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  1. #41
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    When I went to Newfoundland, back to my g-g-g-grandmother's little town, it was very strange. There were some pronounciations, expressions or ways of speaking that I recognized from my own grandmother, but had no idea where they had come from. It was like finding a little piece of me and I liked that.
    Newfoundland is really interesting. I've heard a lot of people (including Canadians) say they can't understand Newfie accents. I, however, can understand it completely since it sounds like Irish blended with a Canadian accent. In fact, some of their expressions still exist in English now, or at least their sentence structure.

    It's interesting to note that Celtic nations (like Ireland and Scotland) have a tendancy to put things in the future or the conditional tense where it would be in the present tense in RP. For example, instead of saying "Ah, so you're from America?" they might say "Ah, so you'll be coming from America, then?" (Scottish) or "Ah, so you would be from America, then?" (Irish) I'm not sure why this occurs, but I suppose that it's linked to the underlying grammar of the indigenous language.

    As an aside, I think there exists a curious valourisation of "ancestors". I mean, Irish legacy is partciuarly reverenced in some areas of the US, for example, but not all of the immigrants were good people. Some of them were lazy, feckless and petty criminals. My point is that just because you're family came from somewhere in the world, that doesn't make it "good". It's nonsensical to think that way.
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  2. #42
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I agree and I have heard a ridiculous amount of people idealizing certain types of ancestry when I believe if they really met those people, they would be less likely to want to claim it. Generally, I'm very glad that I was born on this side of the water. I think that it was healthy for both the attributes and the drawbacks of a bunch of cultures to get shaken up together.

    When I was growing up, I heard my grandparent's generation and even my parent's often make negative generalizations about certain cultures which they had grown up near. At first I thought this was kind of mean, but as I've actually interacted more extensively with various groups of people, I can see that there is a reason why those stereotypes arose. I think that when everyone first came over, they were pretty undiluted versions of all of those traits. There were a lot of very arrogant English, tight Ukranians, blunt Germans, etc. I think that intermarriage and even exposure to each other has softened some of those qualities.

    I find it interesting reading the books by English sisters Susannah Moody and Catherine Parr Trail, which describe their experiences in the early 1800s settling Ontario. It was obvious that at that time there was still a strong class system in the old country and now in the new country those roles were somewhat reversed. Irish had a chance to be equals instead of servants and they could have their choice of employer, as their skills were the ones that held more value than what many of their former employers brought with them. Servants were no longer willing to eat at a separate table and be treated as second class. At the same time, from her descriptions, it was obvious that the education etc that was needed if they wanted to truly be on an equal social strata had not changed yet. I had never really thought about social class much until reading a book about a woman during WWII in Germany who was not able to marry the man she loved because he was of a higher class than her and his parents opposed the marriage. It never really occurred to me until then that the same trends that happened in North America did not occur in Europe until considerably later.

    Where my mum was growing up there were people who had owned large estates in Russia and never worked but had to flee the Revolution, Ukranian peasants, English who had had servants, English who didn't have a hope of getting land at home and wanted opportunity, Irish who had been rich in the old country, Irish who had come over during the potato famine and slowly made their way west over several generations, a Swiss family, Scottish from Nova Scotia looking to get out of mining and sailing etc. English still held the most social power, but out of necessity, these people rubbed shoulders with each other, were neighbours, helped each other out, and their children went to school together. It's taken until my generation though for some of the disadvantaged groups descendants to have gained enough social and economic equality to proudly claim their heritage and want to learn their language.

    I think in situations where a group was disadvantaged but it has been a comfortable number of generations back (such as with Irish or Italian), it is easier for people to end up romanicizing it because they are comfortably distanced from interaction with the negative aspects of that culture and the reasons that some of those negative stereotypes sprung up originally.

  3. #43
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I think it's fun and interesting to hear family stories, where my grandparents and great-grandparents came from, how they got here (USA), what life was like, the jobs they had, how they survived difficult times, how my family got to where we are today.
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  4. #44
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    We (the British) sometimes make jokes about this very phenomenon. It's considered a very American concern.

