Why is it that some people feel the need to disrespect other languages? Whether it's outright mocking, repeating provably false statements based on prejudice, downvoting out of existence, etc.
Example 1: "Hey, should I learn Esperanto?" "Only if you want to waste your time, nobody speaks it". It's never a waste of time to learn a language, and lots of people (not compared to English, but enough that you'll never ever meet them all) speak it. People write songs and poetry in it, fall in love through it and raise families using it, discuss global politics in it, etc.
Example 2: "Languages spoken by a handful of people should just die off, there's no use in keeping them around" Languages have massive cultural value, serve as a basis for identity and self-confidence, provide unique ways of looking at the world, unite communities etc. Plus people who maintain their languages and also learn e.g. the national language of their country get the benefits of bilingualism.
Example 3: "Klingon, Quenya, High Valyrian, Na'vi etc. are stupid and for nerds" What's wrong with artistic expression, and where would we be without creativity? Fair enough if none of those languages interest you, but that's no reason to stop other people enjoying them.
Example 4: "X is a primitive/barbarian/ugly language" All languages have similar power to express increasingly complex concepts. This is usually some kind of thinly veiled racism.
Thanks for listening, and be excellent to each other.
It's not only languages. People do the same about just about everything: politics, subjects in school, favorite food, ways of dressing. It very much looks like a part of the essence of what makes a human.
Why? Boh! I could venture a guess, like it being due to people's own insecurity about if they are learning the right language, wearing the right clothes, listenening to the right music, etc. I could go further to guess that this has something to do with a need to be accepted that is inherent in all mammals that form communities and that I flip side of that is that we try to make others look bad in order to make ourselves look good (or at least less bad).
But I cannot justify this in any way, so take it all with the proverbial pinch of salt. Idle speculation.
Many years ago, I took a decision to follow my love for a West African language, sacrificing the begins of a career everybody kept telling we was a great path to follow, but which made me miserable. As you can imagine, the complaint mob came at me hard, telling me things like why would you give up now, that you are on the verge of success, tell me you are not going to go off and study an obscure African language, spoken by more or less a million people, tell me you are not going to go and live among Africans, etc. Yes, it was painful, because internally the decision filled me with nothing but joy. I was free from the constraints of the expectations of others.
So what did I do? I cut ties. I started afresh. I ignored everybody who wasn't ready to listen to my side. I lost many friends, I made many more.
And I haven't had even a moment of regret. If I were given the chance to choose to go to Ghana or to stay and slave out the rest of my days in order to be successful in other people's eyes, I would choose Ghana again. Without hesitation.
That is not to say life hasn't been hard. Of course it has been. But hard is good. It teaches you, it strengthens you. It has the ability to make the best out of you.
I remember interviews with Steve Wozniak, where he said that when they just started, they didn't have enough money, so he was forced to do his best to build a computer within the limited budget he had. So he found ways and means of cutting down on the number of components he used.
I am not glorifying poverty. Poverty sucks, trust me. But, it also stinks to never be in a position where life's hardships force you to become the best you can in order to overcome obstacles.
This is much more than you asked for. But at least the important part I wanted to get across is why I think the human brain is wired to complain, criticize, find faults.
Lorenzo, once again you have saved me the trouble of actually formulating and writing a response. I thank you.
If you are not already writing professionally (as I suspect you are), you should be. I myself need to stay away from public writing. I am getting older and have become too irritable, cynical and impatient to be taken seriously.
You, on the other hand, have the intelligence, control, balance and that certain magic touch that makes us all want to read what you have to say until the end.
Sir, I salute you!
I myself need to stay away from public writing. I am getting older and have become too irritable, cynical and impatient...
You just described some of the best writers out there! :)
You don't know how much those words meant! I don't consider myself intelligent, having control, balance or being able to write particularly well, for that matter. My whole life has largely been about not having enough belief in myself. Always pushing myself harder, trying to get accepted, but never actually getting accepted.
I grew up being told I'm dumb, lazy, that learning languages is for sissies (real men should be engineers or soldiers). I have a rebellious streak in me, so I ran off and followed what I wanted to do, for better and for worse. Regardless of what, I made my own choices and learned to live with the consequences, something I find has been rather educational if somewhat painful at times.
Now I spend a lot of time trying to engage with my own children, encouraging them to follow their own paths. It's not always easy. As parents we easily fall into the trap of thinking we know best. I think the biggest mistake we can do is to plan out their lives without sitting down to get to know them, as individuals.
You may simply have commented on something you liked. To me, you made my whole day! Thank you, profoundly!
“As parents ... the biggest mistake we can do is to plan out their lives without sitting down to get to know them, as individuals.”
So true, 10 lingots for you.
Real men are soldiers and engineers? Please. Knowledge is power. Saying languages are for sissies is basically saying that people who can communicate with others outside their own country are pathetic, which is totally NOT true. I know many people who are bilingual and are super inspiring.
I obviously agree with you. However, my dad held those beliefs. Growing up, he scared the living daylights out of me. But I don't really hold a grudge. Isn't part of life learning to deal with uncomfortable and difficult situations and people you fear? Also, all in all, I have learned to also understand that he has a certain viewpoint. I don't agree with it, but I'm not going to change his mind.
I did what I had to do: ran away to figure life out for myself and follow whatever path I needed to follow. Hopefully I learned enough to make sure that my children never feel a need to run away from me.
I believe there are quite a number of us here who are learning languages are agreeing with you, This_Dark_Soul. Including LorenzoCabrini, who in my understanding of what they have written chose to not follow the negative advice, and has followed what they they wanted to do. And going the step further, to seek to support and encourage their children to also follow their own paths.
I see we are on similar pages here.
That, and your comment above is the daily life of more than 80%of Indian students. (No study has been made to get that percentage value). Just get used to it ;-)
You make an interesting summary uphilldweller, that this sums up to insecurity.
I think it is revealing of much more than that.
Quite a few years ago I heard a talk by Alain de Botton on the philosopy of success, about the motivating forces of prestige, and how it influences happiness.
Also many of the concepts in the book "The Brain" by David Eagleman.
I will return to expand on these concepts. However it is now after midnight my time.
This is a fascinating discussion.
Philosophy has been reduced, in many people's minds, to YouTube debate heroes who take turns to "destroy" each other arguments, be they political, religious, about climate change or whatever.
I think many people today would be better off spending a bit more time actually pondering philosophical questions. You may not find any answers (philosophers rarely do), but you may discover a lot about yourself. Maybe you even figure things out that make sense to you, that help you in your own life.
Of course, de Botton would argue that doing philosophy does not carry prestige any more, as it did in the days of Plato, Aristotle, etc., so it can not be a source of happiness. Oh well...
Good points. In an increasingly overtly "simple, greedy 'n proud of it" capitalist world, the worth of any discipline becomes more and more defined by its potential monetary value.
You mention youtube debate heroes - a perfect example, as "popularity" can now be translated almost directly into "money", at least potentially.
I suspect that many of those debate heroes only debate subjects if they know that they can easily "collect" lots of people with some fairly simple rhetoric.
I further suspect that they would have little interest in their subjects if they had to think too much about them, or didn't get enough attention, quickly enough.
I agree fully. And this is at a time when we probably need thinkers more than ever.
@DaKanga: Another interesting book on that topic is "Popular: the power of likability in a status-obsessed world" by Mitch Prinstein. This is indeed a fascinating discussion, with LorenzoCabrini's and HeyMariana's writing talents exposed. And let's not forget the original post by CarbsRule! Kudos to all!
Oh my gosh your story sounds so much like mine. I had a career, four walls to stare at everyday, and a boss who constantly overlooked me, yet I was told that I was doing well in life. As I saw that Corporate Canada was making me more miserable every day, I fell in love with a First Nations man and dropped my life in the city to go live with him in the mountains. Through him, I learned that the language he speaks (only spoken by less than 200 people) is such an important tool to their history and is what connects them in a way that is unique and beautiful. I started to learn some words and I'm now up to understanding almost as much as my husband does. I told my husband that his dad ought to contribute to this site with their language since Navajo is here. I think it's an amazing idea to save some precious First Nations languages on a site like this! I know it might sound more political than practical, but languages are personal no matter what the reason you want to learn them. In fact, I believe it's more valuable to revive a nearly lost language than to "let it die". What a selfish, ignorant thing to wish for. Look at how many archaeologists fight to understand what ancient artifacts read because it's in a lost language. Thank goodness some people take on rare languages to help us understand our histories.
