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"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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Discussion Details

Title: Re: 17.100, Disc: Prestige & Language Maintenance
Submitter: Stan Anonby
Description: I think Cosper's insights are correct. I have observed that people learn languages that are higher up on the hierarchy.

Maybe we could try the analogy of wind. The dominant languages in the
Americas are like a funnel clouds compared to the breezes that are the
minority languages. On other continents, the winds of languages are closer to the same strength. In the Old World, prestige could add enough strength to
make a real difference in language maintenance.

Stan Anonby
Date Posted: 18-Jan-2006
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
LL Issue: 17.177
Posted: 18-Jan-2006

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