teaching foreign languages at an early age

Moore, John moorej at ucsd.edu
Wed Jan 12 04:58:45 UTC 2011

Against my better judgement I feel I should add a rejoinder to this; anything said in this domain is bound to bother many, if not all.  The linguistic situation in Catalunya is, indeed complex.  However, to refer to Catalan as 'liberation' and Spanish (or Castellano) as 'imperial' over-simplifies.  Catalan is, of course, the indigenous language of the region which was strenuously repressed during the Franco period.  Spanish, is also clearly the national language that was imposed, also during that period.  However, since around the 1950s, there was a significant internal migration of of Spanish-speaking Andalucians to Catalunya, who  formed a guest-worker-like Spanish-speaking underclass.  This leads to the question: how much of many Catalans' aversion to Spanish is because of historical repression, and how much is due to old-fashion prejudice against an under-class?

From: funknet-bounces at mailman.rice.edu [funknet-bounces at mailman.rice.edu] On Behalf Of Tom Givon [tgivon at uoregon.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:42 PM
To: funknet at mailman.rice.edu
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] teaching foreign languages at an early age

Well, maybe it is also worth mentioning that when you get into
Catalunia, you get into thick layers of language politics and liberation
ideology. So sometimes it is not all that easy to tell when the science
ends and something else begins. Of course, Catalunia is not the only
place where this can be observed. But once you get into the convoluted
relations between a dominant/imperial language and an
indigenous/liberation language, it becomes harder to do simple science.
People have all kinds of axes to grind. Our earlier discussion last year
about the Israeli-Arabic situation certainly overlapped with these
issues. I am not so worried about the oft-subconscious effect of
socio-linguistic factors on SLA. This should be studied as part of
science. It is the deliberate ideologs that scare me.  Best,  TG

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