Wow! It's amazing to hear this. Did you also have a feeling for a while that you were the only one making "strange" choices in life and that everybody around you considered you "a lost cause"? It's really nice to hear from other people who dared to take the step, who walked away from something that wasn't for them and choose a different path.
I also believe every language is worth rescuing. Maybe because I am interested in languages, but I feel that every language gives us a chance to look at the world from a slightly different pair of eyes.
I hope I get a chance to hear more about you and your life story. People like you should write books. That's it! Your story can inspire others who would like to do something different but maybe can't find the courage to take the first step.
Do you know the song "Watching the Wheels" by John Lennon? It's one of my favourite songs. The lyrics say it all. I met my (now) husband and was on the fence in life. Do I give up all this time I spent in this particular career to just risk it on love? YES. In fact, I was so irritated with my employer that I cleaned out my desk after work one night and left a note of goodbye to my coworkers - who I missed! I never even got a phone call or email from my boss to ask me why or what happened to me. That right there told me I made the right choice.
I embraced his culture, and we got married a year later. I learned that it's not just his culture that's endangered - but his language, which is so sad! Their own youth don't have much interest in learning it, and when elders speak it, it falls on their deaf ears. It's so aggravating to know this! They have it at their fingertips - however so many people just don't know how to teach. They'd like the kids to learn, but don't know how to start inspiring them or teaching them.
I did write a book. Actually.. two of them so far. One is about my husband's career as an artist. :)
I self-publish. :) My twitter is @ HeyMarlana which can direct to my website and info on my works. :)
That sounds really interesting HeyMarlana! I would love to read your books!
After a little bit of digging I think it might be the Nuu-chah-nulth language. It's just a guess though.
HeyMarlana - Yours is a fantastic story! Thanks for sharing it. Falling in love with a man and a language aside, I admire your bravery in breaking away from the corporate world when you knew it was no longer serving your purpose. Bravo!
I agree that it is wrong to disrespect people but people are free to express their opinion or they were the last time I looked.
Where disrespect is evident it says more about the person expressing his/her opinion than it does about the person being disrespected.
Sorry for not being clear.
I like how psionpete made the comment above. click here to go to the comment
However, our comments have consequences, also as indicated by our guidelines. And Duo clearly states it has the rights to remove inappropriate comments, and that there can be other implications for the poster also, as to inappropriate comments being made.
While it can be possible for anyone of us to comment and share any ideas, if we do not stay within the guidelines, and terms and conditions of Duolingo, there will be repercussions for us.
Bearing in mind also that the purpose of Duolingo is for language learning, and so subjects about and for language learning are appropriate on these forums, as are issues that are about and concerning Duolingo.
However issues outside of this - for there are many things in life that are beyond language learning and Duolingo, then they are not appropriate in these forums.
That makes a lot of sense - and it's very true. All they're really doing is making themselves look bad (or worse) in the eyes of however many people they are disrespecting. It's ironic really, to see that the things people do or say in order to make themselves feel better actually just make the situation a whole lot worse. It's kind of sad actually.
The thing about freedom of speech is that it never stops. You're free to express your opinion. Others are free to express their opinion about your opinion. And on and on. So yes, we are all free to express disrespectful opinions but we should expect those expressions to be critiqued and challenged (sometimes leading to unpleasant consequences).
FoS is a great gift. But with great freedom must come great responsibility. Without responsibility freedom becomes cheap. Being responsible includes the following
Keeping conversation upbeat
Respecting others beliefs (this applies to all)
Remembering that when you have freedom you MUST use it in a proper and adult way
Those that yell Freedom of Speech!!!1! at everything, tend to forget that FoS applies to how the US government must treat its citizens. And even there it has restrictions.(fire in a theater) This doesn't have to be a law in other countries, though some have something similar on the books. In my country it comes way, way, way below the first article of the constitution, which is that the government can't discriminate.
Duolingo is language learning website/app. They've got their own rule set, which curbs FoS on these boards, example; you can't swear & people agreed to this "hampering of their freedoms" when they signed up.
Lol the speech totally rocks with the profile pic :D - I was wondering where all my lingots go and now I think I know :)
We are an open community here, which is open for all people to learn another language. Which includes the full gamut of diversity. We also are a site that is governed by guidelines , and ones that I often read and am inspired by, even after all these years.
And included in our guidelines are important points such as being Respectful. As well as
Please don't waste your time looking for loopholes; we will remove any content that violates the spirit of these guidelines and you will risk losing partial or full access to Duolingo without warning. By following these guidelines, we will all contribute to an interesting and helpful learning community.
Do not forget advice on https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/205101500-How-do-I-report-abuse-
These reports are all read and acted upon.
As well, how each one of us choose to interact with others also creates our culture. To quote Usagiboy7 :
Communities aren't where we are, they are what we build.
So how we choose to react, including to not respond, to people when they type inappropriate comments, it does matter. It also creates the community we share.
It is recommended to make use of the of the controls you have, which does also include down voting an inappropriate comment. As well of course as reporting things of significant offense.
Also that when we respond to someone, where they have made an off comment, we are drawing more attention and can be giving more fuel to their inappropriate agenda. Though many times, sometimes they have made a comment in an attempt to somehow be amusing and engaging, and yet have been clumsy, and that they have not fully appreciated how their comments are showing disrespect.
Thank you for this interesting discussion carbsrule.
I would also encourage people to examine this How To cartoon by Marie-Shirine Yener.
And to consider it in the case of whenever you witness abuse and hate, not just to Islamophobic harassment. And where appropriate, to consider practicing it.
And again, do not forget to follow the advice in How do I report abuse
Does anyone else find it amazing that we need step-by-step behavioral guidelines in how we are to treat others? Did anyone ever say it more simply than Jesus Christ? Treat others as you would have them treat you. If humans would only do this, 95% of world suffering would disappear overnight.
Treating others as you would be treated is not so easy when the people involved are enraged mental cases or people from a completely different culture. It is not amazing that many people need step-by-step advice on how to deal with a possibly dangerous situation involving total strangers. I can think of a lot of ways that the situation in the cartoon, through the well-meaning interference of others, could have escalated and maybe even gotten violent. This is the possibility that the cartoon is clearly trying to prevent.
Those who work with troubled or mentally ill people receive serious instruction on how to deal with them in a safe, effective, and non-provocative manner. To expect random people on the subway to just intuitively know how to do the same thing, and then to act on their uneducated instincts alone without backup or protection, even when (as in the cartoon) the person in question is a young woman dealing with an angry guy much bigger than she is, is just another form of insensitivity.
Mentally ill people are more often the target of violence, than the perpetrators. I wanted to take a moment to share that because violence against mentally ill people increases when abusers feel that the mentally ill people are more vulnerable due to isolating stereotypes. This isn't me intending to call you out. But rather, to provide additional information and additional perspective. :)
Thank you for your comment, Usagiboy. I remember one time my son, who has schizophrenia, was standing with our cart in the middle of a big aisle in Costco. He was just standing there still, as he sometimes does. A woman started shouting at him, "What are you doing standing there?" I was really hurt, and not quick enough to think how to respond. I should have told her he has schizophrenia, but that the real crazy person was her. What did he do to provoke her? Would she have shouted at a table displaying goods if it were standing there instead of him?
Let's not forget that historically mental illness was associated with curses and other things, adding a layer of justification to the abuse.
Yes, there is taboo where there should be compassion. Mental illnesses are usually due to imbalances of chemicals that affect the nervous system.
And a mentally ill person becoming the victim of violence is just one way that the situation in the cartoon could have ended, if it had been dealt with in a different way.
The whole point of treating others as you would have them treat you is not that it is easy, but rather that it is just.
I wish we could avoid the word mentally ill. I know a number of people who are mentally ill who wouldn't harm a fly (apart from, sadly, themselves).
Honestly, as someone with multiple mental illnesses, I think the phrase 'mentally ill' is pretty accurate. It doesn't have any inherent judgement in it, isn't patronising, etc. It just states exactly what's going on: that someone is ill, and the illness is located in the brain. Avoiding the phrase 'mentally ill' wouldn't change people's ideas that we're violent, and we'd just end up using some other, probably less accurate, phrase instead.
Having phrases like that one allows us to speak openly and honestly about what we're experiencing. Trying to avoid saying the words just means covering things up and making it harder to talk about.
I did not mean that there is anything wrong with the term mentally ill as such. If that is how it came out, then I'm sorry.
