Non-English postings

Erika Strenski ldp98es at SHEFFIELD.AC.UK
Sat Nov 13 19:42:54 UTC 1999

Hi all
I do hope this one won't get posted and send back to me in duplicate as it
couldn't get posted.  This move left me well confused.

Why is there all this silly arguing about foreign language use?
In fact it takes the guise of intellectual debate on the motivation of those
willing to invite non-English contributions.
It doesn't matter which language a posting is in as long as there is enough
info in the first couple of lines for us to find out whether we have any
chance of reading it.
Sometimes thoughts might only pertain to a particular language.  After all
we don't just have the ability of understanding English in common but we
also share certain attitudes towards language and feminism, otherwise we'd
be on the 'lib dem labrador appreciation society' list.

----- Original Message -----
From: Ingrid Piller <piller at UNI-HAMBURG.DE>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: Non-English postings

> Dear all,
> I doubt that the use of languages other than English on this list (or
> anywhere else in international communication) is less exclusionary than
> use of English. It has been suggested that most, if not all, list members
> can read "certain Indo-European languages" other than English - I guess
> means Romance and Germanic languages. Personally, I don't see why it
> be more democratic on an international scale to replace English with
> European language. Particularly at a point in time when many L2 users have
> invested heavily into their English. Also, it is exactly these languages
> that are least under pressure from English, anyway.
> Of course, it would be great for Fling to have a welcome message "postings
> in any language welcome." What I resent a little bit is the assumption I
> read out of some of the postings that we L2 users of English use English
> please L1 users of English. Well, that's not case - there are estimates
> two thirds of the communication in English on this globe is nowadays
> franca communication i.e. between L2 users of English. For instance, my
> contacts and friendships with people from Iran, Romania or Poland just
> not be possible if it weren't for English. And I'm greatful for that. If I
> started to use German on this list (which is presumably one of those
> languages that "most of us" can read), this might be ok with the Americans
> on this list (and register as diversity) but would it also be more
> to members whose L1 is neither English nor German? I doubt it. As goes for
> myself, I hardly ever read postings in French, for instance, because they
> have "not for me" plastered all over them.
> In international communication, where English has, for better or worse,
> become a fact of life, it's not the use of English that bothers me - as
> mentioned above I actually welcome it. What does bother me, however, are
> some of the attitudes that go with it and that construe L1 users of
> as more legitimate users than L2 users. So, I'd find a welcome message
> states that Fling is an "international" list much more welcoming than one
> that assumes that it is a US list where speakers of other languages can
> their little national corners, too.
> That's my two cents. Have a great weekend, Ingrid
> Ingrid Piller
> Hamburg University

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