LANGUAGE AS
• Language can be a barrier is when groups
  of people cannot agree on a common
  language or when the group with more
  power enforces the use of its language or
  even when the spread of a language to
  common use around a region also means
  the spreading influence of the culture
  native to that language.
   Can a country survive with two
    equal or official languages?
• Switzerland uses three: French, Italian,
  and Swiss German. In each Swiss canton,
  the official language is the language of the
  majority and each resident has to know it.
  Students usually study more than one
  language. The Swiss may use whichever
  language they prefer in federal matters as
  all three languages are treated equally.
• Of particular concern today is the
  spread of American English.
• In early colonial days, some 5 mil-
  lion people spoke English. By 1930, the
  number had risen to 200 million. By the
  mid-1960s, counting those who used
  English as a second language, the
  number of people speaking English had
  doubled to 400 million. By 1990, that
  number had risen to about 750 million,
  or 1in every 7 people.
• English is the native language in 12
  countries and an official or semiofficial
  language in 33 others. Its study is
  required or popular in at least 56 other
  countries (see Figure 7.2). Consider
  this: An Argentine pilot landing in
  Turkey speaks to the air traffic
  controller in English. A German
  physicist publishes findings in English-
  language journals.
• Japanese executives conduct business in
  Mexico in English. A high percentage of all
  information stored in computers is in
  English. It is the most widely studied and
  most borrowed-from language in the world.
• English has grown to dominate in the areas
  of science, technology, commerce, tourism,
  diplomacy, and pop culture. Some 80% of the
  world's electronic databases and
  communications networks are in English.
  CNN International and MTV broadcast
  internationally in English.

• Resistance to English is strong in some countries.
  One notable example is France. Three and a half
  centuries ago, the Academie Frangaise was set up to
  protect the language. President Francois Mitterrand
  created the High Commission of the French
  Language, its charge being to introduce new French
  words to replace Franglais, or words mixing English
  and French such as "le weekend," "le fast food," and
  "tres cool." A new law makes the use of French
  obligatory in instruction manuals, legal contracts,
  scientific conferences, and all advertising.
• Japanese is Japan's official language.
  Educational and mass media systems use a
  "standard" Japanese based on the Tokyo
  dialect. Japanese and English are
  structur-ally very different. In Japanese, the
  verb comes at the end of the sentence and
  modifying clauses come before the words
  they modify. Although some words of
  English origin have been incorporated into
  the language, the vocabularies are not at all
• The Japanese experience their language in
  almost mystical terms. Membership in the
  group of Japanese language users is by race
  and by birth. Japanese study kokugo, or
  national language, whereas what foreigners
  learn is called nihongo, or Japanese
  language. Nihongo denotes a separate
  psychological and semantic domain based
  on a racial distinction of identification of the
  language with the culture.
• The Japanese culture is reflected in
  many ways in the language. The value
  of harmony is reflected in that the
  language has at least 16 ways to avoid
  saying no and makes use of many
  aisatsu, or "lubricant expressions" that
  serve to reinforce feelings of
  interdependence and harmony. In
  Eng-lish, yes and no clearly mean
  acceptance and rejection.
• In Japanese, however, where creating a
  mood is more important than the judgment,
  no is rarely used and yes may mean "I hear
  what you are saying" or even "Yes, but..."
  For example, in 1969, President Nixon asked
  Japanese Prime Minister Eisaka Sato to
  impose quotas on textile exports in
  exchange for the return of Okinawa. Sato
  replied, "Zensho shi-masu," which can mean
  "I'll take a proper step" or "I'll take a
  favorable action."
• Sato meant no; Nixon's translators heard
  yes. Today though, that reluc-tance to say
  no may be fading. When President Clinton
  asked for measurable trade targets, Prime
  Minister Hosokawa said, "Totei doi
  dekimasen"—"There is no way I can agree
  with that."
The differences between communication styles in
           the United States and Japan

• may be described as follows:

