LINGUIST List 2.159

Tuesday, 23 Apr 1991

Disc: Banned Languages

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Directory

  1. "Michael Kac", Beatings
  2. "NORVAL SMITH, banned languages
  3. Margaret Fleck, Banned languages
  4. "N.O. Monaghan", Re: Banned Languages

Message 1: Beatings

Date: Mon, 22 Apr 91 21:55:46 -0500
From: "Michael Kac" <kaccs.umn.edu>
Subject: Beatings
Many of the responses to the query about banned languages involve -- pre-
dictably and depressingly -- accounts of physical punishment meted out,
usually in schools, to users of certain languages. Although this is second
hand, I'll add another example to the sad list, especially poignant for
reasons which will become readily apparent.

The Alsatian artist and writer Tomi Ungerer described, in an article I read
about him some years ago, the experience of being beaten by German scho0l-
teachers during the Nazi occupation for speaking French and then, several
years later after the liberation (and after having forgotten French), being
beaten yet again for speaking German.

Michael Kac
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Message 2: banned languages

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 91 10:06 MET
From: "NORVAL SMITH <NSMITHALF.LET.UVA.NL>
Subject: banned languages
What Millie Griffin says about the banning of sign language in some schools
for the deaf in the United States applies in the leading deaf schools in the
Netherlands as well.
Norval Smith
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Message 3: Banned languages

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 91 16:23:10 BST
From: Margaret Fleck <fleckrobots.oxford.ac.uk>
Subject: Banned languages
If someone is making a list, I believe that Breton was banned in
French schools until fairly recently, along much the same lines as
Welsh in British schools. 

>From a recent BBC documentary, I gather that British sign language was
banned in all or almost all schools, until fairly recently. (My
impression is that BSL is totally unrelated to ASL, even at the level
of the manual alphabet.)

Does anyone know the current state of restrictions on the use of
non-French languages in Quebec? Aren't there (or weren't there
recently) severe restrictions on availability of English-language
education for children?

Margaret
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Message 4: Re: Banned Languages

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 91 16:44:28 BST
From: "N.O. Monaghan" <monaghanhci.heriot-watt.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Banned Languages
> I know for a fact that *all* sign language usage is banned in 
> some schools for the deaf in the U.S.

The forbidding of a particular language by an school cannot
really count as a sign of a banned language - i.e. in the
same sense that a language is banned by government decree.
After all the parents are free to remove their children from
that particular school and send them to another where sign
language is in fact taught. I remember reading that at one
time English was in fact banned in English schools (probably
14th or 15th century) in favour of Latin, even in the playground.

I suppose that the major example of a banned language in the
Western world (i.e. by government enforcement) is in fact
in the French-speaking provinces of Canada where non-French
texts on signs and posters are banned by law. What interests
me is how far a sign must diverge from official French to
make it illegal - i.e. can spelling mistakes (deliberate or
otherwise) give rise to legal sanctions? 

Nils.

[End Linguist List, Vol. 2, No. 159]
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