| -----Original Message----- | From: openbeos-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx | [mailto:openbeos-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Steve Peter | Sent: 22 December 2003 18:17 | To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx | Subject: [openbeos] Re: AW: Re: AW: Locale Kit | | | > Let's face it, it is only when you can completely ignore | gender - make | > it truly irrelevant - that you have true equality (but I can't | > imagine why you'd want that). | | Grammatical gender and natural gender are not the same | things. You are confused. Yes, I have always been confused by the fact that inert objects can be assigned a gender in foreign languages. It just doesn't seem necessary - but that's only my opinion. | | > What appears to be the fly in the ointment in this case is those | > strange little 'accent' thingies some of the southern European | > languages seem to need. Are they really necessary, or can they be | > ignored ? - and why are they needed anyway when languages such as | > English, American and Australian get along fine without them. | | Are you trying to be a troll, are you just very narrow-minded, or is | this an attempt at humour? While you're at it, don't forget Canadian, | New Zealandese, and Gibraltarian. No, not a troll - maybe a little humorous at times. I know I could have made the list longer but it didn't seem necessary. My point that English manages fine without the 'pronunciation marks' which several European languages appear to need was, I believe, a valid one. The fact remains that the coding system we use for our characters does not allow for these accents (ASCII). | | > In terms of planning for the future - does it really matter? | > Languages have a habit of dying out with disuse: The Gaelic | languages | > are gradually dying out from the British Isles, Cornish | died a couple | > of decades ago, only a few sheep now speak Welsh - and a | handful of | > highlanders the old Scot's Gaelic ('Gallic' they call it). | Across most | > of the (civilised) world, English has become the dominant | language in | > business and commercial life. Minor languages like French, | Spanish and | > Italian will probably become irrelevant soon. Most of India | seems to | > be learning English so they can pinch our jobs, so in a few decades | > there'll just be English and Chinese. But the Chinese are learning | > English, so give it a generation and only English will stand as an | > important everyday language - leaving Latin for scientific | and legal | > use, and other languages as folk curiosities. Might as | well just sort | > in ASCII and wait patiently while the rest of the world falls into | > line. | | Please at least break out your history books. Latin was in the very | situation you describe for English, when English was a very minor | language spoken by a bunch of Germanic barbarians on a very | insignificant island. It morphed into what you call "minor" languages | like Spanish (ever heard of Latin America?). Indians have | been learning | English since England invaded, but it hasn't diminished | Hindi, Bengali, | Malayalam, or any of the thousands of indigenous languages yet. To be honest, you have actually reinforced the point I intended to make. Latin had its day and now occupies a niche position, though it is one of the root languages of many European ones. English is becoming of increasing importance due to widespread usage. My point is that in the reasonably near future, so much of the world's business, commerce and other 'serious' communication will be done in English that other languages will begin to slip out of everyday usage. BTW, the history book you read seems to be missing some detail. I guess the 'Germanic barbarians' you refer to were the Saxons - the Barbarians were a different tribe completely, and don't appear to have settled in Britain. Archaeology shows us that the Saxons appear to have settled as craftsmen and farmers. The Anglo-Saxon which was spoken in Britain laid a foundation vocabulary, which was then added to with Celtic, Viking and Norman influences, but the grammar (even of Old English, let alone modern English) was quite different. As regards the linguistic divergence in India, I think you will find that the usage of indigenous languages will reduce over time, as the country becomes more modern and communication improves. For example: if one person who speaks Hindi and English is working alongside another who speaks Bengali and English which language will they use to communicate ? If a Hindi and English speaking family move into a Bengali and English speaking area, what language will they use with their neighbours. Please, I am not advocating the removal of linguistic divergence or the abolition of different languages. I'm only suggesting that as world communication continues to improve, then the adoption of one language for most communication naturally follows. Inevitably, most languages will gradually pass out of mainstream use. I do, as it happens, feel very sad that when the last Cornish speaker died not so long ago then the language effectively died with her. Nobody now alive knows for certain how to speak Cornish properly. It is a great shame, but it happens. Oh, and yes - I have heard of 'Latin America. Isn't that the place where the conquistadors completely eradicated a civilisation ? Kevin.