In the Scotsman newspaper columnist Fiona McCade has contributed to the world of journalism one of the most selfish, self-centred, unimaginative and myopically stupid articles I’ve ever had the sorry misfortune to read.
“According to scientists at Pennsylvania State University, between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of the world’s languages will disappear over the next 100 years. They think this is terrible news. I’m not so sure.
Anybody who has tried to learn another language knows that diversity can be overrated, especially when it means you have to learn irregular verbs.
The languages most likely to perish over the next century will be ones spoken by a couple of hundred people.
The big hitters, like English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, aren’t going anywhere and to be honest, if everyone on Earth spoke one, two, or ideally all three of these, wouldn’t we get on with each other a whole lot better?”
Not with philistines like you to share the planet with. How any civilized person can greet with happy equanimity the loss of entire languages and cultures from the story of the human race is beyond me.
And how any intelligent person can believe that sharing the same languages will affect how we “get on with each other” is baffling. Has this woman ever read a history book? Ignorance may be bliss but this is just sheer idiocy.
“It’s always worth studying another language – but let it be a useful one.
My husband, who speaks some Manx Gaelic, wants our son to learn Goidelic. If the kid agrees it’s fine by me, but let’s be brutal here, it won’t do him much good outside Scotland and Ireland, will it? And it’s useless for visiting warm, exotic places.”
Is it just me or does this feel a little like voyeurism? It tells me more about Fiona McCade’s personality (and relationships) than I’m really comfortable knowing (“the kid”?). I wonder has she copped that her surname is of Gaelic origin. Probably not. What would the functional utilitarian point of that be?
“If my child’s second language is Gaelic, I’m going to insist on a more globally-beneficial third, like Spanish, which instantly opens up the sunniest country in Europe, almost all of South America and a fair chunk of the southern states of the US.
Also, as I understand it, with Spanish you get Italian almost-free. It’s practically a two-for-one offer.”
She’s going to “insist”? I’m sure she is (shiver…). And learning to speak Spanish means you can “practically” speak Italian, too? Really?
“My main concerns are the sort of environmental changes that cause languages to become extinct. I’d rather we concentrate on saving people and the ecosystems that they are part of, and let the languages look after themselves.”
Are you sure that “saving people” is your main concern? Or are you one of those foofoo environmentalists who would quiet happily move the proposed site of a hydroelectric dam 50 miles up the jungle to inundate a tribal village or two in order to save a particularly pretty flower?
“Diversity is fine, but I think I prefer unity and the things that bring us closer together.”
Closer? In this case: no thank you!
- Scotland Moves Forward – While Ireland Goes Into Reverse (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Gaelic North America (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Caithness – Its As Gaelic As Gallaibh! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Everyone Loves The Scottish Language But The… (ansionnachfionn.com)