Home Forums Reflection Forum Reflection 2.1 – Owning a Language (pt 1)

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    • #2347
      admin adminadmin

      This is an interesting question…The first other language that springs to mind is Spanish. It it widely spoken, and perhaps most associated with Spain (although Spain itself had a number of other language like Basque, Catalan, Galician etc.) but despite being named for it and originating there, Spain certainly doesn’t own Spanish. As we all know, the US, Mexico, Central and South America have their own numerous varieties of Spanish. In the US, there is Chicano Spanish, for instance, which is a language in its own right, owned by those who speak it (https://www.pdx.edu/multicultural-topics-communication-sciences-disorders/chicano-english). At the same time, though Spain in the only country in Europe where Spanish is spoken “natively” there are Spanish users all over the continent, and Spanish does indeed belong to them. I speak a mix of Castilian Spanish, Mexican Spanish and Colombian Spanish, so…what is that then? I suppose that would be my own Spanish, that I took from different sources and made my own, far from a “Standard” variety but given that I use it, I own it. I hope this makes sense…Does anyone have other examples?

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/11/owning-language-pt-1

      • This topic was modified 3 years ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3736

      India,as an Outer circle Country speaks English as a second language. T

    • #4084

      Somehow, I understand why English speakers from Inner Circle own the language since they have been speaking the language for the longest time. But, they need to understand that as globalization takes place, English is theirs anymore. Everyone who speaks the language owns it whether they are from the Inner Circle or not.
      I speak not just English, I also speak our native language, Japanese and even Spanish. And whenever I hear some foreigners speak our native language, I never feel that I own the language. As a matter of fact, I feel honored to hear them speak our native language as if it’s theirs too.

    • #4150

      In my opinion noone ‘owns’ any language. The very sense of ownership might create unnecessary restrictions on language in using it and then again create void in the user’s/learner’s mind – the feeling that they use some other’s language filling them with inferiority complex.
      When it comes to Sri Lankan Tamil, it’s mutually intelligible by all Tamil speakers across the globe belonging to different geographical locations whereas when it comes to Sinhala language, it’s only confined to the island nation. Though it doesn’t come under the so called international band, it belongs to a rich language family.

    • #4216

      In the past, when the mobility and communication were limited to geographical location, a language could be associated to certain group of people. Yet, by the development of technology and high mobility, a language be own by anybody. Any people can learn language, the community who use that language can modify and create their own dialect.

    • #4530
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      There is no individual owner of a language be it from the inner circle, outer or expanded circles. So English can be propergated around the world by the inner circle, but to own or tame it… I find unrealistic. To give an example, Hausa language is spoken intra- and inter-nationally. But the Nigerian speakers of the language cannot but marvel at how the language has taken new forms in Ghana, Chad, Niger, CAR, Togo and other countries. Best we can do is to drop that monolithic mentality; distribute and use the language according to the needs and the terrains.

    • #4577

      An example that came to my mind is Chinese, which is not a homegenous language as it includes Mandarin, Cantonese, Hunanese, etc. In the times of globalisation, people of Chinese origin can be found all around the globe forming their own communities and blending their native Chinese dialect with local languages, thus creating new varieties with its own unique structure, lexis and pronunciation. I strongly believe that in the future we’ll observe more and more of such blended varieties of many languages.

    • #4692

      Yes, est 1841 (admin)!! I was just thinking about how the Real Academia tries to control Spanish and tells other Spanish speakers their words aren’t real! A band from Puerto Rico (Calle 13) sometimes makes commentary on the control over the language Spain still seems to think it has.

    • #4707

      According to my opinion, there is the whole ownership of each language for its’ native speakers. For instances; English language has the ownership for inner countries like UK, USA. Then, Sinhala language for Sri Lanka, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam languages for India, and etc. When English language is spoken and utilized by the other nations, there is the possibility of changing the originality of the native speakers’ language and inspired the other varieties of English like Standard Sri Lankan English, Standard Malaysian English, Standard Indian English and etc.
      On the contrary, there is another opinion as well. English language dominates the whole globe. Other countries can not be developed without English language. In other words, English language has become an essential tool that the other nations can’t live without.