  – Orientation to interaction
  – Code preference.
  – Interaction format.
     Orientation to interaction.
•   The United States places value on self-
    sufficiency and independence and
    objectivity, and cause-effect. Japan
    places more value on the interpersonal
    relationships with family, friends, and
    colleagues and accepts the reality that
    develops out of those relationships.
            Code preference.
• The United States' diversity and the value
  placed on individualism correlate to a preference
  for making meanings clear in the verbal code
  and relying less on nonverbal meanings,
  whereas Japan's homogeneity and value placed
  on interdependence correlate to the importance
  placed on the nonverbal code. Silence, objects,
  and form are important in Japan. The Japanese
  have traditionally placed a high value on silence,
  believing that a person of few words is
  thoughtful, trustworthy, and respectable (Ishii,
• Silence is highly desirable and valued more than
  eloquence. Hence the Japanese spend
  considerable less time in verbal communication
  than do people in the United States. Along with
  silence, ambiguity and vagueness play an
  important part in Japanese communication. In a
  homogeneous culture, people understand
  context messages. Spoken expressions of ideas
  and feelings are believed to upset group
          Interaction format.
•   Much of communication in the United
    States is pragmatic, quantitative, and
    persuasive. Much of communication in
    Japan, however, is process oriented for a
    holistic or harmonizing outcome.
• When comparing Japanese communication
  style to American, one Japanese manager
  said, "The Japanese probably never will
  become gabby We're a homogeneous people
  and don't have to speak as much as you do
  here. When we say one word, we understand
  10, but here you have to say 10 to
  understand one."
• —Jim Kennedy and Anna Everest, "Put Diversity
  in Context," Personnellournal, 70(9), September
  1991, p. 52
• Taken together these differences may explain
  why the Japanese often perceive self-disclosing
  communication as inappropriate in social
  relationships. They also show that the Japanese
  view harmony establishing or harmony
  main-taining as a dominant function of
  communication (Okabe, 1983). Communication
  is a means of seeking consensus and, as such,
  is by nature intuitive, emotional, and adaptive.

• It's easy to assume that Chinese is the
  language of China. In fact, though, China
  has historically been a land of many
  diverse dialects. Standard Chinese,
  based on the Mandarin dialect, is the
  national language spoken by 70% of the
  population. Other spoken languages are
  Shanghaiese, Szu Chuanese, and
• Spoken Cantonese is just about as
  different from the standard Chinese dialect
  as French is from English. The spoken
  dialects have from 400 to 800
  monosyllabic word sounds, or vocables.
  Each vocable has from 4 to 9 tones so that
  its meaning is made to differ according to
  the manner in which it is said. Meaning is
  determined from tone, gestures, and
• The government has been promoting Mandarin
  as the standard for all of China. It has been
  reported that the Ministry of Commerce and the
  State Language Commission have ordered the
  use of standard Mandarin (Putonghua, or
  "ordinary language") for commercial workers
  across the country by 1998.
• English was once forbidden in China. Now it
  seems everyone is learning English.
             SOUTH AFRICA

• The first Dutch settlement on the southern tip of
  Africa dates back to 1652 with the arrival of
  Dutch, German, and French Huguenot
  immigrants (later known as Afrikaners or as
  Boers by the British). Dutch became the official
  language of that colony, but within 150 years
  it had been replaced with Afrikaans, perhaps the
  world's youngest language and the only
  Germanic language born outside Europe.
• Afrikaans was derived from 17th-century Dutch
  and reflects the influences of Malay, Portuguese,
  German, French, English, and native African
  languages. It represents a cultural tradition of
  self-sufficiency and Calvinist morality. For many
  years, speakers of Afrikaans were the
  oppressed under British colonial rule. But in
  1925, Afrikaans joined English as the country's
  two official languages and from then on earned
  the reputation among Blacks as the language of
  oppression. The most widely known word in the
  Afrikaans vocabulary is
• apartheid—literally apart-hood or separateness—
  government-sanctioned segregation of racial and ethnic
  groups that ended with Nelson Mandela's election in
• The most commonly spoken languages in South Africa
  are Zulu (8.5 million of the country's 41 million people)
  and Xhosa, followed by Afrikaans, Tswana, Northern
  Sotho, English (perceived as the language of colonial
  heritage), and Southern Sotho. The multitude of
  languages became a major factor in developing a new
  constitution. English and Afrikaans will now join nine
  others as official languages.