I rather felt that the association of the term mentally ill with violent people was unfortunate. Yes, there are mentally ill people who get violent, but there are people who are not mentally who get violent. And, far from all mentally ill people display violence.
I don't think this is a guide on how to treat someone, but a guide on how to help in this scenario without risking an attack or violence.
DaKanga, this cartoon is very useful (your other comments, too). Thanks for posting it.
daKanga, I know this is a little off topic, but the Islamaphobia cartoon thing you posted is so true! Thank you for posting that, especially where I live there are many people who isolate/treat-badly the Muslim population, and the tips in the cartoon was so accurate.
No one harasses muslims in public, that's a fantasy so they can pretend they're victims.
In reality, a westerner is far more likely to be killed, raped, or harassed by a muslim than the other way around.
I had a very interesting conversation this week. I don't think the person was trying to be disrespectful...
I work part time as a Boy Scout leader with urban kids. This week, a dad came in to pick up his son. It became clear that he knew a lot about scouting and that he was observant. He noticed the Esperanto Interpreter's Strip on my uniform and even knew what Esperanto was!
He asked me if I've found any "practical value" for my Esperanto. When I said that Esperanto's practical value is being able to talk to other people who speak Esperanto, he concluded that this means it has no practical value.
This is a bizarre conclusion on the face of it, but I'm willing to cut him some slack, since Esperanto surprises a lot of people. It doesn't fit in our regular boxes, and so takes time to understand what it really is.
Thank you salivanto for all the things you are doing to assist in improving communications among our communities.
Every language has its unique way to be able to communicate with others in the world and learn a new way to experience the world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_English is also another interesting conlang to check out.
You're welcome - although it's not 100% clear to me which communities you're referring to.
In another part of this thread, you suggested that "disrespect" toward a language be reported to the mods as "abuse." For sure "disrespect" exists on a scale.
- actual abuse.
- openly rude
- unintentional offense.
I usually go for "brief and thoughtful" for just about all of these levels. Someone recently on my review of an Esperanto textbook with "disgusting" - and I think the sentiment was sincere. This was a YouTube video and as the channel owner, I could have removed the comment. I could have called the person out. I could have said nothing. I chose to say "thanks for your comment." In other words. "Yes, I saw - but you're not going to get a rise out of me."
At the other extreme - and, of course, you had no way to know this - but that link to Ogden's B.E. is a little offensive to me. I'm used to it, though. I get worse all the time. People just don't know. They're not always trying to offend.
And yes, I'm being serious. I'm not deeply offended, but when someone says "Oh, you speak Esperanto - you may also like Ogden's B.E." - I have a choice on how to react. I can ignore it. I can get offended. I can explain the problem. My initial thought was to ignore the comment - but in the light of your comment elsewhere about treating disrespect as abuse, I thought I'd run with this example.
Esperanto is the language of the Esperanto community and has been in constant daily use for over 130 years. It's not a project sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere to be put on Duolingo in 2015. People actually speak it. People make friends in it. People create in it. People fall in love in it. (A small number of) children (including mine) say their first words in it.
Ogden's Basic English is a relic from almost 100 years ago - flawed both in terms of how language works and in terms of how people learn language - and was fully discredited by the middle of the 20th century. To my knowledge, nobody uses it or advocates for it today.
(By "nobody" - I mean at most a few individuals with an annual literary output lower than the output of the Volapük community.)
So - no, I'm not really offended - but again, I am totally serious here. My point is that everybody has baggage, and when people "disrespect" our language, it may be an opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings. It may also be an opportunity to ignore the comment and get on with enjoying your life.
Edit: As I was composing the message above, I started asking around my contacts if anybody advocates for Ogden's Basic English in 2019. The closest anybody knew of was this website which is many years out of date.
People form opinions based on their experience of the world. At times I think it is possible to voice even negative opinions in a way that is respectful, but the context in which that opinion is voiced matters greatly. I think it is perfectly valid to dislike a language for many reasons but there is no reason to be a jerk and add your two cents about it where it was not invited. It's a better world when people can disagree but still respect one another.
I think the OP was specifically talking about when people are being a jerk about it. We all have our opinions and preferences. And that is fine. It must also be OK to disagree with each other, otherwise we cannot have any form of serious discourse.
However, as you pointed out, there is no reason to butt in with negative opinions, just for the sake of it.
You're forgetting " Native speakers of language X are all Y. "
I've had a lot of this due to studying Russian, myself. And, yes, I've been defending Russians ( and other native Russian speakers ) left and right. I now just default to a more shrugging approach of asking if they ever met a native speaker to base their assumption on.
On the other hand, I've also had a few reports from people bragging about me studying Russian(1) and the reactions they got that ranged from 'WOW, that's such a hard language. Impressive.' to a dead-panned ' Well, Russian is the most beautiful language in the world, so....'
(1) I feel torn about this, I'm not exactly good in the language, nor do I like the bragging itself.
In what way exactly are you torn? I understand how you're feeling about (1). But people are people. You could ask them to stop, if you haven't already. It also really depends on whether they speak other languages or not. People who are monolingual tend to be impressed with any language, not really focusing on the fluency or how you feel yourself about it. I don't know about the people you're around, but that's what it's like where I live. The awe is the same no matter if you've been speaking it all your life or if you only know a few words. It's a struggle sometimes. I dislike telling people I'm learning other languages for that reason. They tend to tell everyone else when it's really none of their business. Sorry, I went into a bit of a rant there.
I'm torn due to getting positive feedback on the one hand, but on the other getting it in this manner. I don't like bragging in general, and more so when I don't feel I have bragging rights.
And, I'm in the Netherlands, monolingualism is quite rare here. Though Slavic languages are less common.
I dislike telling people I'm learning other languages for that reason.
There's another reason I dislike telling people which ( and how many ) languages I speak and/ or am studying. It comes off as bragging to some! One cannot win.
Stereotypes are never cool. I want to speak Russian but I find it very difficult. (I've spent a lot of my time on Duolingo doing Russian, as you can see).
Stereotypes are never cool.
Yes, both the for and against ones.
I want to speak Russian but I find it very difficult. (I've spent a lot of my time on Duolingo doing Russian, as you can see).
Hahah, I always notice the Russian flag, yes. My streak is approximately how long I've spend so far on the language. I'm not at A1, even.
Good luck with your studies )
Just hopped in to say that I love your post! I appreciate that you took the time to write and share it. :)
Yes it's a great post. Good to see you, Usagiboy - you've been missing - I haven't seen you post for a while. :)
I love this! I started learning Norwegian before I visited Norway earlier in the year, and some friends told me it's pointless because they all understand English in Norway anyway. That's not the point! I'd like to learn at least the basics of a language before visiting the country, plus learning a new language is a fun skill to learn in your free time, so I've continued learning it. I don't like the closed-mindedness that I get with 'what's the point' comments, it's so fascinating understanding how other languages can work, no matter how widely spoken! Although I do wish I knew of some people who spoke (or are trying to learn) Norwegian so I can become more familiar with it! :)
Another fantastic thing about learning another language is that when you really get to start to know it, it will introduce you to new concepts and ways to see the world. It will allow you to think differently about what you observe, giving you more options to engage with the world and see new opportunities.
It is well worth the journey.
I was questioned recently about why I learned Esperanto. I explained to them that it was merely a hobby that I like doing.
Languages like Klingon, Sindarin, High Valyrian, etc are learned so that fans can immerse themselves in their favorite shows, books, movies, etc.
In my opinion, all languages are beautiful, even languages like Klingon are beautiful. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I absolutely love languages regardless if they are conlangs or natural languages.
I think it is a great thing to preserve endangered languages; I respect duolingo for their efforts with keeping those languages alive.
Those people that are negative like that are simply ignorant and have not experienced the joys of language learning
Spending precious time on demeaning others says more about them than it says about you. Ignore those people. They're utterly useless and jealous of your productivity.
heee heeee this is also very similar to one of sayings I often keep with me Robin-Backer.
What you choose to say, says a lot about you. And what someone else says, can say more than enough about them.
Please remember also sayings such as throwing stones in glass houses.
When we use put downs of others, rather than talking about the issue and concepts, we are entering the same mud pit.
Language is so important. You said what so many of us are feeling but we couldn't find the words, thank you.
