annika.pasanen at helsinki.fi
Tue Oct 30 18:23:46 UTC 2012
Lainaus "Florian Siegl" <florian.siegl at gmx.net>:
> them! But as a good scientific principle, beside criticism one
> should be fair and present an alternative classification! And en
> passant, you yourself have used the ?old-fashioned? 350.
Yes, as I mentioned: I have used 350, because I have no other,
reliable numbers, and as far as I know, neither has nobody else. Some
years earlier I used unofficially also estimation 300, but now there
are dozens of more speakers than then. My suggestion is to use 350
until someone studies the situation in depth. There are plans in
Giellagas-institute to start a wide-scaled research about current
situation of all Saami languages (in Finland or in all the four
countries, I don't know) which we all certainly wish welcome.
> think that we are here in good company. To the best of my knowledge,
> the Saami Parliament does not take L2 speakers with non-Saami
> background as speaker of Saami.
This is not so simple. Who in Saami Parliament and in which context?
There are very variable opinions inside Saami Parliament about these
issues. Inari Sami community in generally does accept L2 speakers as
speakers, and in their case border between L1 and L2 speakers would be
highly artificial. Vast majority of people working for language
transmission - teachers, parents speaking the language at home etc. -
are L2 speakers, and revitalization of Inari Sami is based on a need
and will to get more new speakers. By taking account only
traditionally defined L1 speakers we may end up in a situation, where
Inari Sami in extinct according to your estimation, even if there are
100 or 500 speakers speaking the language.
An argument against L2 speakers we discussed in the seminars in
Helsinki was based on some recent Livonian examples in Estonian
newspapers. Some time ago, the number of potential Livonian speakers
was given in one of the dailies with almost 300, because a reporter
just added all students who over the years took classes in Livonian at
the University of Tartu as new speakers. Here, I as an ?old-fashioned?
linguist raise objections because this viewpoint is clearly too naïve.
Comparing it to my own courses on Forest Enets, I have taught the
structure of this language to about 60 students over the years, but I
won?t classify any of those as a new speaker of the language! I think,
here we just have to confess that there are multiple ways of
classification and as long as we make our criteria clear, there is
room for more than just one number. Still, make your criteria clear!
There are different L2 speakers, that's for sure. These 300 students
obviously cannot be counted as speakers of Livonian just because they
studied Livonian, and neither can your students be counted as speakers
of Forest Enets. To be a speakert is about communicative skills and
identification, I think. I would'nt regard school pupils, who study
Karelian or Udmurt 2 hours per week, but are not able to speak the
language actively, as L2 speakers. On the contrary, I think that we
cannot ignore following groups as speakers of a certain language: 1.
Children, who have learnt the language actively in language
nest/immersion, even if they speak local majority language more
fluently / more often / as their home language. 2. People, who have
consciously and strongly motivated learnt the language through adult
education or independently and started to use the language actively in
their daily life. In some Sami communities representatives from both
group now transmit Sami language to their children. If they are not
speakers, then I'm not a speaker of Finnish.
Well, we could count 10-20 L2 speakers of Livonian. But how do we go
further? What about L2 speakers of Northern Saami, Udmurt, Komi etc?
Any ideas how to get reliable data? We cannot send them all to Inari
to get your judgement!
Really? What a dissapointment! Well, since nobody of us knows the
situation of all the Uralic languages, I don't see any other ways than
trying to collect data from representatives of different language
groups. Maybe they know better in Mordovia, Udmurtia, Komi etc. how
much speakers there are. Usually Ministries of Education in different
regions of Russia have detailed information about pupils learning the
local minority language at school. Then again, I wouldn't count school
instruction as an evidence about L2 speakers.
that this category is meaningful. At the current moment I would not
add "reversing language shift - language nest" to Forest Enets and
Nganasan; initialization is the first step but it will need some time
to see whether this has a future and whether this really will produce
new speakers. No objections for adding this label to e.g. Inari Saami
and South Saami, but again we would need a relatively coherent
framework as I already pointed out. What about Mordvin? How many local
language nests do you need so that we can add the
label "reversing language shift" to the language as a whole? Could you
work out such a framework and could you contribute such data?
Yes, I agree, definitely a single language nest group doesn't
necessarily lead to reversing language shift. On the other hand, as we
all know, when studying RLS, there are several other factors to take
account in addition to language nests. I cannot, and nobody can
define, how many language nests there should be. What we need, is
holistic sociolinguistic basic study about situation of Uralic
languages, and that's what we have far too little. Hooray and ten
points to every single student, who gets interested in this kind of
study, and every professor and supervisor who encourages their
students toward these issues.
There are Ph.D. studies about Kven and Meänkieli going on in
University of Oulu. Maybe it's worth asking them, what kind of
estimations they use.
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