LINGUIST List 2.162

Wednesday, 24 Apr 1991

Disc: Banned Languages

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Banned Languages
  2. THE GAR, Re: Banned Languages
  3. Jan Olsen, Banned languages
  4. John Goldsmith, Re: Banned Languages
  5. Charles, banned / nonstandard lgs.
  6. Frank Anshen, Re: Banned Languages

Message 1: Banned Languages

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 91 08:48:42 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Banned Languages
I may have missed some installments of this discussion, but in
Taiwan after the Kuomintang government retook it from the Japanese
in 1945, there were various sanctions placed on the use of Taiwanese
(a variety of Southern Min, also called "Amoy" or "Amoy Hokkien"),
the native language of some 80% of the population (probably more
then). Until quite recently, I believe one could get into 
political trouble for publishing textbooks on Taiwanese, or using
Taiwanese romanization (which was a widespread writing system
at one time). There were similar sanctions, unsurprisingly, on the
use of Japanese (which had been the language of education under
Japanese occupation). I'm not sure what the Japanese policy towards
use of Taiwanese or other varieties of Chinese was, though I know
that families were encouraged to use Japanese at home as well as
at school by being given prizes as "National Language households".
The use of Taiwanese in broadcasting was restricted until rather
recently. Perhaps there are Taiwanese on the network who can
speak with more authority about these matters. (Jim Tai, are
you out there?)
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Message 2: Re: Banned Languages

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 91 07:55:17 CDT
Subject: Re: Banned Languages
There are several cases of Esperanto being a banned language. Ulrich Lins'
book "La Dangera Lingvo" is about discrimination against speakers of the
language throughout its history.

Also, in the 1, 1991 issue of ELNA UPDATE the following appears:
"According to `Franca Esperantisto', an Iraqi Esperantist was imprisoned
for several years simply for speaking Esperanto. After being let out of
prison on the condition that he never teach the language he fled to Kuwait.
Unfortunately the french magazine did not reveal if he made it out of Kuwait
before Iraq's invasion."
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Message 3: Banned languages

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 91 15:54:42 +0200
From: Jan Olsen <>
Subject: Banned languages
Since I'm a newcomer to LINGUIST, I do not really know what the discussion
on banned languages started with, but maybe, the following remarks do not
lead too far away. 
I was told that low German was used (rather than merely tolerated) in a
couple of North German schools up to 1960 - and I know Bavarian is still
used in primary schools in Lower Bavaria (that where I'm sending this
message from ). The situation does not change drastically in grammar
schools, so most of the students in my classes do not really have a 
complete knowledge of Standard German. 
The use of Sorbian (spoken in parts of Saxonia) in schools was banned before
the end of World War II, after that, the situation improved. I fear the
dramatic financial situation in the former GDR will make an end to the
financial support that was up to now given to DOMOVINA, the interest group
of Sorbian native speakers.
I also hear that Frisian is used in Dutch schools, but I don't know if
children are taught about Frisian.
Gisbert Fanselow, Passau Univ.
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Message 4: Re: Banned Languages

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 91 08:44:33 CDT
From: John Goldsmith <>
Subject: Re: Banned Languages
My recollection (which is getting hazier, I hate to admit) of the
conditions for a child in Quebec getting admitted to a _public_
anglophone school was, in the mid 70s, the child passing a minimal
English proficiency test (we're talking 5 year olds, now); by the
end of the 70s, the law was what I think it is now: that both the
child's parents had to have gone to Quebecois anglophone schools --
a normal grandfather sort of clause to allow for respect for
minority cultures (in the event, anglophonia) while still maintaining
the politically dominant culture in the face of external pressures.
John Goldsmith
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Message 5: banned / nonstandard lgs.

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1991 11:04:00 -0400
From: Charles <HOEQUISTBNR.CA>
Subject: banned / nonstandard lgs.
Short comments:

laurel to G.Nunberg for making explicit that 'banned'
is not the same as 'ignored', even though the manifestations
may overlap. I would add to his comment about state-level
language laws that, from all evidence, they were pretty
ineffective. This may have been due to a lack of interest
in enforcing them in the first place.

on Ainu: I didn't head the BBC information, but what I've
read on the Ainu indicates that the Japanese ban was part
of a package of regulations targeted at erasing any hint
of difference between Ainu and Japanese culture. This fits
in with the broader Japanese drive to make any area regarded
as Japanese homogeneous with the rest of the country, as illustrated
by their treatment of Korea 1910-1945, including forcing Koreans
to take Japanese names (a Korean won the 1936 Olympic marathon,
for Japan, with a Japanese name; he's still waiting for the IOC
to change the entry in the record books).

When I saw Helge Dyvik's net address, I thought Ha! Nynorsk!,
but she seems to be describing something else. It is my impression
(from talking to Norwegians) that all children in Norwegian schools
have to learn
Nynorsk, which is a composite of rural dialects. Have I gotten
this wrong?

Finally, my entry in the banned-language sweepstakes: English.
The language laws of Quebec severely restrict the use of
English in education and the media, and require public transactions
(e.g. signs in stores) to be French (though I assume they'll allow
European varieties as well as Quebec French). The intent is to
eradicate English in the province.
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Message 6: Re: Banned Languages

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 91 11:41:58 EDT
From: Frank Anshen <>
Subject: Re: Banned Languages
Without having all of the facts in front of me, I believe that both
Catalan and Basque were officially banned during the Franco regime in

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