Monday, 10 October 2016

Quote of the Day: On preserving a dying language


Today’s quote comes from Ayn Rand’s talk/article ‘Global Balkanisation,’ in which she talks about the rise of the concrete-bound tribal mentality, and how it becomes fixated not on ideas but on preserving (and demanding taxpayer’s dollars to protect) concretes like “folk songs, folk dances. special ways of cooking food, traditional costumes and folk festivals,” and of course  the tribe’s language…

A symptom of the tribal mentality’s self-arrested, perceptual level of development may be observed in the tribalists’ position on language….
    To a person who understands the function of language, it makes no difference what sounds are chosen to name things, provided these sounds refer to clearly defined aspects of reality. But to a tribalist, language is a mystic heritage, a string of sounds handed down from his ancestors and memorized, not understood…
    But, of course, it is not for their language that the tribalists are fighting: they are fighting to protect their level of awareness, their mental passivity, their obedience to the tribe, and their desire to ignore the existence of outsiders…
    The tribalists clamour that their language preserves their ‘ethnic identity.’ But there is no such thing. Conformity to a racist tradition does not constitute a human identity. Just as racism provides a pseudo-self-esteem for men who have not earned an authentic one, so their hysterical loyalty to their own dialect serves a similar function: it provides a pretense at “collective self-esteem,” an illusion of safety for the confused, frightened, precarious state of a tribalist’s stagnant consciousness.


1 comment:

  1. Nearly 70 million people in Thailand and the advance of English is inexorable. Many work positions in Bangkok are advertised with a 'must speak English' requirement. They are at the stage here where a lot of adverts, television, and packaging has dual language, sometimes only English. If you have a Thai child here,the best advantage is an English speaking school. They have Montessori also. Ability to speak English raises social status, as high income and wealth does.
    Thai written is pretty weird, Its like Sanskrit. The political and heavy weight infra structure associations are with China, and they won't say so but Chinese people rank poorly on their social scale.

    The transition to English will be quite rapid I think. The muslim tribe close to here, do not speak English or Thai, and of course in their view Bangkok should belong to them . They do not mix with the Thais at all. That's the muslims here. It is strange because usually Thai people will go out of their way to be "inclusive ". For instance they are always trying out their English on me.
    I just thought of the worst disease possible before Western Civilisation collapses..
    Sustainable diversification, or in other words nachhaltige Diversifizierung, truly awful.


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