    • #5197

      The same idea of ownership of a language applies to Portuguese. Can we really say that Portugal owns the language when it is spoken by over 211 million Brazilians? We’re not even considering other varieties of Portuguese, such as the Portuguese spoken in Angola and Macau, for example.

    • #5244

      According to the history of the English language, French and Latin had a significant influence on the language.

    • #5264

      Q1: To whom does Spanish ‘belong’?
      Spain? – ‘parental home’ of the language with the Real Academica Espanola (Spanish Royal Academy) which advocates a Spain-centric focus meaning that Spanish originated in Spain must be accepted by default as standard/acceptable Spanish. All other varieties are treated as deficient.

      Americas? – The expansion of Spanish to the Americas with the conquests during the 15th century later developed a number of national and regional linguistic norms. Americas became an agent of Spanish- every ten people who speak Spanish, nine live in the Americas.

      I would go for la lengua de todos meaning it is no longer a single nationality that creates the language, but speakers of Spanish are, in an ongoing and creative way.

    • #5268

      A international language is Spanish, many countries in the Latin America speak spanish. I know a language that is understood to be limited to ‘intra-national’ or ‘regional’ status, it is the languagge of the indians from Brazil. They have their own languagge called ´Tupiguarani` and I think this language belongs to that tribes.

    • #5280

      I can see that there is a possibility that the outer circle and the expanding circle can own the language if they have been using it for many purposes constantly in years and they are demanding this language to function more properly in their communications with other nations. Surprisingly, this kind of interaction and attention to this shift will change society’s expectations in using the English language more seriously and naturally. That’s why we can see from history that, it becomes like their mother tongue alongside other languages. But as a learner of the English language, many people are aiming to learn the version of English which is spoken in English Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of American, because even varieties of Englishes will serve different purposes and positions and the resources and materials like textbooks and media will provide many people around the world with this English which industrialized and serve people with the education that can define the upcoming educational systems and professional skills that would benefit the whole people in the system.
      However, seeing the English language as plurilithic thing, people will be much more open-minded and powerful to communicate one’s own opinion, beliefs, trades, and targeted missions with accessibility and acceptability they could consider to achieve worldwide, something that is free and valued in any perspective and aspects despite having the distinguishing features and the rules in the Englishes.

    • #5294

      Norse words also had a very great influence on English.

    • #5320

      Yorkshire, Scouse, Brummie, Bristolian, Pitmatic, Mandem, Mackem, Cockney, Geordie, Welsh, Edinburgh, Glaswegian, Mancunian, Northern Irish… all in the UK, ain’t them?

    • #5353
      Julio TorresJulio Torres

      I am a native speaker of Spanish but i am happy to see how widely wspread it is now, I do not think the native speakers own their mother tongue, in fact, it belongs to anyone who uses it for communicative purposes. English, Spanish, French and other languages in the eastern world are being used as international languages and due to the geopolitics of English, it has become a lingua franca. However, this does not prevent people from functioning as plurilingual sepakers in a multilingual world. In the future there might be other lingua francas and English might be part of them, who knows? it can be Spanish, Chinese or Arabic or prurilingualism will be the international norm and ¿who will claim ownership then?

    • #5396

      Reflect here on the extent to which other languages you know or know about are ‘international’ in this sense. I am familiar with Modern Standard Arabic, which, as its name implies, has many regional varieties, some possibly barely mutually comprehensible.

      Do you know or know about languages which are understood to be limited to ‘intra-national’ or ‘regional’ status? Sicilian dialect is markedly regional and rather looked down upon, compared to Italian deriving from Tuscany!

      In your opinion, is it possible for these languages to be owned by others in the same way that Widdowson argues for English? I suppose the notion of ‘ownership’ is a metaphor for describing who decides what is linguistically acceptable and what is not. Sicilian will never match English by geographical spread so I don’t think regional languages will ever be owned in the same way that Widdowson argues is the case for English.

    • #5410

      In my opinion, there would be so many variations of English across the globe that suit the specific country and culture and English can no longer be owned by countries in the inner circle. So we need to embrace that English has expanded to become many Englishes!!

