Air Berlin's language policy, continued

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Jun 21 17:16:32 UTC 2008


Way Up In The Air<http://alcudiapollensa.blogspot.com/2008/06/way-up-in-air.html>
And more on Air Berlin. There wouldn't have been had I not received a
comment appended to 18 June's thing. It may have escaped your attention, so
I reproduce it:

"In regards to the Air Berlin fiasco, are you implying that the Balearic
island government "demanded" that Mallorqui be spoken in flights, or that
they "requested" it be considered? There is a big difference between the two
approaches, and the Balearic government has every right to make such
requests, just as Air Berlin has every right to tell them that they will not
consider their request.
May I remind you that the main turmoil was started by a spat between Mr.
Hunold and the former Catalan politician Mr. Cordon, and not necessarily
between Air Berlin and the Balearic government. Just as these two
individuals, you are just taking advantage of the incident, as everyone else
on both sides of the argument (pro-Catalan and pro-Spain), and using it for
your personal agenda. If it weren't for Mr. Hunold and Mr. Cordon, and all
the people jumping in to make political statements, this would have been
politely resolved long ago."

Good. Good that someone comes back with a comment. More of it, please. But
why oh why was this sent anonymously? I am totally open to people offering
different opinions, and this is a subject of no small interest (the language
one), so it would be good if it were right out in the open. Moreover, if
anonymous could put together a full story on the ins and outs of the
background, which I admit had escaped me, that would also be good, and I
would be more than happy to post it here. Anyway, because I cannot reply to
anonymous commentators, which is why I ask people to email me, I shall use
this space to thank anonymous, but I would also like to respond.

One has to go back to the original piece of 14 June. This drew on an item
from "The Bulletin" which used the words "misinterpreted" and "inviting" in
inverted commas in its article. When I see an inverted comma or two, I sense
a euphemism, though this could of course have been a simple translation. But
euphemism was how I interpreted it. So I was not implying, I was
interpreting. And I think an interpretation of something stronger than a
mere invitation was not an unreasonable one. As far as a "personal agenda"
is concerned, oh I really don't think so. Frankly, I couldn't personally
care less what language Air Berlin uses. The story was taken up because it
seemed to represent the current vogue for language issues to poke their way
into the public domain and also because it struck me as daft, which regular
blog readers will know is a powerful incentive for me to raise a subject. As
I said on 14 June, it is an honourable political goal to promote Catalan,
but for me the real issue of language policy is not one couched in idealism,
romanticism or populism, but in pragmatism and in terms of what constitutes
the most effective means for economic and competitive development, a point I
referred to yesterday. My language is neither Castilian nor Catalan nor
indeed a local variant of Catalan, so it ill behoves me to try and foist a
personal opinion onto the discussion except in the capacity of an observer
who is removed from the emotion of the issue and sees something of the
ludicrous or something that is riven with cant.

Anyway, once more thanks to anonymous.

And I feel that I have to offer myself a rebuke. In the same piece on 18
June, I said the symbol of quality tourism was a Balearic one. I should
learn to look at adverts a bit more closely, which I have. It is actually a
national thing, which does spoil the gag rather, though maybe the symbol
should have been a C and not a Q. Whatever.

http://alcudiapollensa.blogspot.com/2008/06/way-up-in-air.html
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