• The situation in Canada is unique. More than
  200 years ago, Canada's French settlers were
  defeated by the British army on a Quebec field
  called the Plains of Abraham. New France then
  became British, but the French settlers were
  permitted to maintain their language (French)
  and religion (Roman Catholicism).
• Through the years Quebec has maintained a
  vision of itself as a French-speaking society. In
  the 1950s, Quebec began to protest the use of
• In response, the federal government
  appointed the Royal Commission on
  Bilingual-ism and Biculturalism. The
  commission first recommended that
  Canadians of French origin be brought into
  full partici-pation in Canadian life and later
  included all other cultural groups. In 1971,
  the prime minister announced officially that
  Canada would be bilingual and
• Officially a two-language country, Canada
  continues to deal with a strong separatist
  movement in Quebec. Quebec has never
  ratified the Canadian constitution in that it
  is believed it fails to protect the province's
  minority French language and culture. In
  1977, Quebec established a French-only
  policy enforced by 400 "language police."
• Its inhabitants refer to the rest of Canada
  as "English Canada," and there has even
  been talk of Quebec's withdrawing horn
  English-speaking Canada. In 1992, 54% of
  voters rejected proposed constitutional
  reforms that would have provided greater
  autonomy for Quebec and self-
  government for aboriginal peoples.

• A more extreme case is India, the world's
  second most populated country—and
  soon to be the world's largest. India is a
  country of a multiplicity of languages as
  well as religions, castes, and living
  conditions. India's people speak 20 major
  languages and hundreds of dialects. Hindi
  and English are spoken throughout India.
• Following independence in 1947, Hindi
  was slated to become the national
  language in 1965. But as 1965
  approached, the use of Hindi had not
  spread. Hindi speakers concentrated in
  the north claim that English is elitist and a
  holdover from the colonial past. English
  speakers largely in the south argue that
  Hindi as an official language would
  exclude those who don't speak it.
• English, on the other hand, would at least
  give everyone an equal handicap.
• From among India's officially recognized
  languages, individual states are free to
  adopt their own language of administration
  and education. Every citizen has the right
  to petition the government in any of the
  official languages.

• Whereas Canada has two official
  languages and India many, the United
  States has none. Nowhere does the U.S.
  Constitution provide for an official
  language. At the time of independence,
  the second language in the United States
  was a form of German known as
  Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania
  German. Half the population of
  Pennsylvania spoke German.
• After independence, there have been
  times when some have pressed to make
  English the official language of the United
  States. In the 1870s, faced with large
  numbers of Chinese immigrants, California
  considered English-only laws.
• Later, with the large number of central and
  southeastern Europe immigrants at the turn of
  the century, the United States made oral English
  a requirement for naturalization. Still later, during
  and after World War I, anti-German sentiment
  led some states to ban German. Those laws
  were declared unconstitutional. During World
  War II, German-speaking residents of the United
  States experienced humiliation and insult
  because of their accents.
• The United States has had a long history of non-
  English immigrants. In 1848, Cincinnati, Ohio,
  had the first bilingual school to serve the
  German-American community. In the early
  1900s, a dozen states had bilingual education,
  with at least 4% of students receiving all or part
  of their instruction in German. By 1920, three
  fourths of the population of some cities were
  foreign born. Several cities and states printed
  some official documents in languages other than
  English (Crawford, 1992).
• Before 1980, only two states had official-
  English laws: Nebraska in 1920 and Illinois
  in 1923. But in the 1980s, the official-
  English movement became active, due in
  large part to the large numbers of Hispanic
  immigrants, some of whom have not
  assimilated as quickly as earlier
  immigrants. In Miami it is said that it is
  possible to live a full life without ever
  learning English.
• A 1992 amendment to the federal Voting
  Rights Act requires counties to supply
  voting materials for Hispanic, Asian-
  American, American Indian, and Alaskan
  minority groups that number 10,000 or
  more, speak little or no English, and have
  a literacy rate below the national average.
  Immigrant children are even taught the
  Pledge of Allegiance in foreign languages.
• The other side of the spread of English is
  the weakening and disappearance of
  languages. The Hawaiian language and
  culture, for example, is on the verge of
  extinction. The same can be said of some
  indigenous Native American languages. The
  Hawaiians had no written language.
  Centuries of his-tory, genealogies, legends,
  and religious teachings were passed from
  generation to generation orally.
     The Situation in Hawaii
• New England Christian missionaries
  who first arrived in 1820 devised a
  written lan-guage based on five vowels
  and seven consonants (h, k, 1, m, n, p,
  and w). The glottal stop, the short break
  between the pronunciation of two
  vowels, was acknowledged but not
  denoted. It later became marked with
  the "back-ward apostrophe" as in u'ina,
  the word for glottal stop.
• The written language that was developed by the
  mis-sionaries was not Hawaiian as the Hawaiians
  knew it; it reflected what the New England English
  speakers perceived. After the overthrow of the
  Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 by U.S. sugar planters
  and businessmen, Hawaii became a republic and
  sought admission to the United States. The Hawaiian
  language was officially suppressed when the United
  States annexed the islands. Public school
  regulations written at the turn of the century
  prohibited the use of Hawaiian in the schools.
• By 1990, only about 1,000 native Hawaii
  speakers remained, and 200 of those live on
  Niihau, the privately owned island that is
  home to the last self-contained community of
  full-blooded Hawaiians. Ex-cept for a few
  popular phrases and for Hawaiian songs, the
  language is seldom used. Nonetheless, at the
  1978 constitutional convention Hawaiian was
  made an official language of the state along
  with English.
• Recognizing that the loss of the
  language also means the loss of the
  culture, Hawaiians started a private
  preschool language immersion
  program in 1984. In 1986, the state
  legislature lifted the century-old ban on
  schools teaching only in Hawaiian. The
  language immersion program then
  spread to the public school system.
• Controversy surrounds the program: Some
  argue the program is a chance to save their
  language and recapture a lost cultural
  identity. Others argue that it is a first step to
  a separated society like the French in
  Canada. Support for that argument is found
  in the movement for the formation of native
  Hawaiian government within the framework
  of United States laws along the lines of other
  indigenous groups.
  Loss of Native American Languages

