Language, Truth, and Logic: was Social Security, etc.

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Actually, "Language, Truth and Logic" is a fairly interesting book by A.J. Ayer, who chose to discuss the elimination of Metaphysics from certain levels of argumentation.
It may or may not have a true bearing on the argument which has been going on in the referenced thread. I will leave that to you, after you have carefully considered the merits of the book.
A cogent point, though, is that Nations do not survive the dissolution of their language base.
Rome declined more so on the lack of common language than from the assaults from the Goths.
China, prior to the unification under the Chin's was enfeebled by a lack of common language; solved by the introduction of Mandarin as the point of commonality which could be written, albeit not universally spoken.
The use of language as a tool of either unification or subjugation is written throughout history.
The Germans would not be called so, were it not for the forced unification of language under the unification of the principalities.
England, under Cromwell, thought so highly of the concept of national language as to forbid its use in Ireland; thus eliminating a State, Nation, and Culture in one blow.
To introduce a current reference; Canada suffers, almost to the point of dismemberment, from the existence of two strong language/culture bases within her confines.
The United States of America, which I truly believe was intended, and continues to intend, the assimilation of all cultures into its weave, must not confuse inclusion with assimilation.
We must include with the intention to assimilate. We must maintain our Nationhood, according to the accepted definition of same, as involving a unity of Culture, Policy and Language.
The move to teach those whom we would seek to include, in a language other than the core language of the culture, is misguided. It has the potential to ghettoize those whom we would seek to help.
We speak English because it was the dominant language of the time of the incorporation into what has become the United States of America.
It really is that simple.
English should not become the Mandarin of the USA.
It should not be only the cognoscenti who can speak the lingua franca - it must be the general citizenry - or the whole experiment is finished.
And, it is a grand experiment. And, I believe it is not finished.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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Hi Tom,
Love your woodworking, but disagree here.
My grandparents came over in a boat around 1910. Their assimilation was based on language. They did it and passed it along - I think that the common language determines the general path of the country.
If, for example, 50+% were speaking Mandarin (to use your example) would we still be "American?"
Personally, I don't think it's an experiment - more like common sense (road signs, airports, newspapers...)
Hope you are still enjoying your "retirement".
Go Eagles!
Lou
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As a Canadian I take issue with this statement. It shows a severe lack of understanding of what we sometimes call our "two solitudes" and is apparently used only as a literary device in your post.
You know not of what you speak, sir. Canada doesn't suffer from the existence of French and English languages. Canada suffers only from the perfidy of her politicians and academics who use the language issue for personal gain.
Much as the USA suffers from the perfidy of her politicians who play race issues for the same goals.
As for the USA speaking English, you don't travel much, do you? Perhaps in your houses of government, and your courts, but the people of the USA speak many, many more languages than English.
djb
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Dave Balderstone wrote:

I think Tom may have over-stated the Canadian dismemberment case, but as one who spent many vacations in Quebec, mid to llate 60s, while the mailbox bombings were going on, I believe that at least at that point cultural differences (including language) came very close to creating what the Separatists wanted.
Sure, people throughout the U.S. speak many languages. That isn't the point. The point is that a single language is needed for coherence in everything from a file clerk's life to an understanding of legal terms (as hard as the lawyers try to twist those). I don't believe I've ever heard anyone deny the existence of other languages in the U.S., nor the importance of the speakers to this country, but the fact remains, efficiency and comfort are both improved if all 285 million people speak, or at least understand and can make themselves understood in, a primary language. Obviously, that goal is never 100% met for a variety of reasons, but it's an important aim, and one that preceding generations of immigrants accepted. The neighborhood social clubs provided the overall cultural protection, the protected heritage if you wish, such immigrants needed, while the people themselves worked to better their understanding of the language and culture they had recently entered.
Immigrants of all kinds are essential to the U.S. They always have been. Immigrants shift cultural emphasis, while providing a driving (or driven) work ethic that sometimes seems to have died out in groups that have been here a few generations. They tend to be willing to take jobs that are not pleasing to longer term residents, and to work especially hard at those jobs so that they can advance to something better as quickly as possible. Learning a new language is part of that work. Not much is really handed out to most immigrants, as they work very hard for what they get, but what they get is dozens or even scores of times better than what they could possibly have got had they not become immigrants.
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I think there will be... It'll be Spanish! :)
Glad I paid attention to those classes in School!
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On Thu, 22 Sep 2005 17:50:05 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm,

Spanish or Chinese (probably Mandarin). Hold on, folks. we're due for a large change RSN. Gotcher BOB? (Bug-out bag, a thing which would have saved most of the folks in the evacuations lately but which nobody had, 'cept the Survivalists in the group.)
Google it and MAKE ONE TOMORROW if you don't already have one. One per person. Just Do It!
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Charlie Self wrote:

An interesting example given that many, legal terms of art are Latin, not English, and aren't several others, like _cease and desist_ bilingual, combining Anglo-Saxon and Norman French words? Seems to be the case that the language of law, like most tech-speak, is mulitlingual.
--