I love Duolingo because it brings people together through an important shared interest. I've learned so much on here, not just concerning languages but with culture and humanity as well. Thankfully I've only seen maybe 5%-10% of users on the forums express something that falls into one of these categories! And often they are just trolling. But this post is so important in today's world considering all the changes that are happening as we speak in society. Thank you for an insightful post that breaks down the hateful barriers!
I always think that such examples of negativity are just that - negativity.
How does not learning a different language qualify one to criticise it?
Exactly, I'll share an experience I had online with someone learning German for the wrong reasons, however just a footnote this isn't a rant at any German speakers or anything, I myself find the language interesting.
About a year and a half ago, I had been learning Spanish for 2ish months, proud of my achievements I was like "wow learning a language is so hard!". In comes someone who had been learning German for some time (and definitely not a representative of the majority who learn it), and said "You think that language is complex? Pfft you wouldn't be able to comprehend German", he then just continues to insult Spanish making rude remarks about South Americans and such (ironically this guy insisted that Argentina fitted into the good side of his ideology). So what did I do? He hadn't learnt much Spanish for himself (I tested him and from his basic school knowledge, he got his sentences wrong), and I afterwards I thought "well there you go, learning each language you will face unique challenges with pieces of grammar unique to that language group, and depending on past experience with other languages this will vary", I don't think there's any need to consider yourself "mentally superior" to someone else for having picked a language considered harder to learn than theirs, that's like saying that because your grandma taught you a cake recipe with more exceptions and specific rules, you're superior to someone whose grandma taught them how to make basic cupcakes. It's just childish that this is even an issue to begin with. I could've been learning something even more distant to English, and that wouldn't have made me any better than him, it would have literally just been me making a different choice and learning different things, end of.
On a lighter note: I'll be going to Germany this year and have learnt some German, I'm enjoying the language so far and ironically learning Spanish has helped me to understand some of the concepts like verb conjugation and gender, good luck to everyone learning any language!
Thank you so much for saying this! People are allowed to think that a language is ugly/boring/useless and so on. However, we can't use our opinions to hurt others and we need to consider the impact of our words.
I think the fundamental problem is that freedom is one of this words that nobody really thinks about it. I take it for granted that I have the right to slap you in the face. Nobody can take my freedom from me! Then you slap me back and I begin to cry foul.
I don't think it makes sense to discuss freedom without discussing the other side of the coin: responsibility. You get freedom as long as you handle it with responsibility, which includes understanding that you don't have the freedom to prevent other people from also enjoying their freedom.
Looking at the state of world, this is very hard to grasp. We defend our own freedom with tooth and claw, but have no problem stepping on the freedom of others.
Exactly. Subjective preferences are not worth arguing about. A language I hate the sound of might be your "most beautiful language ever" and vice-versa. That's fine as long we don't put each other down for our different perceptions and opinions (and as long as we recognize that our opinions are just that, opinions and not facts). Never forget that everyone else can use their freedom of expression to challenge how I choose to use mine!
Exactly! Language is not just a tool of communication. In so many ways, each language is an universe on its own. And each and every language provides infinite possibilites, either by its widespread usage, certain grammatical features or just by sheer and wild creativity of its vocabulary. For study of any language is in essence study of core human experience.
Oh! This (number 3 on your list) just made me remember a post I wrote a year ago called Conlangs and the American Football fandom.
In that post, I talk about how conlangs facilitate friendships, save lives, and even change the world, and how, because of that, I am strongly in support of people's desire to spend time and energy creating and learning them. Then, I go on to talk about them in the context of fandoms, including the American Football fandom. And then I show the overlap between learning Klingon and American football.
I've found that helping people connect to unfamiliar things through familiar things is a great way to build understanding and reduce prejudices. There are plenty of football players and fans who are in more fandoms than just football. However, not many people really connect similarities between learning Klingon and playing or watching football. So, I tried to do some of that in the post. I'm sharing it here because, maybe it will help people here, who might have misgivings about people spending time learning Klingon, realize that they probably have things in their lives that are on the same level as learning Klingon. :)
Excellent! (electric guitar sounds). Yeah, I mean I learn Latin at school, and like people are like oh that's a dead language like that's so stupid why would you learn that. and I'm like oh shut up.
funny, I was in the library the other day looking for some Spanish and French young readers books (I find I can barely read them yet) and noticed a Latin grammar. So I picked it up and then quickly noticed that it is the root of all those Romance languages. Romance means from the Romans and they of course spoke Latin. If you can get Latin all the others are easy.
And they deserve such responses. It's funny how people have such disrespect for something that shaped history. Many languages come from Latin. It's like a parent and it's children with some stranger. The stranger loves the children, but is horrid to the parent. It makes no sense. Those children came from the parent, and while children aren't carbon copies of their parents (obviously), many children and quite similar to their parents. Ridiculing the parent is ridiculing the child.
Why do folks disrespect? I'm thinking xenophobia/racism, plus some people just want to stir up shhtuff (most likely due to xenophobia/racism/general oafishness).
Right now, I'm studying the most popular language, Spanish-from-English. My choice stemmed from pragmatic reasons, such as (in random order of importance), close family who live with Spanish-speakers, the fact that I live in California, and my belief that Spanish is the most important real-world language for most of us Estadounidenses (gringos) to learn, if we want to begin to join, and help build, a wider world community.
BUT WAIT ... there's more! Studying this one language has helped me to speak my native English more clearly. More important, I'm learning to LISTEN better. Even more importanter (yup, that's now a word), learning another language improves my all-around clarity of thought. I did not expect those rewards.
So. Even though Spanish alone is a real challenge for me ... I'm far from averse to seeking more languages to learn. (Except for maybe French. But only just for now. School-age French keeps intruding into my present-day Spanish.)
My own next languages will most likely be rooted in real-Earth. But I would never disparage anyone who studies fictional tongues. Potential cognitive benefits are too great.
What really, really get under my skin is the "why not just learn something more important for a career?". It's never made sense to me, why would I ever want to learn something that takes hundreds upon hundreds of hours, and still hate doing it?! let me learn what i want lol
Thank you! I can't stand people who always mock other countries' languages for example Spanish thinking everything has added an 'o' to it and Viola I just learned Spanish. No! Spanish is a very intricate language that some might say it is quite hard. So please if you are one of these people, please, stop it.
I could not agree more! The most beautiful thing about learning another language is being able to put a smile on someone's face when you communicate with them. Even if you're terrible at speaking, sometimes the effort you put into showing your appreciation towards another culture is heartwarming.
Great. I hope we can reflect about the reverse, when we observe someone trying to communicate in English but receiving condescension.
What do you want to do with it, out of interest? And which dialect? There are three or four IIRC. If I had oodles of time I'd definitely give it a whirl.
At school we have to learn Chinese and immature boys always say "ChingChong" :/ It makes me feel sick ig
I am glad you have the compassion and intelligence to recognize things such as this.
Thank you for being a part of our language learning community.
People are entitled to their opinions. And yeah, sometimes they’re downright rude, but they’re still allowed to think X language is less useful or whatever.
Plus, Irish is my first language. While I understand what you’re saying about minority languages, if someone asked me what language should they study, I wouldn’t recommend that they study Irish. Why? Because it’s really difficult, and yeah, no matter how much you sugarcoat it, it is way less useful than most languages (it’s in a unique situation where every Irish speaker speaks English).
I don’t think it’s wrong to state this, especially when, for example, you often see people wanting to learn it for foolish reasons, and they aren’t prepared for what it entails. If someone still wants to learn it despite that, that’s great. But we shouldn’t hide inconvenient truths and mislead them.
Of course I love my language though. And I wish more than anything that it was more spoken. If someone was learning it, and asked for help, I’d give it, but at the same time, I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to pretend it’s as useful or ”easy” as other languages. It’s simple fact that it’s not.
The same points go for many other languages. And every language has its own merits, sure. And if you really want to learn a language, the one you’re interested in is always the best choice.
If you think klingon or Esperanto are useful and wonderful, that’s your choice. But don’t misrepresent them. Esperanto is an artificial language, and while it has some speakers, it’s nothing like other languages (and sure, this may be a positive to some).
The other ones you mention, klingon etc are utterly useless. People of course are within their rights to like them, and to learn them. But you can’t change the fact that they were designed by people who were primarily writers, and even compared to Esperanto, they have less vocabulary (because they contain the words used in the books and movies, and then others added by seperate people, who, ontop of that, may not even be the words the writer envisaged).