    In England, your "lineage" is generally considered to go back to your grandparents. So, for example, if your grandparents are Italian (like mine), people might say I'm half-Italian. However, I would always call myself English (if in Britain) and British (if elsewhere). If people make a comment about it, then I'll tell them, but it's not at all imperative.

    It strikes me as ridiculous and I'm at a loss to understand why Americans do it. The Italian-American community bears little resemblance at all to the original Italian community. Being loud and eating a lot does not "make you Italian", so to speak. I can only suppose they call themselves "Italian-American" as a way to create a culture in a country that has/had none; I imagine it's the same for other communities. There exists a concept of "The American Dream" yet everyone seems bent on not being American, unless someone suggests they are un-American, at which point they become super-American.

    It's all very odd.
    It's the same here, you'ld say I am half-british or jokinjgly I am a quarter british but any ancestry beyond that is normally limited to your inner circle of family and you'ld only tell friends if they'ld ask for it.

    I actually like the american way to keep track of their heritage, it forms a closer bond with europeans and doesnt alienate the two.

    When I learned about WWII in class in school back then in the days and the long warmongering "tradition" of my country, I was convinced for many years to one day leave this country and to change my nationality. To me until today, it's captivating and terrifieing at the same time when I try to understand what the society back then moved to go so far as they did. It has escaped my grasp to understand it until today and tho I am trieing to imagine over and over again what I would have done back in the time, I cant find my place, I do not find a solution to the question "What the fuck, why ?".

    Then I read one day that out of 70 million people living in Germany 5.3 million, back then in the time before 1933, made it to America. They just did go. This are roughly 7,6 % of the overall population and it gave me hope that obviously not everyone was stupid back then. And seeing what they and other immigrants build of the United States nowadays makes me feel proud a bit for my heritage.

    I dunno, it's a complicated and emotionally twisted thing to be german, tho nowadays you already can be proud again of who you are. Still I dont know if I will ever be able to forgive my ancestors to care enough for them to trace back my heritage. So far for a german normally your lineage ends 1950 and starts again 1920. I am glad my grandparents were only age 12 and 16 when WWII ended, if it had been anything else, I dont know if I had ever spoken a word with them.
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  5. #45
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    In some regards I think this has resulted in a fairly apathetic, unpatriotic country ...
    Wow, that seems like a pretty big generalization ... as a Canadian currently living in the US, being here has made me even more aware of how proud most Canadians are to be Canadian. You see citizens of Canada as being unpatriotic? How so? What behaviour illustrates to you that people are not patriotic?

    Do I think people (especially young people) take living in a peaceful country of democracy, equal rights and opportunity for granted? Absolutely. But is this the same as being unpatriotic?

    Granted, I come from an area of Canada where there's a prominence of military service, so perhaps that is why I don't see a lack of patriotism per se the same as you do. Still, I am interested to hear your thoughts.

    Unlike the United States, Canada was established as a colony of Great Britain and even though it is considered a distinct country now, it still has maintained its ties to Britain.
    Well, ... what became the US were all colonies of Britain as well ... 13 to be exact. I know you probably do know this, but the statement above doesn't reflect that. British colonies declaring independence in 1776 were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

    Took almost 100 years for the colonies of British North America remaining loyal to the crown to become Canada (1876) ... and certainly I agree that our ties to Britain shape our cultural identity even to this day.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Many of the people my age don't even know the lyrics to our anthem ...
    I believe the anthem is still played every morning in school, and was for your generation too, so how many people do you think really don't know the words? What percentage? "Many" is too vague for me ... and sounds like some sort of majority, which would surprise me. lol I see too many people singing during the hockey games to believe it! Lots of folks I know can sing it in French too ... although I can get a bit mixed up singing it in French myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I find it interesting reading the books by English sisters Susannah Moody and Catherine Parr Trail, which describe their experiences in the early 1800s settling Ontario.
    Yes, they are very illuminating books, and a great contribution to understanding a piece of our heritage.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  6. #46
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    People care about this so much in the US, for the same reason we're so religious over here - we're desperately starving for any sense of community and belonging in our privatized, commodified lives.

