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  1. #41
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    A more light-hearted take on the issue.
    [youtube="6tdZkcV8o54"]...[/youtube]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Bills are ratified by an assembly whose members were elected... am I correct?

    Do you think you should have a referendum for every law your government propose, just like in some Swiss cantons?

    -----

    And furthermore, despise the various change in power in more that 30 years of Quebec's political history, no majority rule expressed the need to cancel this bill.
    Only a few lunatics did, like the man you pretend to support. Are you aware that libertarianism is a form of ideological extremism? Besides, Bernier is a notorious crook, and it's no wonder Harper accepted him first, and then had to make him resign later.



    Once again, that's plain demagogy. You are just as biased as anybody else would be, and I would even dare to say than you're also an incurable extremist yourself who quite obviously seems to suffer from a strong identity issue, directed especially against French Canadians.
    Believe me, in France we follow Québec's politics very closely: they are our cousins, remember?



    And you would be plain wrong, Sir! I've been plenty of times in Québec and in Canada, and that includes Montréal.
    Believe it or not, most of my local friends hail from Westmount, an English-Speaking district (and my university had a student exchange program with McGill, not with Laval). But all of them were happy with their status within Quebec, because it makes them feel "special", apart from every other boring place in North America where English is the overwhelmingly dominant language.

    Those were the exact words of my friend Melvin Charney, if you have ever heard of him?
    The Bill is illegal .. You have no more argument.. the law is unconstitutional.
    The French in Quebec say 51-49 loss in a referendum is democracy not being served
    But if the win 51-49 democracy is served.

    I grew up there OK.. you didn't?? I wish you would stop telling me how things are in my own country.
    It makes you look desperate when you talk about things you don't know, like you do..

    Parliamentary democracy by a representative is not the will of the people..
    In Canada we vote .. and then democracy is dead until the next election.
    I imagine in France it is the same..
    Last edited by ajblaise; 02-12-2011 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Insults removed

  3. #43
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    -I was in immersion for grades 5-10, as in 100% of my day taught in french, and it was mostly a complete waste of time with a side bonus of impeding my ability to learn things like science and history (not all schools have funding to have french immersion in the earlier grades).
    Why did you feel it was a waste? I loved immersion. It also had a reputation for being where the gifted/high achiever kids ended up. I did it from kindergarten right the way through, though by junior high and especially high school there was less in French. But it sure worked well for me and in terms of my other subjects as well. My brother also did late French immersion and learned to speak it quite fluently, though he doesn't use it much now (he's a sports journalist and covers a lot of hockey, so he's more likely to use his Finnish and German...yeah he speaks at least some of both!)
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Why did you feel it was a waste?
    It was a waste of effort for me. I didn't learn french and imo it decreased my learning and my interest in other subjects, since I couldn't understand the language it was taught in very well. I can't speak french at all and while I can read it somewhat, if slowly, that's not really very useful for me. (well, grades 5 and 6 were good since they actually understood that we were still learning - grades 7-10 went downhill)

    I loved immersion. It also had a reputation for being where the gifted/high achiever kids ended up.
    Yes, this is why I took it. It did have the side benefit of weeding out the really dumb kids, although it certainly wasn't all gifted at my school.
    I did it from kindergarten right the way through, though by junior high and especially high school there was less in French. But it sure worked well for me and in terms of my other subjects as well. My brother also did late French immersion and learned to speak it quite fluently, though he doesn't use it much now (he's a sports journalist and covers a lot of hockey, so he's more likely to use his Finnish and German...yeah he speaks at least some of both!)
    Everyone I know who was in late french immersion is not able to speak it now, about a decade after high school. Many of the kids in early french immersion (who continued with it throughout high school) still can - I think there's a huge difference when you learn something in kindergarden (and keep up with it!). I definitely see the benefit there. It wasn't offered until grade 5 where I lived, though.

    I stopped in grade 10 because it was interfering with my learning. They assume that everyone knows french perfectly by high school which was definitely not true (many struggled, I wasn't the lone dumbass. Actually, I think nearly all the late-frenchies dropped out of it in HS). I had a hard time understanding classes not because the subjects were difficult at all but because I didn't understand a good 50% of what the teacher said. I also thought it was ridiculous to learn scientific vocabulary in french when science is done in english globally (mostly). It was a good decision for me. Had I stuck with it a few more years I doubt I would have improved my french much, and my average absolutely would have been lower, impacting scholarships and whatnot (that factored into it, too).