The point is, you can say a lot of true negative statements about many languages. But it’s a matter of opinion, and it’s entirely different than something like racism, so people can say what they wish. And if someone is randomly attacking a language, rather than just stating facts you dislike, they’re just making themselves look bad.
If someone asks me what language they should study, I usually say they should study whatever interests them. If they have Irish heritage, they may well be interested in studying Irish, even if it's difficult and even if it isn't widely spoken. I don't have Irish heritage (that I know of) but one day I'll probably give it a try just to see how it works. If people ask for a personal recommendation, I say that I enjoy Esperanto and think it's a good way to get started with language learning. From a learning perspective it doesn't have any of the pain points that usually put people off progressing in languages (difficult verb conjugation rules, grammatical gender, multitude of cases, cryptic idioms, unwieldy spelling, ...), and from a cultural perspective it puts the learner in touch with people from a huge variety of linguistic backgrounds and geographical locations. I rarely if ever come across people who've studied Esperanto and come away wishing they hadn't.
What are the foolish reasons for learning a language?
I haven't said anything about what I think about Klingon. Personally I have no interest, apart from perhaps delving into seeing which particular features Mark Okrand used to make it seem strange and alien - I wouldn't ever imagine myself ever speaking it, that's for sure. But if people want to learn it and have fun with it, more power to them.
What exactly do you mean that "Esperanto is an artificial language ... it’s nothing like other languages"? In reality all languages are artificial (i.e. made by humans), it's just a question of to what degree the choices made in their creation are made deliberately. Some languages have had deliberate reforms to their spelling. Some languages have academies which create new words for speakers to use. Even in English there are dictionaries and style guides which push language use in certain directions.
The other ones you mention, klingon etc are utterly useless... they were designed by people who were primarily writers ...
Mark Okrand (Klingon) is a linguist, Paul Frommer (Na'vi) is a linguist, Tolkien was a philoligist and professor of language and literature, David Peterson (High Valyrian) has an MA in linguistics. Their utility is primary in providing enjoyment/entertainment, but surely they also spark interest in languages in general.
The point is, you can say a lot of true negative statements about many languages.
OTOH, it's easy to make untrue assertions based on ignorance.
A good question would be, "What do we say if someone does disrespect our language." Just a thought.
Yes, it is a good question Jr.Foraker23 !
For that, I would encourage you to read and act upon the advice on https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/205101500-How-do-I-report-abuse- .
Make sure you include the link to the discussion.
You will see that in the header of your browser.
Also please take a screen shot and send that with your report, along with text describing what is offensive, but being as succinct as possible.
We take issues of abuse seriously here.
It is fine to discuss and compare languages. It is not fine to use put downs or other versions of hate speech to those that speak or are learning or are interested in another language.
Duolingo does take action. It does matter.
Certainly you're not suggesting that any perceived "disrespect" should be reported as abuse.
I've reported abuse a few times in the last few weeks and the moderators are always quick and responsive - but those were jokes about the "n-word" and suggestions about suicide. If someone says "Esperanto is a waste of time" - a simple, gentle response is far more productive than having that comment removed.
Oh. I was actually talking about just in general. Like if I was at the park and I said that I was learning some language, and they said it was dumb or something, I was wondering if you should provide an argument or just kind of say "Well that's your opinion." I do appreciate you writing all of this, though. :) Very eye-opening.
If someone comes at me with thoughtless rudeness like "that's dumb", then all they are getting is "Yes, well that's your opinion." I'm not wasting effort or energy on that. Now if someone challenges me respectfully and with an actual argument, sure we can talk.
I think it's great to have some responses prepared, including for topics more divisive than languages also. If I may share, my approach has been:
For some I would have a conversation and share what I know -and learn what I didn't. But . . . after encountering incidents way too frequently and seeing the pointlessness due to a vast difference in what logic, rationale, empathy, values mean, I would be very brief but as polite as I can manage, saying things like
"Sure, just like people like different music and different foods but it does NOT mean that each music or food type is bad/insult-able."
To people who say outright rude, -ism, damaging remarks, nowadays I tend to not to let that pass. Within being streetwise, I'd say something like
"That is rude. It is not OK to ----. I suggest you have respect for ---; I do."
Within being streetwise, sometimes I give active silence and/or walk away. Nowadays I deal with things in other ways more, by actively showing kindness and friendship to people unknown to me, choosing to be with kind, empathic, aware, knowledgeable people, and encouraging that base to expand.
It's funny that you mention Esperanto haha. Couple of years ago I went to a classical concert, and some random man who sat next to me, asked if I know about the language and then proceeded to give me a lecture about how it is so amazing and a lot of people around the world are speaking it and how he is so proud to be a part of the community and how everyone should learn it. XD
I can´t even count how much i have been mocked only because i learned Esperanto... but now i got lots of friends, and a new way on how I see the world.
Really makes me sad, a lot of people tell me this. Sometimes I'll say a word or something just for fun and people start saying things like "That sounds stupid just talk english", "Why learn that when you'll never use it" It's fun for me and I really love hearing other languages.
I hope you continue to choose to not get discouraged by the current comments you are getting.
Know that while you are not alone, there are also many people in this world, including this world wide community of language learners, who commend you and also join you in this valuable passion and pleasure we also gain from learning languages.
I have seen so much of what you mention, although I stay out of social circles where it happens. I love languages so joined here without realizing that for some it is just an extension of their social life, for better or worse. It obviously is to mine and can be great...IF I can discipline myself to just ignore the negativity and outright meanness and hurtfulness that comes up from time to time.
My answers to "why" are 1. fear (insecurity, as someone else pointed out, but actually a step beyond that). When we listen too much to what's going on in the world around us we will eventually fall victim to the fear mongering, which leads to hate mongering. Gandhi said: The enemy is fear. We think it is hate but it is fear. Also, there is so much discontent today that people are hurting and, another quote from an unknown source, "Hurting people hurt people." Do NOT engage in the negativity, just ignore it. Everybody has a bad day now and then. Some people have better ways of dealing with life than others but there is never a time to be mean, even though it is increasingly becoming the focus of the popular media. Thank you for your post bringing this to light and reminding us that it is always better to have faith than fear and to love than to hate.
I know right! It's sad. They have the permission to think something, but just saying stuff like "It is an utter waste of time, don't bother with it." just seems extremely rude towards the people that use it. If someone asked me "Should I learn this and that and the stuff around it?" I would just say "It's your life and your choices. I wouldn't learn it myself as I dislike this and that and the stuff around it, but it is your choice and depends on you if you will like it or not, or if it is even useful for you." and not just say "[Example of disrespectful sentences]". I always loved and love learning new languages, though I heavily focus on just one, I do not like learning like 4 languages simultaneously. It messes with my mind.
Thank you for raising this, where some might use 'again' as a reason to remove your right of expression. I am listening. And I promote action to help the tide of humanity towards, in the direction of, your last sentence.
To all who give good/not-so-good pieces of advice such as 'ignore it', 'react appropriately', 'do not feed it with attention', 'being lashed/murdered builds my character', 'just human nature', 'right to freedom of speech and freedom to bully', etc along those lines, please hear some additional thoughts if you would. I'm speaking from first-hand, second-hand, third-hand experiences and from researching/listening/thinking/learning.
1) An insect bite or fifty you can ignore(?), after ten thousand please do not advise anyone to ignore. If with no direct experience then let's exercise empathy. Please do not -only or mainly- tell a raped victim or a bullied person or social class/group to roll with the punches. Let us focus on educating the perpetrators! and on preventing the crimes.
2) Language use such as of disrespect can be more readily picked up, by those who would energetically spread it and/or act it out to harm others, than language of peace by peaceable people with peaceable even placid energy. Aggressors use weapons, villagers sing.
3) A motto of mine: "Rise above all that". Let me tell you from having risen some, for a vast number of people there can be a tsunami and world-rubbish-pile-that-we-add-to-in-physical-reality to have to rise above. Stop adding to the verbal garbage pile.
4) We could argue at length about right-wrong. I think more of consequences. Not to be dismissed (goaded?) as imagined, does not exist, etc. but consequences foreseeable or anticipated such as from history, from trends (graphs), and used for mitigation of risks. Car insurance? Hospital/medical insurance? Scenarios very very seriously studied by engineers, fire fighters, and good governments?
5) What is not generally taught is the methodology in 4). To look at what might happen (plus at what probability), trends/graphs are extended beyond the current point to find the extreme. Thinking extreme is NOT to be dismissed or ridiculed. How many people especially those 'leaders' on Earth understand basic physics and science -even as applicable to just policy decision making?
