Extinct Languages

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Orleander, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Not at all, and forgive me if my post read that way. I'll pick and choose the parts I want to assimilate into my life. But the whole culture has to remain intact for it to continue generating artifacts and motifs. Obviously I will hope to return the favor and influence the direction in which it continues to change. The South is already full of external influences, from Taco Bell to Daughtry concerts, so apparently somebody beat me to it.
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  3. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    I think you have to enjoy the race in a kind of gonzo journalism way. Enjoy the event. The drinking, the camaraderie, watching the girls. etc. Oh, and of course the wrecks are exciting too.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I love Gonzo the Muppet, but not gonzo the journalist.

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  7. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Okay, so you support cultures that cut a woman's pussy out ...and you want to that culture to be preserved, right? To remain intact?
    And there are some cultures where beating women for the slightest infraction of the rules is acceptable practice. And you want to preserve that culture, right? To remain intact?
    And there are some cultures that won't allow women to drive cars, or to be seen in public without a "proper" male escort. And you want to preserve that culture, right? To remain intact?
    And the south USA is thought to be racist, as well as beer-guzzlin', gun-totin', wild, rednecks ...and you want that culture preserved? To remain intact?

    That's an odd thing to say ....after you went to great effort to argue for the preservation of cultures. Fraggle, as an outsider, if you influence another cultre, then by the very definition, you're changing it, NOT preserving it. Wanna' think about that again?

    Baron Max
  8. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    Cultures are just experiments in human social organization. Some are successful (even if violent, repressive, etc...) while others are not. The point is that they are experiments. Once you've seen the results of the experiment, why would you wish to preserve the language/culture wholesale if it fails in the face of "superior" (different? nore successful?) culture or decay from within?

    You have the experimental results. Adopt the traits you like, let the experiment go, move on.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    To preserve is not the same thing as to leave intact, when you're talking about human institutions. I don't know why you keep assuming that I'm opposed to beer and guns, since as a Libertarian I oppose drug prohibition and interpret the Second Amendment broadly. Racism has been a part of almost every human culture and the South is just a little slower to give it up, but from here in Maryland I can see it waning in Virginia. Senator Allen arguably lost a slam-dunk election over a racial slur, and his defeat was just as resounding in the western backwoods Redneck counties as in cosmopolitan Arlington and Fairfax. My biggest gripe with Rednecks is the fundamentalist religion that keeps metastasizing out into the rest of the country, but if there's one thing we humans should have learned by now it's that the results of attempts to stamp out a religion are worse than the woes of impatiently coexisting with it.
    Preserving a culture is not like preserving food, vacuum-packing it so nothing can get in or out. No culture exists in a vacuum, at least not civilizations, and not even the remaining Neolithic cultures over the last few centuries. It's our nature to interact with each other, both as individuals and as communities.

    Each culture strives to borrow from other cultures the characteristics that it likes, and to lend to other cultures the characteristics it likes about itself. Neither the most cautious borrower nor the most benign lender can foresee all the results of adopting a great new idea, so there's no practical way to enforce rules to ensure that the exchange always yields exactly what either of them want.

    To change is to live, for an individual or a culture. Sure, cultures will continue to die just as individuals do. That's no reason to avoid borrowing everything they've got that might entertain us or benefit us in other ways. And now that we've got the technology to store the things we can't find a use for--like their languages, legends, music and other arts--there's no harm in letting a future generation make the decision.

    If you're hypothesizing a culture that is so infested with evil, there's no way to protect ourselves from it without destroying it and losing the good parts, well obviously life is full of difficult decisions. Fortunately the Muslim culture you're using as a straw-man is not that irredeemably evil. Some of the practices you mention are already under pressure to change. Others can be endured until their time comes. Scholars point to the eerily similar timelines of Christianity and Islam and see signs that Islam is entering its Reformation. If the parallel holds, its Enlightenment is not far off.

    And suppose I did agree with you that Islamic culture should not be "preserved"? How do I express that? Do I have to stop eating shwarma, drop the Algerian music from my playlist, and burn all of my Persian rugs?
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I never watch The Colbert Report, but tonight I was a little slow in turning off the TV after John Stewart. Colbert's guest was David Harrison, president of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and author of the new book When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge. The publicity campaign for this book is probably what brought this issue to the attention of the press recently.

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