably naturally revert to using mother tongue to mean my heritage language, so Tamil, and native language to mean my L1 language, so English. I consider myself a native English speaker, but not a native Tamil speaker, since I don't speak Tamil (apart from some words and phrases). However, Tamil is the language of my "race" - the background and people group I was born into, so it's my mother tongue.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-02-03, 6:29

md0 wrote:Especially with Heritage Linguistics being quite popular at the moment.

It is?? Why?
dEhiN wrote:But, come to think of it, I'm not sure how it would've been easier for us!

It's a common myth among South Asian parents. My parents gave me that, too. They think it's too hard for us to learn our own language instead of just sticking with the one we already know even when we're language nerds. :roll:
I think it's hard for someone who's used to interacting with another in a particular language to change that.

It is, hence the screaming and crying and fighting!
I don't know what the linguistic evidence is for or against this, but I recall back when I used to frequent language exchange Meetups, several multilingual speakers would tell me how they felt like they almost had a different 'personality' for each language they spoke. If that's a documented thing, then I could understand how, for example, my parents would find it a little strange to interact with me using their 'Tamil selves'.

That's a fair point and is how I at least used to feel myself as well.
I never consciously thought about it until now, but growing up, usages like what you described were common for me. However, once I started actively learning linguistics, I recall thinking the same thing: "How can you not speak your native language?" I think for me, if I didn't know linguistics at all, I would probably naturally revert to using mother tongue to mean my heritage language, so Tamil, and native language to mean my L1 language, so English. I consider myself a native English speaker, but not a native Tamil speaker, since I don't speak Tamil (apart from some words and phrases). However, Tamil is the language of my "race" - the background and people group I was born into, so it's my mother tongue.

"Mother tongue" is such a confusing term for me. It looks like it should mean heritage language (you know, like your mother's...tongue...!), yet people seem to think it's synonymous with native language.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby kevin » 2021-02-03, 11:15

linguoboy wrote:Ciarán doesn't like discussions of dialectal variation in Irish because it inevitably leads to comparisons of traditional dialects of Irish and more innovative forms spoken predominately or exclusively by L2 learners.

I think part of the problem is that in such discussions, often non-traditional Irish and bad Irish are treated as the same thing. This doesn't only alienate people like Ciarán who aim at a high standard in a more standardised variety of Irish that isn't tied to any single specific traditional dialect, but it also means that people dismiss valid criticism of their bad Irish because they don't even want to speak traditional dialectal Irish, so this stops them from even learning good non-traditional Irish (because this category doesn't even exist when you think in terms of traditional = good and non-traditional = bad).

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Yasna » 2021-02-03, 15:26

kevin wrote:I think part of the problem is that in such discussions, often non-traditional Irish and bad Irish are treated as the same thing. This doesn't only alienate people like Ciarán who aim at a high standard in a more standardised variety of Irish that isn't tied to any single specific traditional dialect, but it also means that people dismiss valid criticism of their bad Irish because they don't even want to speak traditional dialectal Irish, so this stops them from even learning good non-traditional Irish (because this category doesn't even exist when you think in terms of traditional = good and non-traditional = bad).

Are there any estimates of how many people in Ireland speak good non-traditional Irish? Also, how well are people in this category generally able to understand traditional Irish?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2021-02-03, 16:11

vijayjohn wrote:
md0 wrote:Especially with Heritage Linguistics being quite popular at the moment.

It is?? Why?

I can't really speculate as to why, but there's a lot of funding for studying migrant populations (for sensible values of 'a lot', considering it's linguistics). And then there's interests in integration and re-integration to the educational system.
Likely also due to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, there's funding for studying declining indigenous languages.

I find it pretty exciting from a theoretical point of view too. I am now reading some research on Berlin Russian-German bilinguals and their age-of-onset-related effects are more nuanced than the traditional views of either "L1=L2 but distractions" or "L1 always =/=L2 because biology".
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-03, 17:02

md0 wrote:I find it pretty exciting from a theoretical point of view too. I am now reading some research on Berlin Russian-German bilinguals and their age-of-onset-related effects are more nuanced than the traditional views of either "L1=L2 but distractions" or "L1 always =/=L2 because biology".

Could you please explain what "L1=L2 but distractions" and "L1 always =/= L2 because biology"? What are the distractions being referred to? Is it supposed to mean L1 influence on L2? If so, then why not say "L1=L2 but influence"? And what does biology have to do with the reason L1 always doesn't equal L2? Wouldn't it just be L1 always doesn't equal L2 (i.e., someone always using L1 means they won't be good or versed in L2)?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-03, 17:09

kevin wrote:I think part of the problem is that in such discussions, often non-traditional Irish and bad Irish are treated as the same thing. This doesn't only alienate people like Ciarán who aim at a high standard in a more standardised variety of Irish that isn't tied to any single specific traditional dialect, but it also means that people dismiss valid criticism of their bad Irish because they don't even want to speak traditional dialectal Irish, so this stops them from even learning good non-traditional Irish (because this category doesn't even exist when you think in terms of traditional = good and non-traditional = bad).

I feel like even when I phrase things in the most neutral terms possible (as I strove to do with my response to the videos above), people still hear it as criticism and I do feel like this is a different situation than with other minority languages, despite what Vijay says.

Yasna wrote:Are there any estimates of how many people in Ireland speak good non-traditional Irish?

They're aren't, and I'm not sure how there even could be given that it's such an inherently subjective definition. Perhaps you could try to get an idea by looking at Leaving Certificate scores, but that's a weak proxy at most since not everyone tests well, the exams don't cover all aspects of the language, and doing well on a language exam is no indication that you use the language in daily life. At the end of the day, all official Irish statistics on language use are self-reported and thus subject to all manner of cognitive biases.

Yasna wrote:Also, how well are people in this category generally able to understand traditional Irish?

This is going to be as subjective and variable as any other measure of mutual intelligibility. It's going to depend a lot on which dialects, which speakers, what your exposure to them has been in and out of the school system, etc. So I'm afraid all I have to offer is anecdotes (mostly gleaned from conversations with Irish-speakers in learners' fora and IRL):

  • Even native speakers of traditional dialects have trouble understanding other each. (This has been one of the criticisms of trying to learn a traditional dialect instead of a spoken version of the written standard.) Folks raised in Irish-speaking households where their parents listened to Raidió na Gaeltachta have told me that Munster speakers would change the station if they heard a Donegal accent and vice versa.
  • The same folks have told me that learners have thanked RTÉ for running programmes narrated by speakers with non-traditional Irish like Manchán Magan (notorious for his stunt documentary series No Béarla) because they find it easier to understand than native traditional Irish. I've had L2-speakers complain to me before about RTÉ running interviews with "an old farmer with three teeth" than no one can understand rather than finding more intelligible speakers.
  • Even as an L2-speaker learning a traditional dialect, I often find it easier to understand L2 speakers of non-trad Irish. They're far more likely, for instance, to use idioms calqued on English expressions than traditional equivalents that I might not be familiar with. Their pronunciations tend to cleave closely to the CO spellings and--for someone like me who reads Irish more than I hear it--this has its advantages.
Last edited by linguoboy on 2021-02-03, 17:39, edited 1 time in total.
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