6) Let us be reminded 'The holocaust did not begin with killing, it began with words' (Source: Holocaust Museum, NY -TBC). Words that spread. Concepts that spread. Too tired of the word H-? What words have led to what, still, today! And escalating.
7) Back to languages especially the examples given in the OP. Designers and constructors, of things or of LANGUAGEs or of concepts or of summary expressions for peace principles (termed 'religions'), have had to endure persecution or also execution. The Wrights brothers (planes), astronomers (round Earth, planets, the Sun as centre) and others. [PS Please do not go into the glory of 'religion' here, as it could bring up what religious practice persecuted Galileo for speaking the evidenced-truth of science or what practitioners of what religion raided and slaughtered the native occupants or even today abuse people who look different.]
8) Sure, many things and concepts need a balance. It's a good thing to watch that balance, even roughly, and to be aware of what factors push the trends which way. The OP is helping in this way. Thank you.
9) Lastly, Duo has been socially responsible on racism and some biasses/prejudices. Thank you. Please look into other forms of word use, including in lessons, that spread disrespect leading to abuse, that are quite evident (examples would be off-topic here).
I wouldn't apologise for my post being long, or a book being extensive. The choice to read is with the free-thinking readers. And I am fine with bucking the trend that caters for phone-screen-size communication.
Why does duolingo only offer human and humanoid languages? This is discrimination against our furry companions. I'm still waiting for duolingo to add Doggish and Catanese.
Meow : Me. Now ! ie. Pay attention to Me. Now !
- Dog Barks in Different Languages
I'd like to tag onto your PSA/rant...
In response examples 1 & 2, those types of statements absolutely drive me bananas! How many cultures have we driven to the brink of or into extinction because, in the previous millennium, our ancestors thought that assimilation was the highest priority? Saving these pieces of endangered languages/cultures is so important. Even if the only preservation of a language is solely academic (Latin, anyone?!) it still holds value in teaching us about our pasts and heritage.
In response to example 3, which do you think is useful: an obscure/fictional language that may be able to connect you to someone or the lyrics of every song on your favorite album from 1994? Honestly, neither is terribly useful unless you're in very specific circumstances, but both are enjoyed by the partakers. It's a fun past-time. Let people have their fun!!
And example 4, some people think Klingon sounds barbaric/ugly. I think it sounds powerful, like a language of war. (Makes sense, right?) Some people think French is the most beautiful language to listen too.... I'll just say I don't agree. Everyone has different tastes. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!
There's no need to be disrespectful of the wants, desires, interests, languages, or cultures of others... Just be kind.
Excellent post, people need to realize the world is not just for themselves and shouldn't treat others that aren't like them poorly. I know there are a couple of native English speakers (not trying to generalize) in English speaking countries like the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia who think English is superior to other languages and demand people speak English in their countries. They don't bother to acknowledge that English borrowed words from other languages and that it only dominated the world and used in many countries because of the political and economic hegemony of British Empire and the USA. They travel to non-English speaking countries and expect services and almost everything there to be in English, and don't bother to learn the local language at the same time. On Duolingo's Facebook page some ignorant user asked why they added a Hindi course and that he has no use for it and shouldn't be there. Many people were angry and called him out.
I'm not against fictional languages and I don't believe they shouldn't be there, but I kind of disagree with example 3. People who are fans of the franchises those languages come from are the majority of the language's user base and doesn't provide value to the real world and commerce. Those languages "do" have value in the entertainment, artistic, and creativity scene but it's just that people on Duo (including myself) complain about fictional languages being prioritized over actual languages that have been in the incubator for too long and not released, and actual languages that still have no course.
Dear Nanase-Miyuki, as a UK native English speaker, I'm sorry about those who think English is superior- and that is for everyone else who has experienced that, too.
Thinking about it, I'm sorry for them, too. What a lot to miss out on. How sad. You can love your country and be loyal to it, but respect, and learn to communicate and enjoy other ones, too. In fact, you get to appreciate what is good about yours more, when you start to explore.
Unfortunately, a large section of the media here want to split people into Them and Us, and many people grow up in racism and disrespect, and just plain ignorance. It would be a good thing for us as a nation to be more aware that Anglo-Saxon is a language of immigrants... The concept that English, like a rolling snowball, has gathered bits and pieces of other languages, is, for the average person, a void- a simple lack of knowing anything about it at all. English is English and has always been English, would be the assumption...
Meeting someone nice from another country can be a turning-point. Being made aware of a racism you harbour, when you've never realised it, can be a chance to change. Working, studying and living alongside people from other countries can open people's eyes. Love and humbling are good eye-openers.
Not everyone is like that. Quite a few of my family speak another language. I know a good few Brits who speak other languages fluently, and others who are learning.
I never used to have any interest in learning another language. Things can change :-)
I hope that if I ever visited your country, that I would do my best to learn the language as well as I could in the time I had available :-)
"X is an ugly language"
The term ugly is used in the eye (or ear in this case) of the beholder, would it not?
Encourage the term or encourage the rating of someone's appearance on a scale of 1 to 10 or encourage parents/siblings/classmates/citizens to call someone or someone's revered figure ugly then what happens?
I'd say encouraging politeness in thoughts and in words would have a better outcome for any community, world size too.
I could very much agree with what you just said. Many think Korean and Japanese are the same because they are both languages primarily spoken my Asians, and we all know how people think all Asians are the same as if there are no specific countries like China, Malaysia, Korea, India, Japan, etc.
Yes, it is a problem when we base our interaction and respect for people based on what community they could be classified into, and then also seek to dehumanize that group. To not show respect, and to see anyone that is in that group as lesser than we are, or even worse. That they are "other" and lesser to "us".
And it is this ability that the human mind has to be able to do this, and then to feel justified when this is done, that autrocities can feel justified to be inflicted on people we classify in this "other" group. (note : autrocities are not justifiable, however our own mind can deceive us and we can inappropriately feel they are.)
It is important that we realize this potential that our minds have the ability to do, to trick us. And that we choose to see and respect each one of us and all of us.
That does not mean that what we do does not have consequences. And here, while we are a fully open community, actions do have consequences. I am constantly thankful we also have the guidelines for this community.
I think that members of this community, being interested in language use, can greatly help the world community by spreading the understanding and by reducing the careless use of such words (in reference to the OP of this thread) as 'Asians', 'Africans', 'the West', 'Americans', 'primitive/barbarian/minority', and such likes, to mean what they definitely do not represent.
It might bot be a complete waste but it can still be an inefficient use of time.
Some languages are more useful than others for a given person. It's not disrespect to acknowledge this.
NathanielW137190, Words like "useful" are subjective. To becoming meaningful, the question must become "useful for what?" many people who are saying "Esperanto is a waste of time. Learn Chinese instead." Are assuming that what they find useful or a good use of time is the same as the person's they are critiquing. If we don't ask "useful for what", then all things anyone could do with their time are then in competition with say, learning Chinese. "Learning Chinese" can then be pitted against "performing brain surgery", "spending time with my children", "breathing".
Somebody who learns Esperanto may not have the same goal as someone learning Chinese. And, if that goal is not the same, any arguments against Esperanto are not based on relevant substance.
If I may add, 'useful to whom?' In many discussions it seems as if a person giving a statement bases their view on 'to us as representative of or as the centre of the world'. To illustrate by a similar example, in a global communication, quite regularly a person in a big('ish) city just mentions their suburb or town or area (where locality is relevant) without even stating in what State or what country.
It's not necessarily the opinion that's disrespectful, so much as the presentation. If someone didn't like the idea of interracial relationships and said to me, "I don't agree with that type of relationship. You both seem like nice people, but I'd prefer not to spend time with the two of you together," I'd have much more respect for that than if they just came up and started yelling about how my marriage is disgusting and we're both going to burn for eternity.
It's the same with the how people approach the subjects here. Maybe someone thinks a certain language is a waste of their own time, but they don't have to demean others for being interested or be condescending. A simple, "That language isn't used very much compared to language x and language y, so I decided to go with language y instead. But to each his own. We all have our own reasons for the languages we chose." That's way different than, "Yeah, if you want to waste your time."
Some things are disrespectful/negatively impacting no matter the tone used.
For instance, if someone were openly against interracial relationships, I have zero respect for them and would offer them no platform on which to share their view. They aren't just sharing an opinion. An opinion is whether one likes herbal tea or black tea. That person who is "against interracial relationships", once they've stated it, it's an agenda. They are advertising their views over how things ought to be for other people's relationships.
