ELL: Re: indigenous

Gary Ingle garyi at HALCYON.COM
Thu Jun 21 04:24:06 UTC 2001

On Thu, 21 Jun 2001, Tasaku Tsunoda wrote:

>     I think the term 'pre-European expansion' is not sufficient. Consider,
> for example, the Ainu language of Japan.

Indeed.  Though European expansion and _related_ events does probably
account for the lion's share of both linguistic and ecological loss of
diversity, it's far from being the only culprit (though perhaps
culpability is not really the important issue).

I have little problem with the word "indigeneous" as a non-technical
and imprecise term, since most speakers of English pretty much know
what is being discussed.  But it's not possible to use it when
scientific or legal precision is needed.  But then the same is true of
"colony", "minority language, culture", "lesser-used language",
"imperialism", even "aggression" -- clearly related, but all slippery
issues when one gets to specific cases.

Not a constructive comment, I'm afraid.

Gary Ingle
garyi at halcyon.com
This address to change in a week or two as halcyon is dumping all their
dialup customers on short notice.

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