  7. #47
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    It's interesting to note that Celtic nations (like Ireland and Scotland) have a tendancy to put things in the future or the conditional tense where it would be in the present tense in RP. For example, instead of saying "Ah, so you're from America?" they might say "Ah, so you'll be coming from America, then?" (Scottish) or "Ah, so you would be from America, then?" (Irish) I'm not sure why this occurs, but I suppose that it's linked to the underlying grammar of the indigenous language.
    Yes, most likely that is the case. Since there is no direct translation for "yes" and "no" in Irish, you hear Irish people sometimes carry that into their use of English. For example to the question "Are you going to work today?" The answer might be "I am" instead of "yes" because retition of the verb in question in the 1st person is how you'd answer that question in Irish Gaelic.

    As an aside, I think there exists a curious valourisation of "ancestors". I mean, Irish legacy is partciuarly reverenced in some areas of the US, for example, but not all of the immigrants were good people. Some of them were lazy, feckless and petty criminals. My point is that just because you're family came from somewhere in the world, that doesn't make it "good". It's nonsensical to think that way.
    That is true, but most of us don't know much about our immigrant ancestors. I'd rather assume they were good people until proven otherwise. Besides, it's not only about the individual immigrant ancestor, but the connection to the longer line.
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  8. #48
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I never grew up singing our anthem in school, except for one year in Grade 2. I learned God Save the Queen only because my parents made a point of going to the community Remembrance Day ceremony every November. In the six schools where I have worked full time, 2 have sung it in the lower elementary grades, 1 has played it over the loudspeaker every day (N-12 school - the frequency of playing it surprisingly ended up serving to make students just disregard it and continue doing what they were doing) and the rest have not sung it at all. Now, some schools do and some don't. Some avoid it because of Jehovah's Witnesses or other groups who do not participate in those activities and they don't want to single kids out, some people have protested that our anthem mentions the word God or that it is sexist ("in all our son's command"). Generally it is left up to each individual teacher what they intend to do. In my experience subbing, I've found that many younger elementary classrooms do sing the anthem in the morning, but by about Grade 3 that ends. With the exception of some schools that do a Remembrance Day service, there is no occasion during junior high or high school where it would be routinely sung. When you look at Remembrance Day services and sports events, there are some people who sing, and some who do not. Perhaps I am working with too small a sample population, but I was surprised when I lived in the States to see how many people actively took part when the anthem was being played. I realize this is not necessarily a reflection even of someone's feelings about their country and there are a variety of reasons why they may or may not sing.

    I realize that the States started out as 13 British colonies, but the very solid break with Britain through the War of Independence had the effect of ending that political connection to Britain. As recently as my parents' childhoods, people still routinely sang patriotic songs such as the Maple Leaf Forever, God Save the Queen, Rule Britannia etc in school and many of the stories in readers and poetry also reflected Canada's affiliation with Britain. (I collect vintage Canadian readers and music books). Our "patriotic" songs were more about Britain than they ever were about Canada. Only in the 60s did Canada even get a different flag than the Union Jack.

    I agree with you that when Canadians move elsewhere, they tend to take great pride in their country. I even experienced this in a strange way while I studied in the States personally. It's almost that being surrounded by a different culture makes you more aware of what comprises your own. One of the Canadian profs at the university I went to in Wisconsin invited all Canadian students to his house for Thanksgiving dinner (Canadian Thanksgiving) and handed out Coffee Crisps, Aero bars, Mirage bars, etc that you couldn't get there for dessert! I had Canadian people approach me on the street while I was busking because they recognized the origin of my music and gave me their business cards to hang out togehter. So, yes, I can see what you are saying. I think that it's only once you go away though that you consider a lot of those kinds of differences that you take for granted. Otherwise they remain a part of the landscape that you see every day. For example, I found many differences in the way we practice and discuss religion, politics, business and humour that surprised me. I was somewhat aware that we had differences, but I could have told you what they were, other than on a very superficial level before living elsewhere, nor had I formed any opinions about what I liked better or less well.

