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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: Spanish in other countries
Question: I own a Spanish teaching disc set and it teaches the type of Spanish spoken in Spain. If I learn from this, will it be difficult to communicate with Spanish speakers in Mexico?

Reply: As difficult (or as easy) as for speakers of, say, American English to communicate with speakers of British English, Australian English, Singapore English, and so on – or, for that matter, with speakers of any different variety of what we came to call “the same” language. Languages don’t exist without their users.

This holds within what we also came to call “the same” country. Political geography doesn’t necessarily match unified linguistic uses, because different people need their languages for different purposes.

Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
Date: 04-Sep-2013

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