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Does politics effect the reputation of a language?

I'm not going to mention any language or country, don't worry, but when there is a rivalry between two countries, would the people of those countries not practise eachothers languages?

October 3, 2017



Politics certainly affects what is defined as a language, as in "a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot". However, I think in everyday life practicalities are more important. I had a flatmate from Gaza and he spoke Hebrew, although he was hardly a big fan of Israel.. Though obviously, if the rivalry is so bad and contact so limited that people no longer have any use for the other language that is sure to have an impact.


Interesting, good question. I would say so. Like for example I wouldn't want to learn Arabic cause not only would it be of no use to me but it is used in so many bad things that it just looks unsavory to me. So I certainly think so.


That's an interesting opinion for an English speaker who is studying German. I don't know if a language itself can be used in bad things, but a language can certainly be used by some bad people. If I refused to learn a language that has been used by a bad person, I would have to resort to conlangs invented within the last couple of years and that doesn't sound all that appealing to me.


I think thats an unfortunate and short sighted approach. Arabic is used by millions of people all over the world for things mostly unrelated to either religion (which is distinct from terrorism), or terrorism. To simply write off millions of people because a highly visable ultra minority of people share a their language is insane. To disengage from the Arabic speaking world over this would have huge humanitarian costs. Anyone who speaks Arabic is not unsavory nor is the language unsavory. Its not a secret language terrorists created to identify other terrorists, its the native tongue of millions of everyday people seeking to make it through life, and a lingua franca of a world struggling with humanitarian crisis'.

Also, if you disagree with the politics of the Arabic world - this is all the more reason to learn the language - to engage the people, to make available other perspectives, to pay attention to the wrongs of others and pressure them to change their behavior. Disengaging and dismissing everyone who speaks Arabic as unsavory is xenophobic, and does nothing to solve our problems in the western world, or the problems of the Arab world. And such xenophobia seems to be contrary to the entire purpose of language learning.

Also, far from only being used for disagreeable things (beyond the mundane usage of daily life), Arabic has a rich cultural history. During the christian dark ages, the Arabic world kept greek work safe, invented algebra (dervived from an Arabic word), advanced chemistry and other sciences.

Learning a language is not a tacit endorsement of everything that has ever been said in that language. Surely this must be appreciated by someone learning German - or honestly any other language. There has been talk of trying Bush Cheney as war criminals, and Obama admitted the United States actions constituted torture which is a war crime and illegal internationally. Unfortunately, international politics are ugly. If you are seeking to learn a language that has never been spoken by people doing things you disagree with, you will have no language at all.


Absolutely. The torture in many such countries and the lack of tolerance is unacceptable, so I would never learn such a language. I don't think it directly affects the language, but the language is part of the country, and the culture represents the country.


if desire to speak a language was relative to the amount of bad there was in the world of their speakers no one would ever learn a language and I feel that would be a pity. when you don't take the time to learn a language I feel you are missing out on a part of yourself you would never know. how can you say weather another view point is right or wrong unless you have see the world from that perspective. and how can you fully see from that culture or perspective without being able to immerse in its culture in some way if you don't speak the language.


Yea, of course it will

[deactivated user]

    I believe so.


    Thanks for answering!


    Rivalry between two countries -- that speak the same language? It happens a lot in South America (example Peru vs Chile). People tend to just make fun of slang words each country uses, but that's it I think. They still listen to the same Spanish music and that tends to get people together regardless of where you are from.

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