    Perhaps I used the wrong word by saying unpatriotic, although some of the statements I have heard do verge on that. If we're going for complete accuracy, I would say somewhat apathetic and uninformed as well as taking things for granted. One thing I realized when I lived in the States was that Canadians are not so much more caring about the rest of the world and more educated than the States so much as that they report news differently and so the average person is more likely to receive some information by osmosis in some parts of Canada at least that they would have to dig for more in some parts of the States. It is not that we have such a thirst for information and knowledge, so much as that that particularly type of information is quite accessible.

    I have some friends in the military and understand what you are saying about that atmosphere being very patriotic. That is a world that I wasn't at all exposed to until after I was an adult, as there were no military communities very nearby. When I read wartime letters from my family members, I think that there was definitely a much more deeply ingrained sense of fervour for one's country that probably partially stemmed from their education, their closer ancestral roots to Britain, their province's relatively recent joining with the rest of Canada etc. I see some dangers in that too, so I'm not arguing it's always a good thing. Perhaps it depends what circles you turn in.

    Some of those comments are based on my time spend in university settings, in schools and on the reserve. All of these settings are probably areas where you are likely to see the most scepticism directed towards government and our political models. What alarms me though is seeing people make assertions that are not backed up by their own information and thought, but rather what they have heard from other people.

    It's interesting to me to see everyone's take on things, as I realize that all of us are describing our own collection of experiences, much like the different blind men all describing different parts of the elephant.

  9. #49
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    I always sung the national anthem of eastern Germany as a kid cause my grandpa came from there and I thought this was the right one . Hope nobody thought this was politically motivated back then
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  10. #50
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Great info fidelia!

    haha this is sort of a derail, but prompts me to research:

    When it comes to Canada's national anthem, only 67 per cent of Canadian high school students know the words — and even fewer can hum along, suggests a survey done by the University of Victoria.

    The survey found more than 30 per cent of teens do not know the lyrics to O Canada, while only 46 per cent could sing it with fewer than two melodic errors, according to study author Mary Kennedy.

    Kennedy, who is an associate professor of music education at the University of Victoria, said the findings are particularly troubling because the students in the sample were all members of school choirs.

    ...

    Kennedy suggests there are many reasons for the poor results, including the limited number of opportunities students now have to learn and sing the anthem.

    "Many high schools no longer play or teach the anthem. It's sad when the only exposure Canadian children have to the anthem is at hockey games, where the anthem is usually sung by a soloist.

    "It's also plausible that the lack of consistent musical training guided by specialist teachers could also be a factor in the students' inability to sing the anthem with proficiency."

    ...

    The study involved a cross-Canada sampling of 275 high school choral students representing 12 schools in six provinces. Here's how they rated:

    Lyrics ratings:

    Newfoundland, 87%
    Alberta, 83%
    British Columbia, 76%
    Ontario, 65%
    Manitoba, 57%
    Quebec, 36%
    Melody ratings:

    Manitoba, 62%
    Newfoundland, 60%
    Ontario, 50%
    Alberta, 39%
    Quebec, 28%
    British Columbia, 27%

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/st...#ixzz1BJbiQn6l
    So there you have it for today's kids.

    Also, I could only find a reference that the playing / singing of O Canada is considered mandatory in Ontario schools, and not even from what I would consider a reputable source, so I would have to dig deeper. Personally, I listened to it every morning from kindergarten to Grade 13, and so did my kids, just recently graduated from high school. No where else is it so across the country? Fascinating. Clearly though, even for that, Ontario isn't at the top of that list!

    I get wary of generalizations is all ... that's why sometimes when I see them I want to challenge them (the generalizations, not the people who offer them of course) and dig deeper. What constitutes "many" or "most" ... heck even I use the words sometimes, and without real data to back them, impressions are gained that are sometimes accurate ... and sometimes not so much. Myself in error as well, made an assumption that the playing of the anthem was either mandatory (or tradition) across the country ... clearly not. Now I want to know what the legislation (or tradition) is for the US too, if there is any. How very educational today!

    (Oh too ... the JW's or anyone else with objection in our school either stood out in the hall when it played, or in HS, they had a special room where you could not hear the anthem.)
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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