Saturday, May 10, 2014

Resurgence of Suppressed Languages and Separate Identitites in Europe

Skip ahead to the 12 minute mark if you want to avoid Chomsky's pro-communist hobbyhorse about Cuba and Russia. At minute 13 he starts talking about language.

"The prestigious American linguist, Noam Chomsky, uses Catalonia’s efforts to revive a threatened language as an example of the struggle of a people against state imperialism. Chomsky made the point last month in a "Talk to Google" conversation at Google's offices in Cambridge, MA, in which he pointed out that Catalonia will hold a referendum in order to decide between autonomy and independence. The conversation had slipped under the radar until the daily Ara reported on it today.
"There's a referendum coming up in Catalonia, another one in Scotland, asking about autonomy or independence. That's dissolving the European state system, something that has just been going on for a while, and reconstructing the languages.

"I visited Barcelona in the late seventies. You couldn't hear a word of Catalan. It was spoken, but in secret, because under the dictatorship, which the US backed, it was barred. Ten years later, if you go to Catalonia, all you hear is Catalan. It revived. The Basque language has revived. Other regional languages are reviving. If you walk around Wales, kids that are walking out of school are talking Welsh. Things like this are happening. The ?? achievement was unique. But it's kind of a natural development, I think that should be stimulated myself.

"We should recognize that there is enormous loss when the cultural wealth of a society disappears and that's encapsulated crucially in its language."

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(Src: VilaWeb - News from Catalonia)

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