Their expression of such is a form of social negotiation. To negotiate is to move towards a desired goal, an agenda basically. If their agenda is supported by enough people with the authority to implement policy, their agenda is elevated to policy. Policy isn't about opinion, it is about enforcement.
If these people didn't want to advocate their views, they'd keep it to themselves and simply not choose to have an interracial relationship for their own life.
So yeah, advocating for policies to keep people from having interracial relationships, no matter the tone, not only earns zero respect from me, I'd boycott their business if they had one.
To break this down into Roo thoughts :
- a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
- items, such as opinions, are put up for discussion and movement towards a desired goal. A way to advocate concepts and advance them towards creating standards/policy.
That person who is "against interracial relationships", once they've stated it, it's an agenda. They are advertising their views over how things ought to be for other people's relationships. - Usagiboy7
- a set of ideas or plans that is used as a basis for making decisions.
All interesting perspectives when also viewed through the discussion that is lively in and around Australia, regarding the lines and effects of Hate speech. (especially in the light of recent events that occurred by an Australian individual in New Zealand. Please do not elaborate on this incident here - though it has been fulcrum to assist in focusing discussions on this issue in this part of the world.)
Including the impact of social interactions between a free for all (here you could read "freedom of speech") where those with greater ability/resources/force to subdue (or worse) the rights of others, against holding respect and rights for all of us as a community.
Compared to a policy of allowing respect and space for each individual to be valued - with greater equality. Through an act of policy and societal norms. With the aim of not setting the rights of one above the other, providing the rule of mutual respect for all, for example, is actively observed.
Which at its core I see is seeking to show kindness and respect to all - each one of us - and for the benefit of all of us - our world wide community.
Edited: yet that means that in communities that seek to show respect to all, that expression of certain opinions is not acceptable, in order to uphold a safe community, where all can participate and I hope even more than that.
That each one of us is welcomed, and seek to welcome each other one of us. Yet at times, this means it is appropriate that we choose to not interact (i.e. do not reply to inappropriate comments) when certain inappropriate opinions and ideas are expressed, and to report them, where it is appropriate.
Thank you, again, Usagiboy7. Your professional and worldly understanding with experiences, your expressive use of language, and your standing up!!, have all been really helpful, not just for a few, I'm sure. Sometimes, many times in recent years, standing up to the many escalating issues has become like standing up or keeping afloat or lung bursting against the tsunami-size onslaught.
So yes, your posts and others' on this thread give some oxygen. Importantly, a CLARITY of the issues (words: opinion vs agenda, platform, policy, enforcement) and what stance one can take.
May you feel super strong and perhaps give us some much needed cheery threads with cartoons :-)
Hope you keep well.
AndesSky, thank you also for this comment, and the clarity it also assists myself with.
And yes, I also agree with you about your comments re Usagi with their :
professional and worldly understanding with experiences, your expressive use of language, and your standing up!!
I continually also learn more through the input of Usagi in fields like this, and I am am never-endingly thankful that they are part of our world wide community.
Just real quick to Usagiboy7 to say that I read and appreciated many of your recent comments. I read them in notifications because this thread is getting hard to follow - so I hope you didn't make any stunning edits after the fact. :-)
@salivanto, I have a terrible habit of editing things a few times after I post them. No matter how much a I read over them before posting, I often notice more things after posting. So, it's possible and even likely that I edited it after you read it in your notifications ^^; I hope you will still appreciate the final draft, however. I'm glad you found even the first draft useful though!
Wow, people ACTUALLY think that some languages should die off ?? I - I don't even have words for this.
This triggers me to a non-return point. Probably because of how passionate I am when it comes to languages. If I could, I would learn every fridging language in the world - it's just so fascinating, how much you can learn about a specific culture just by learning its language !! (Well, of course, I can't really try to do that - I think I could only know three languages at most, including my first language.) And then there's these freakin' disrespectful people, who apparently can't even understand the simple fact that they're talking about real people's culture.
I'm not sure they would be happy if I said that English should die off, no matter what are my reasons. :)
We are a diverse community, is mankind.
With a vast gamit of different ideas on things. And also of motivations and history.
Yet your views, -yastork, imo, especially among this community whose main focus is seeking to learn another language would be the most common, if a true poll was taken. So do not doubt, you are not alone in your view in the importance of language.
Yet we are an open community. And thus also there are those that seek to express other opinions. And it can be by hearing and investigating other opinions in a respectful way, we also learn more about our own. In a way, this is also one of the great benefits of learning another language. That we then also learn more about our own.
I feel by your writing, that you are not discouraged by these contrary ideas that some are throwing up. And I wish to assure you, I also am not discouraged.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns on this issue.
I agree with you, and I never disrespect languages and think it is cool when someone likes to learn. It is nice to have a message board here to talk to people about languages occasionally. I do not have a lot in common with a lot of people and most people I know personally do not like to learn languages like me. I have studied languages on my own before Duolingo, and I love this site. I studied Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the grammar and also wanted to learn Coptic but never got around to it. People would probably say that is pointless.
If someone wants a course to be added to Duolingo, they should apply to contribute for it if they speak it. They should also look for (other) people who speak the language who are willing to contribute to a Duolingo course for it. Look at how quickly the Latin course is moving! If that happened with every course, we would get new ones all the time!
I wish to learn Breton.
Which means i do not speak it, nor do i know anyone that speaks it. This is a language that is relatively close to where i live, i would only have to cross two borders to get there.
For others, who might wish to learn a language that happens to be spoken on the other side of the planet the problems increase exponentially.
Many people had Latin in school, therefore it's no wonder that that course moves so quickly.
Liking some languages & wishing you could learn them is something that should be natural to express on a freaking language learning site, not shamed.
I don't speak Liki, but maybe I want it made. Only 5-11 people speak Liki, it isn't a major language like Latin, and virtually nothing is known about it. So wheres my Liki course? It doesn't matter if its a 'language' or not, sometimes things just aren't practical, maybe I can express how much I like Liki, but that doesn't mean a course should be made, and I think it would be a bit reckless to make a course for it.
Now if 10 Liki speakers showed up and said 'We want to make a course' then I'd say go for it! But since no one has I think it would be a tad bit of a waste to try to track people down to make it.
Just my two cents
And I am with you. And if there are people who speak Liki, or any other language, they are very welcome to create resources in our Duolingo forums so that people can access the information they share.
And hopefully when a course is able to be created, these additional resources could also be very advantageous, while also being available now to support learning these languages.
If people are interested in doing this, it would be worthwhile to check out https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28284738/GUIDE-Formatting-in-Duolingo. And also create a reference post that links many discussions together. You can add pictures, and also sound files to your resources as well. Also to use resources such as https://tinycards.duolingo.com. Or links to other resources that are available at no cost of people to learn the target language.
WinterSoldier , I do not know Liki. Also I am learning and supporting many other languages here, which are the ones that are currently on my desk and in my interest.
Thank you for this invitation though.
I do hope if others have competency in other languages, including also the valued language of Breton that Leafhuntress has mentioned, I hope they may take up this challenge.
@daKanga, yes, if you want to create a Liki course then go for it, but I see no reason why duo should make a Liki course otherwise.
Apart from the initial set of languages, to the best of my knowledge Duolingo courses are made by volunteers. Duolingo only provides the underlying tech required to make it possible.
It is more than a tad much more complex than that.
Sorry for not having the time and mind space to go into it.
Duo has, at my last count, just over about 100 people. And very few of them are involved in marketing. The vast majority are either language experts and/or computer experts. Do not doubt also the support the courses have from professionals as well.
Yet at the same time do not underestimate the countless hours contributed by volunteers, in a multiplying effect for the content in the over 100 courses that Duolingo offers. For paid professionals to produce, and then also maintain over 100 courses, would take certainly more than a mere work force of a bit over 100 people.
You might also be interested in: http://making.duolingo.com/
Philosophy, check! Geography check! English, check! Religious studies, check!.... Watch your comments, check!... Revision completed - could be useful if you add some biology too ;) ^ And relax guys, my lingots are flying.
"Thanks for listening", let me have a moment to think about that quotation...
"X is a primitive/barbarian/ugly language" The reason I've always wanted to learn Czech, is because of its "ugliness". Let's be honest, Slavic languages aren't known for their beauty, but for me that's what it makes them desirable.