    It also turned out to be a good decision to drop out because I went into science, and I think I would have struggled to translate all the vocabulary terms that I'd learned in french, particularly for biology (my field) where there is a lot of new vocabulary.

    I'm sure it would have been (partially) different if I'd learned in kindergarden and actually understood anything.
    -end of thread-

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    *Yawn*


    Not specifically directed at Blackmail!'s malarkey, just in general. I don't care what Maxime Bernier said. I don't care what anyone says about it either way. I'm tired of hearing about it.

    The purpose of Bill 101 is not and has never been about cultural preservation or whatever you want to call it. It's a political tool and it always has been. Language in Quebec always has been, going back to the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

    As far as this maudit anglophone qui comprend un peu de français is concerned it was a mistake to allow the 18th century French-Canadians to continue to speak French in the first place.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forever_Jung View Post
    Tabarnak!

    I disagree. The French language hasn't evolved very much lately, and if it goes extinct, it goes extinct. The whole purpose of language is to communicate, and if people find other languages more effective for communication (or find that learning the language is pointless since no one else speaks it), then it should be assimilated/absorbed by more useful languages or just discarded.
    GASP! You're obviously not a linguist, lol - this seriously sounds like blasphemy to my ears! Yes, the purpose of language is communication, and for this reason (most) linguists contend that no language is "better" than another - any language that serves the purpose of communication is just as good as English, French, etc. But that's a tangent. This is also why languages need to be allowed to adapt. French has a bit of a problem in this area, I think, at least the French of France, that is regulated by the Academie Francaise. But language does have other purposes - it is a cultural carrier, it affects one's personal identity, it serves as a group marker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Languages are not mere tools, and never will be.... There are part of our cultural identities, there are part of our common heritage, the heritage of mankind. With every new language comes new sounds, new thoughts, new ways to formulate new ideas. A world dominated by an an unique language is the dream of every would-be totalitarian mind, a world of extreme conformity.

    I say we should mourn the disappearance of so many heritages, just like we mourn the disappearance of the countless species that used to live in what remains of the tropical rain forest. There's no reason to be happy or to accept that "unavoidable trend", if you're able to catch the metaphor.
    Yes, absolutely. Well stated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    For me, mastering a new language represents each time a new opportunity. My mother tongues theoretically are Breton and Yiddish, two threatened languages. And I would do whatever I can to preserve these cultural heritages. I have learned French, English, German... I have notions of Dutch, Gaelic, Mandarin, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, and I'm proud of it. I make no difference if it means to defend the presence of this particular language or the other. In Europe, trying to learn the language of your neighbours is not only a question of curiosity, it is also a matter of simple, basic decensy, of respect. Even if the language is not very widely spoken: everywhere I go, I try to learn basic nouns, basic words, just to have the pleasure of saying "Thank you" in Hungarian, Finnish or Fon.
    Ooooh, you're a native bretonnant? What region are you from? I'm studying Irish (Gaelic) mainly, but I wrote a paper on the decline and revitalization movement of Breton and found it quite interesting. My native language is English, but I speak pretty good French (it was better 10 years ago when I first got back from studying in France, but I still use it pretty frequently), some Spanish and a bit of Russian. I'm learning Irish (HARDEST language I've ever tried to learn!!!). I've also briefly studied (casually, on my own) Turkish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Danish and Belorusan).

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I can sort of see why you would make such an argument towards preservation of rare tribal languages like Cherokee, but French is by no means a unique or nearly extinct language. I'm sure it will be spoken in France for a long time to come. There is very little that is unique to France... it is a typical European culture in most respects. And Western European culture is not in any danger of disappearing soon.
    French French isn't, but I think the issue here is that without legislation to protect français québécois, people might stop using it and then that dialect of French could possibly disappear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    And for the other point: NO. Languages aren't tools. There is something else associated with their use, something else you can't even deny. For instance, languages have the unique ability to "shape" our thoughts.
    If you master several foreign languages, this property will become more and more obvious.
    It's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    The other fact is.. Most people just don't care about French culture or the language,except the French..
    I care about the French culture and the French language!

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    And so is every language: unique and beautiful. And it's not only about translation, it's rather about the way we think, we shape ideas, and how we consider our neighbours. Do we respect them, or do we want to convert them to our own image?

