Language Controvercy

Watch Your Tongue: Language Controversy One Of Fundamental Conflicts In Ukraine

“The deepening crisis in Ukraine involves not only issues of political sovereignty, European integration and Russian hegemony, but also language and its relationship to nationalism and ethnic identity.”

I think that the above article is dealing with an important issue.

This is one reason why official languages are a bad idea, in my opinion. Very glad my country has no official language.

But, it also goes deeper and wider; speaking English in Paris is occasionally met with hostility, as a mild example. Anyone speaking putonghua in central Hong Kong, these past few days, has been met with derision, regardless of message, as another example. Similarly, speaking Cantonese on the Beijing subway is sometimes inviting trouble.

Moving up the scale - speaking Spanish in some areas of Southern US can be troublesome, as can be Arabic in Israel, conversely Hamas teach Hebrew “to know the enemy” etc etc.

Language is often a verbal clue that you are “other”, and, unfortunately, tribal instincts will then often come to play. Most of the trouble is related to testosterone fueled males aged 18-35, egged on by mostly older males of similar worldviews with media and political influence, and this applies to a good number of other issues. When you wrap it up with nationalism, religion, ethnic identity, media freedom, restriction of freedom of respectful expression etc, it gets more troublesome.

Language should be decided by practicalities, needs and preferences, and then, tolerated. By practicalities, I mean, all laws should be freely accessible in 30 or more most common languages. Legal aid, similar. A multi-lingual, unfettered, intelligent news and information service should also be freely available - tv news, radio etc. SBS is a great example of this.

I posted a lesson, a while ago, along with the question; “Which country has the world’s best language policy?” Login - LingQ