    • #5418

      I don’t think that language is owned by a group of people. It may identify a group of people because of geographical location and of common nationality and customs. Apart from English, French and Spanish are two languages that can be considered “international”. French is the official language in a lot of organisations, such as NATO and the European Union. It is also spoken in Canada, in Switzerland, in Algeria, in French Polynesia and other former French colonies. Spanish is spoken in most countries in South America besides Spain. Is it possible for someone to claim ownership of the language?

    • #5419

      Although there are variations of English no one is the same as the other. I do not believe language is owned by one specific group or area as there are many variations of English that make languages unique depending on their geographical location. I believe a universal language is needed.

    • #5480

      A language cannot be owned. Besides English, French and Spanish are two languages that are spoken by millions of people around the world. That does not mean that the language is owned but rather that it identifies certain populations residing in certain areas and the influences they have received during the course of time.

    • #5513
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      We may say that a language cannot be owned by a nation, yet, in general, nations , peoples and leaders seem to believe they own the language. In Mexico there are 68 indigenous languages, and more and more we see that people with an indigenous ethnic bacground speak Spanish a a fors or even as an only language. Because of many circumstances, for example the fact that the Spanish thew grow with in their communities is often predominantly speken by non-native, or as a native language in a context of non-native speakers, the boundaries between native/non-native becomes really fussy.Consequently, the Spanish spoken by indigenous people have a series of features that are not considered native-like, regardless the fact that, as I said, it might be the more predominant or only language spoken by them.

      However, before the eyes of non indigenous people, the so called indigenous Spanish is not a legitimate way of speaking Spanish, and consequently the speakers would not be thought of as owners of the language: they do not own the language, the are seen as learners, rather than as users of Spanish, and they are constatly under pressure, especially in educational contexts, to ‘increase’ their proficiency level, to ‘whiten’ their way of speaking Spanish.

      So we have a case here where not foreigners, but nationals, people who were born in Mexico, are not considered to own Spanish, their language…

    • #5566

      As someone else wrote in a previous comment, I feel honoured when foreigners (and I’m including Italians) learn a few words in Sardinian, my local language: it doesn’t belong to me.

    • #5592

      The other language I have came across with a large amount of variations is Spanish but I believe that anyone can take ownership of a language. If the language is used in a different context it may not evolve in the same way. This could explain why Latin American Spanish continues to use “usted” as the plural form of you, informal language was not allowed to be used by indigenous people during colonisation. Another interesting example of a language that is proudly spoken far away from its origin is Welsh in Patagonia and there are countless others. Even the pockets of different immigrant or expat communities in foreign countries will still proudly speak their mother tongue to one another, no matter how common or rare it is. This in turn helps the language proliferate and overlap with local dialects.

    • #6642

      Well, I’m from South America, and my mother tongue is Spanish. There is still a strong belief among some people that Spain owns Spanish, and the Real Academia Española (RAE) dictates the correct usage of the language. However, with more than 500 million of speakers and 21 countries where Spanish is the official language, I believe there’s not a single owner of Spanish but it is owned by the diversity of its users, who develop their creativity through its daily use.

    • #7228
      Trang NguyenTrang Nguyen

      When I first read the question, Chinese is the first language that comes to my mind. It is spoken from numerous people around the world (one reason is for its huge population) and people might assume that only Chinese people speak this language. However, due to immigration of Chinese people, their ancestors lives almost in every continents. Chinese is an official language in Hong Kong, China, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore and is spoken in 21 other countries as mother tongue by a part of the population. Therefore, Chinese does not belong to a particular group because of its diverse users.

    • #7459

      Certainly, there are numerous languages recognized to possess primarily “intra-national” or “regional” significance, like Tamil, Hindi, Urdu languages in India. These languages are often confined to specific geographical areas within a nation and might lack widespread global recognition. Examples include regional dialects, indigenous languages, and minority languages. While they might not enjoy the prominence of internationally recognized languages, these linguistic treasures play a crucial role in preserving cultural heritage and facilitating communication within their local communities

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