At 04:05 PM 12/11/98 +0100, Mag.phil. Raimund Karl wrote:
>Well, that's not what I intend to say - only that a Welsh parliament
>won't change anything in regard to those problems.
On the contrary, it may well allow for a greater focussing of resources
towards the Welsh language within Wales. I don't think that the example of
Ireland disproves this; in Ireland they set about imposing a bureaucratic
standardization on the language which marginalized the living dialects and
the people who spoke them.
>I definitly think it is important to revive and/or preserve minority
>languages, and I am, as you know, especially fond of Celtic languages,
>but closing ones eyes to the problem of globalisation by fencing off
>ones backyard and keeping the doors locked will not help.
What dismays me is this attitude that globalism is inevitable. These
are not blind impersonal historical forces -- we shape them and drive them
and we can stop them if we want to. If we don't want to be pushed into a
world where conformity and efficiency are the norm, we don't have to be:
it's as simple as that. Treating globalism as somehow fore-ordained only
increases the defeatism of those who wish to maintain the identity and
integrity of their culture. Some compromises with globalism may be desirable,
but none are necessary.
>The problem, in my opinion, is to find a solution to allow survival of
>minority languages and cultures in the global village.
Who wants a "global village" to begin with?
>And this is something that can't be solved by regional parliaments.
A Welsh parliament would be a national parliament, just as the Baltic
countries now have national governments despite having been merely regions
within the USSR.
>And this not only is true for what one would call minority languages,
>but even for my mothertongue, Austrian (German, for those who are not
>aware that Austrian is a more or less independent language - I think
>more, linguists think less). In a globalised community, as the internet
>for instance already is, there's no use for German if I want to be
>understood - for instance on this list - but almost everywhere else as
If the internet was truly global you would be able to use German here
and everywhere -- or Italian, or Swahili, or Tagalog, etc. But you can't,
and this exposes the hollowness of the "global" village -- it is primarily
a Western and English-speaking idea that one day the rest of the world will
have to get by with Western culture and the English language, and yet this
idea is marketed as being in some way a means to unite humanity, if only
people will shake off their archaic loyalties, identities etc. In fact
what is being demanded of people like you is a cultural surrender, and in
return you'll be given the dubious reward of being able to speak to people
from other parts of the world who in any case may have nothing to say that
you can value or understand. I think that the enjoyment and pleasure of
language and the myriad forms of communication available to human beings
is a major part of what makes life interesting. The death of Welsh or
Austrian German or Navajo will take that much more variety out of the world
until we will be left with a flat, monotonous linguistic landscape similar
to the landscape of highways, malls and subdivisions you see across thousands
of miles in North America; and if the price for avoiding that is merely having
to abandon the idea that global unity is achievable or even desirable, then
that's a reasonable price in my opinion.