FF


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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Seems that the roots of English are Latin, plus Germanic languages. Much base on the Romance languages, which are all based on Latin. English is a polyglot language, as odd as that sounds. No one has gone to the goofy extremes the French tried to use for years to keep their language pure. Of course, that led to such wonders as Ebonics, but...that doesn't mean we should abandon what we've got as if a boat were sinking under us, simply to ease the life of a few intellectually lazy newcomers. Or oldtimers.
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Charlie Self wrote:

That's all true, but it's still *English* - a distinct language in its own right. One of the standard tactics of the Multiculturalists is to engage in linguistic deconstruction and argue that since the parts of English come from all over the planet, we should embrace all the root languages as well. This is nonsense (as is all deconstructionist theory).
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Charlie Self wrote:

When I was in school we were taught that English had its roots in the Germanic languages of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who displaced the earlier Celtic populations pushing them (and their languages) back into Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. The English words with Latin origins almost all came in with the Norman French.
English is not a Romance Language. It is a Germanic language with Romance influences.
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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 22:20:41 -0600, Dave Balderstone

It is my understanding that the referendum of 1995 missed passage by less than one percent.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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And the result of the election in the US which elected GWB for the first time passed was decided by what percentage?
But that's irrelevant. The referendum you refer to was held *in Quebec* and not *in Canada*. There were 9 provinces and three territories where no votes were cast becuase it was a *PROVINCIAL* referendum.
Even if the referendum had passed in Quebec, it would have been the same situation as if Rhode Island, Texas, or California voted to secede from the union.
*Canada* was not split by less than one percent in the 1995 referendum, Tom. One province of Canada was. Had it been a national referendum the question on Quebec separation would been defeated by a massive majority.
But don't let facts get in the way of a good story, right?
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Dave Balderstone wrote:

By a single vote. GWB won 5 to 4.
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Which says little out of the context of the referendum question and the intended outcome. Support for separatism goes up and down with the economy. Modern young Quebeckers are less separatist than their parents. They are also more likely to be bi- or multilingual.
Only Americans have a serious obsession with monolingualism. In other countries, speaking more than one language isn't such a big deal.
Mike
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Dave Balderstone wrote:

As a former Canadian, I'll take the other side of this one. It is certainly the case that language has been a politically convenient football in Canada. But it is also quite apparent that the jamming of French down the throats of Western Canadians (from whence I spring) was and is a point of real contention. It is hardly the case that bilingualism was embraced widely and without rancor - so much so it had to be *forced* by government upon the population as a whole to serve a fairly small minority of French speakers.

And you miss the point entirely. Those of us who support English as the "official" language of the land have no desire to enforce this at the point of the government gun in the *private* sector. Individuals and business should remain free to speak and work in as many or few languages as they wish. No one is going to try and make Kanye West to rap in standard English, for instance.
The issue is what the language of *government* ought to be. It is fundamentally absurd to envision government documents, websites, and offices arrayed in every language spoken in this land of immigrants. Enforcing a common language across the land would simplify the already-bloated government, encourage immigrants to assimilate, and generally make for more efficient disposition of government business. To Tom's original point, our "language base" is English - it doesn't matter how politically incorrect this seems to some - it was the language of our founders, the language of subsequent law, the language with which immigrants for most of our history assimilated and so forth.
The Diversity Police (aka "The Looney Left") confuse "open arms" with "arms tied behinds our backs" and they are dead wrong. The multi-culturalism hogwash that eminates from these people has done no end of harm both to the existing population and the newly emmigrated. I don't care even slightly what languages are spoken or used in private discourse, but it offends me deeply that the government I pay for wastes time and money on this issue.
P.S. When I became a US citizen, even though I was a Canadian by birth, I had to demonstrate English fluency. I heartily endorse this for all future immigrants regardless of their nation of origin.
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I think you're saying what I'm saying.
Language in Canada (and I grew up in Winnipeg, lived in Halifax, Vancouver, Edmonton and currently reside in Saskatoon) is a political issue, used by politicians.
There are French speaking people across western Canada, as well you know.
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Dave Balderstone wrote:

Well, there are now, anyway ;)
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Don't know your history?
Start with Batoche... then move in any direction.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

You're missing the point. One has to consider cost vs consequence. Consider, for example, if it would be preferable to adopt an English-only approach to educate the Vietnamese immigrant community about asian bird flue. The short term consequences of such an approach might be limited to a few dead immigrants, a cost I daresay most English-only advocates would find acceptable since neither they nor anyone they know, or at rate care about would be paying it. The long term cost could easily be tens of millions of dead Americans without regard to what language they spoke.
It is easy to say , "Well of course we'll make exceptions when it's THAT important." But the fact is that the fewer exceptions one makes, the harder it becomes to make any at all.

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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

This is usual Collectivist dreck of "the good of the group demands it" and it is bogus. It presumes some natural right of citizens or immigrants to travel anywhere they wish without any thought to the risk they bring to other citizens. As a general matter, people *ought* to be free to do pretty much anything they like so long as they do not harm others thereby. But the limit to this freedom is reached when a person's action harms others or places them at risk. The more direct solution has nothing to do with language at all. When faced with the treat of, say, Asian bird flu, disallow travel to and from the countries in question.
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