• In colonial times, as many as 500
  indigenous languages were spoken in
  North America. Today, only about 200
  remain, with Navajo having the most
  speakers, approximately 148,530. From
  the 1860s until about the 1950s, federal
  policy and local practice combined to
  discour-age and eliminate American Indian
  languages from schools and public
• In the 1920s, students in federal boarding
  schools were beaten for using their own
  language. Yet during World War II, the
  United States Marines used Navajo "code
  talkers" at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima; the
  Japanese were never able to decipher
  signals encoded in their language.
• In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Native
  American Language Act, legislation sponsored
  by Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye. The act
  endorses the preservation of indigenous
  languages and encourages the use of Native
  American languages as languages of instruction.
  The languages remain used in tribal politics and
  religious ceremonies and on radio stations. It
  was said that movement to make English the
  official U.S. language mobilized many tribes in
  the recognition that linguistic survival is the
  same as cultural or tribal survival.
    Puerto Rico and Statehood

• Another story is being played out in Puerto Rico
  where the official language has been a part of
  the argument over statehood. The island was
  made a U.S. commonwealth after Spain ceded it
  to the United States in 1898. Spanish was made
  the island's official language in 1991 with the
  backing of statehood opponents. Proponents of
  statehood were successful in passing a new law
  in 1993 that made English and Spanish official
  languages of the territory.

• The European Community has acted to respect
  regional language diversity. Up to 50 million
  people speak minority languages in Western
  Europe. One of the more well known is Welsh,
  which remains in daily use in Wales where
  public information signs are in both Welsh and
  English. Breton is used in northwestern France.
  Catalan, Basque, and Galician are used in
  Spain; in fact, Catalan was an official language
  of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The
  Basque language Euskera is unrelated to any
  other European language and therefore is
• likely very old. With mountains providing
  geographical isolation and with increasing
  political independence from Madrid, the
  use of Euskera is growing. The European
  Community funds organizations that
  pro-tect minority languages; one of these,
  the Bureau for Lesser Used Languages,
  provides a bridge between various
  language associations and the EC.
• Many of the world's 6,000 languages are
  on the verge of extinction. More than half
  of these are no longer learned by children
  and therefore will disappear. Only about
  10% of the world's languages are spoken
  by more than 100,000 people. The loss of
  any language means the loss of most of
  the culture who spoke it and the loss of the
  knowledge that culture had about its world
  codified in its language.

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