    To master a language gives you access to its culture, to elements more meaningful once you're able to put them into context. This is why, for instance, you can't easily translate a lot of philosophical concepts: ever tried to figure what the Dasein, the Shensui or the Poïesis would be in English?
    It goes far beyond simple translation: with each exemple I use here, it's about the inner mechanics of the language (how you build words and why), and about the cultural and even sometimes, physical context. Whoever has not set foot in the Huangshan mountains might not be able to understand the concept of Shensui and void as a landscape element...
    It goes far beyond the language as a simple written explanation.
    It's about places, paintings, buildings, interactions, discussions, territories: what we define as a cultural identity. And this fundamental perception cannot be really understood practically, but rather, ontologically.
    Exactly. And it's not just complex, abstract concepts, either. Take something as simple as the word "bread." Born and raised in the US, the first image that comes into my mind when I think of bread is a loaf of fluffy, soft, pre-sliced white bread:


    For a French person, the word "pain" probably conjures up an image more like this:


    The German word, "brot," might look something like this:


    Obviously, they are all the same basic idea, and if you showed me a picture of the baguette, I would still call it "bread," but even so, they are very different things. And they all have different associations. For me, "bread" makes me think of sandwiches in my lunchbox when I was a kid, that my mom would cut in half (the short way, not diagonally). Blackmail, what associations does "pain" have for you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Wow. I wonder how English has affected my thinking? You've made me wonder what kind of imprint languages tend to make on the psyche. And specifically, what particular kind of imprint English leaves, or what kind other language leave.
    I can give you some very specific examples:

    1. (This is paraphrased from Ben Goertzel)
    The Hopi language, [claims Benjamin Lee Whorf], groups future and imaginary into one category, and past and present into another category. Consequently, we [English speakers] perceive a rift between the present and the past, they feel none. And whereas we tend to see the future something definite, largely pre-determined, they tend to perceive it as nebulous and conjectural.
    2. (This is from Alfred Bloom) A survey Bloom conducted in Hong Kong to native Chinese speakers, asked about a hypothetical situation wherein the government of Hong Kong passed a law saying that all foreign-born citizens must make weekly reports of their activities to the police. Bloom relates that:
    Rather unexpectedly and consistently, subjects reacted, “But the government hasn’t,” “It can’t,” or “It won’t.” “I know the government hasn’t and won’t, but let us imagine that it does or did….” Yet such attempts to lead the subjects to reason about things that they knew could not be the case only served to frustrate them and lead to such exclamations as “We don’t speak/think that way!,” “It’s unnatural,” “It’s unChinese!”…By contrast, American and French subjects, responding to similar questions in their native languages, never seemed to find anything unnatural about them….
    The source of these cognitive differences seems to be a result of the differences between Chinese and Indo-European languages. While English and French include structures for accommodating counterfactual statements, Chinese does not.

    3. This is from a recent article in Scientific American, by Lera Boroditsky:
    I am standing next to a five-year old girl in pormpuraaw, a small
    Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York in northern Australia. When I ask her to point north, she points precisely and without hesitation. My compass says she is right. Later, back in a lecture hall at Stanford University, I make the same request of an audience of distinguished scholars—winners of science medals and genius prizes. Some of them have come to this very room to hear lectures for more than 40 years. I ask them to close their eyes (so they don’t cheat) and point north. Many refuse; they do not know the answer. Those who do point take a while to think about it and then aim in all possible directions. I have repeated this exercise at Harvard and Princeton and in Moscow, London and Beijing, always with the same results.

    A five-year-old in one culture can do something with ease that eminent scientists in other cultures struggle with. This is a big difference in cognitive ability. What could explain it? The surprising answer, it turns out, may be language.
    4. From the same SA article:
    For example, my colleague Alice Gaby of the University of California, Berkeley, and I gave Kuuk Thaayorre speakers sets of pictures that showed temporal progressions— a man aging, a crocodile growing, a banana being eaten. We then asked them to arrange the shuffled photographs on the ground to indicate the correct temporal order..... English speakers given this task will arrange the cards so that time proceeds from left to right. Hebrew speakers will tend to lay out the cards from right to left. This shows that writing direction in a language influences how we organize time. The Kuuk Thaayorre, however, did not routinely arrange the cards from left to right or right to left. They arranged them from east to west. That is, when they were seated facing south, the cards went left to right. When they faced north, the cards went from right to left. When they faced east, the cards came toward the body, and so on.
    5. Again, from the same article:
    In 1983 Alexander Guiora of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor compared three groups of kids growing up with Hebrew,
    English or Finnish as their native language. Hebrew marks gender prolifically (even the word “you” is different depending on gender), Finnish has no gender marking and English is somewhere in between. Accordingly, children growing up in a Hebrew-speaking environment figure out their own gender about a year earlier than Finnish-speaking children; English- speaking kids fall in the middle.
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