"Klingon, Quenya, High Valyrian, Na'vi etc. are stupid and for nerds" We're all nerds here on Duolingo aren't we? And being a nerd doesn't have to be a negative stamp.
I'm sure those who disrespect languages, have never tried to learn one. They don't know the feeling that embraces you when you finally get the hang of a language.
I started learning Czech like 2 months ago and I remember how jubilant I was when I understood how the words' end change depending on what gender the noun after them is. Although I had to stop because I was taking an English exam, but now after taking the exam, here I am to continue learning Czech! :)
I genuinely don't think I have seen a single example of what OP describes in my entire time on Duolingo. Can you link some examples ?
I don't think I could find them very easily but I've seen at least some of these here, and in unofficial Duolingo groups on Facebook. (I'm in the Esperanto, Spanish, Russian, German and Indonesian groups)
Ahh - thank you for this information. I have done a search in the Duolingo forums you mention above, and to date I have not been able to locate the ones you mention above. This is not to say that they were not posted, and have been attended to. Nor that I may have not been successful at picking them up.
edited : Also to encourage each of us to follow the advice in Report Abuse, and to send in a detailed report, including the link to the Duolingo discussion in question.
If they were on unofficial Facebook groups, I would encourage you to send a message to the administrators of the particular Facebook pages, to let them know. And encourage the administrators to take action. If they choose not to, in certain circumstances it could be very advisable to report this to Facebook. Especially at the moment I have noticed Facebook has taken an added interest to insure inappropriate activities do have repercussions to the posters in Facebook. *IMO.
And if we assist them also to remain interested in the value of this for these communities, perhaps this will continue to improve other shared communities that we as individuals interact with.
edited: I did this search on all Duolingo forums from the source language of English about 13 hours ago, soon after you put this post up. And later today, I will do another cross check on these searches.
Please also note, I am a volunteer here. I seek to do what is best - and in accord with my responsibilities as a moderator here. However I will at times make comments In My Opinion. And my comments especially about Facebook above are IMO.
The Esperanto thing isn't on the forums, but something that most who are learning it will get irl.
I've seen quite a bit of "we can't save every language" & "that language isn't important enough" with regard to minority language requests. As someone who'd love to see Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Breton, Cornish & Frysian courses i find that type of behaviour highly annoying.
This is a language learning site, such requests should be welcomed, not shamed.
I think he said that it IS on the forums. Certainly it came up a few times in this very thread. (The posts in question may have been removed - but I've saved the notifications.)
A few years ago there were a few (2-3 IIRC) users who specifically did this on the forums for a few days until they (I suppose) got booted. I saw this more as a couple of kids with too much free time on their hands than anything else. They seemed to randomly target any language.
And of course, let's not forget that these things are not necessarily said here on Duolingo. It could be stuff that OP has heard in other circles and is simply reporting here.
We as a community seek to build a mutual understanding of what being a part of this community is all about.
To be a safe place that all, everyone of us, can learn another language.
Also as a sub note, I have done a summary scan for these examples still existing in our forums, and have been unable to locate them. This does not mean they are not there, nor were not there, but could be an indication that issues have been attended to.
Please note, discussion of languages and Duolingo issues are very appropriate in our forums. Even when they are disparaging to Duolingo. Talking about concepts related to language and Duolingo issues is supported. However issues need to be expressed in line with our guidelines, and about the issues. Not against communities, nor directed to individuals. For example, what is not allowed is emotive put downs of a language and the communities who speak or learn that language. )
"Hey, should I learn Esperanto?" "Only if you want to waste your time, nobody speaks it". --- This is a valid argument, though.
I would not call that a valid argument without much more clarification. I would call it an opinion, that is narrowly defined, has false facts, and therefore an ill advice.
If someone asked me I would find out first what some of the things they might be interested in in learning a language are. Even without that information I would frame my answers around these:
1) It was created for the purpose of ---, therefore some of it's features for communication are---. Its history is quite interesting.
2) It is a purposely designed language therefore it is of interest to people interested in language constructs, even if casually. And even if linguists and enthusiasts do not develop it further, the study can lead to a better design of another language. Just like designing vehicles.
3) AFAIK, a number of people, about ---, speak it worldwide and there are meetings, local and international, for practising conversations.
4) I would say that I don't know about ---.
5) [Edit: I might add that what I don't like about it is ---.]
Some of these also apply to other conlangs and, separately, fictional languages. I would not recommend judging another person's or groups' interest as a waste of time. It's their interests and their time. They make their decision, I can only offer pros/cons/info, just what I know.
If they are my friends I would not shake head, tease, goad, ridicule; I would fully support them in whatever decision or exploration they make. I would/could also learn from them.
All that, of course, is just my opinion :-)
Ocelot79 copied a line of text, added six words, and got you to write well over 6 paragraphs.
We'll see if your effort will generate a thoughtful reply from Ocelot79 or anybody else. My sense is that some so-called arguments are jot worth responding to.
LOL I did think about that. Decided I wasn't writing to, for, or because of just one person. I hope some aspects may be useful even if indirectly. And if someone corrects my info, great too. Thanks, salivanto.
If I were to reply, I would focus on the "nobody speaks it" comment. Indeed, the biggest detail that you left out of your reply is that Esperanto has been the living language of the Esperanto community for over 130 years. It has been in constant daily use that whole time. It just simply isn't true that "nobody speaks it."
While there is often an overlap in interest between Esperanto and Conlangs, many (most?) conlangers have no interest in Esperanto. Most Esperanto speakers have no interest in conlangs. People who get into Esperanto and stay involved generally get into it for people. If someone thinks people are a waste of time, I give up.
Good info, made it educational for here -just as conversations teach without going to read up and could initiate further reading up. True, I failed to lead from history to continuing. On the current interests, not only that I couldn't speak for the crowd but for me I didn't want to use many/most as it could be along the line as used for an argument that many/most in the world don't speak it then a false conclusion that therefore of little worth. I support Duo and the community. BTW Esperanto and some indigenous languages are of high interest to me, partly from the general linguistic and community aspects. Thanks truly for the educating.
Speaking of conlangs, I'm expecting Sindarin to be added. Though, currently having no time for it hehe - I didn't even finish High Valyrian yet.
When i joined i was quite suprised that Klingon & valyrian were on here but none of the LotR languages.
There's a difference between "being mocked" and simply giving your opinion (especially if someone asked for your opinion).
Not to disrespect anyone, but some of those things put in a respectful manner can be true
I haven't seen a lot of what you're talking about or only in very small quantities.
The only thing that I can say that goes against that is the fictional languages. I just happen to be part of the minority that doesn't support these fictional languages. I just don't think they are that necessary. I get that fans of the films or books might really be interested in it but I feel that real languages seem to be much more important.
And RadioScotch, that is a valid view to have.
Yet it is also a valid view to have, and even more so than that, to see the intrinsic value that con-languages also provide, on a variety of fronts.
And it is mature to show respect to the people for whom con-languages provide this good and intrinsic value to.
You do not need to change your opinions. And it is valued in this community if you show respect to others. And I as I defend the rights of those who hold and experience value in con-languages, I also with as much gusto defend your valid view that languages that are not con-languages are more important. And also to discuss why this is. Yet to do it in such a way that you talk about languages, and not attribute slights to the people and communities for whom there is obvious and accessible value for them with con-languages.
Thank you for being a valued member of our language learning community.
Exactly!! I hate that the second I tell people/friends that I'm learning German for law school, they always say 'why are you learning German, shouldn't you learn Spanish?' No. and also people making fun of the languages you learn is so rude!!!!!!!! I hate that since my history teacher found out I'm learning German that he now tries to say whatever words he knows in German during my class with him. (he can't pronounce anything correctly because I think he just uses google translate)
For me, it helps me understand these (especially Ex. 4) by putting myself in the mind of a conqueror. I invade some country. The first impression that I have of the indigenous people is of a bunch of barbarians who can't organize/communicate with/civilize themselves to beat me. Then, I realize: what if they do end up proving capable of organizing/communicating with/civilizing themselves to form a successful revolt? In order to prevent this from happening, I proceed to attempt to stamp out their culture and language, so that they will then assimilate to my culture/language. It may not be good ethics, and might be a little racist, but it's good conquering strategy.
Languages are great. Leave it to real people to learn them. Bots pretending to be human are not
Well honestly, I do feel learning High Valyrian is stupid, especially when there are so many much more interesting endangered languages out there.