LINGUIST List 6.1460

Thu Oct 19 1995

Disc: Language/Dialect

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Directory

  1. Jouko Lindstedt, Re: 6.1454, Disc: The linguistic Macedonian question
  2. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect
  3. Kathleen March, Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect

Message 1: Re: 6.1454, Disc: The linguistic Macedonian question

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 14:05:35 Re: 6.1454, Disc: The linguistic Macedonian question
From: Jouko Lindstedt <jslindstcc.helsinki.fi>
Subject: Re: 6.1454, Disc: The linguistic Macedonian question

Roula Tskoladiou rightly pointed out that the term "Macedonian" has
different meanings in linguistics: the language of Ancient Macedonians,
related to Ancient Greek; the Greek dialects of Macedonia; the Slavic
language (closely related to Bulgarian) spoken in the Republic of
Macedonia. I do not think linguists generally try to deny any of these
meanings. Of course the word "Macedonian" as a noun is more often used to
refer to the standard language of the Republic of Macedonia, whereas as an
adjective, as in "Macedonian dialects", it is truly ambiguous if the
context does not make clear whether we have Slavic or Greek dialects in
mind. But usually this _is_ clear from the context, so I am not entirely
convinced that there is a real problem in linguistic terminology.

As a parallel, there are Carelian dialects of Finnish in Finland, and
there is the Carelian language (or several of them) in Russian Carelia,
but I do not think this is a terminological problem -- although we here
have genetically closely related languages / dialects, so that the danger
of confusion should be even greater than in the Balkans.

Jouko Lindstedt
Department of Slavonic Languages, University of Helsinki
e-mail: Jouko.LindstedtHelsinki.Fi or jslindstcc.helsinki.fi
http://www.helsinki.fi/~jslindst/
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Message 2: Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 09:51:11 Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect

Re J. Hualde's comment on Portuguese and Spanish, I just saw
a TV show (don't remember the specifics) where the journalist
was speaking Spanish to a Brazilian railway official of some
kind, who responded in Portuguese.

But surely we must take as axiomatic in all these discussions
that terms like language and dialect have no precise
definitions, and that there will surely be cases where it
makes sense to agree to disagree (whether this is one of them
or not).

Alexis MR
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Message 3: Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 05:16:14 Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect
From: Kathleen March <Kathleen_Marchvoyager.umeres.maine.edu>
Subject: Re: 6.1454, Disc: Language/Dialect

Regarding Galician, for a small geographical area, the linguistic situation is
extremely complex. However, after 17 years of experience there, I think there
is a linguistic reality (easier to define) and a political one, which is often
not stated but understood. There is one variety of Galician which is accepted
as official, and is the closest to Spanish. There are at least 2 other
orthographies, which also vary slightly in morphology and syntax, and which
are associated with political and cultural performance. The Galician on the
media is often atrocious, with speakers people say 'just started speaking the
language yesterday'. There is a relationship between the central Spanish
government and the autnomous galician government that everyone knows but some
refuse to recognize. That is, the official Galician, the one that is being
'normativized' or standardized in all its levels, is much poorer than the one
left to its own. As an outsider, I would say the language is indeed in great
danger, and that part of this danger had (sadly) come from its entrance into
official status. The best Galician (also in my opinion, but it is a shared
one) is found in the rural areas, where the metaphors and figurative speech
are alive, but even there the media with its watered-down speech is making
inroads. There is much more to say, but it would be tantamount to stating
that there is actually a desire to make Galician disappear by leading it as
close to Spanish as possible (offialdom dislikes anything that smacks of
lusism), until it is so much like a dialect it will fade away. In the
Galician government there are few people who will automatically speak Galician
to a visitor. Spanish is considered the 'normalized' language. This ought to
indicate something. Kathleen March
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