Linguistic policy for the Olympics - English, French, an international auxiliary language, etc.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A forum thread here may be interesting for readers as readers there (a forum called CanadianContent) are debating the linguistic policy of the Olympics, which became a bit of an issue during the most recent Olympics as well as apparently there wasn't enough French. Page 6 is particularly interesting as by then the topic has expanded to other languages, and one reader IMO makes a very good point about the "artificial" nature of languages such as Indonesian and Turkish, which have been heavily modified in order to make them easier to learn. Along with those two, Hebrew is the perfect example of a language going from virtually nothing to becoming a living language again, and Bislama and Tok Pisin are also good examples of auxiliary languages being used to conserve local languages, not threaten them. It never fails to surprise me how many mistakenly view the idea of IALs as a replacement for natural languages when they expressly make the case over and over again that this isn't their intended role.

Also keep in mind that the benefit of a language that is easy to learn is that it requires little to no time abroad. That means no sending one's children to another country for a few years in order to develop a perfect accent as is often the case for parents in Asia that want their children to get ahead.


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