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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 2, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta English, the Internationa anguage Tueidoy, January 2, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD S By Mcirli C. Shumialcher, Regmi lawyer The International Bar Asso- ciatiln met in Monaco in ihe fall of 1972. Lawyers from more than 50 nations converg- ed upon this tiny principally. Officially, the proceedings of the international bar confer- ence were to be conducted in four languages: French, Eng- lish, Spanish and German. Mon- aco's minister of comed Uie delegates. There were formal responses from the officers and principal dele- gates: a few sentences in French and German: one in Spanish, all others addressed the conference in English, net only at the plenary sessions, but ui the smaller seminars and discussion groups. There was no linguistic straining at this titernstional lawyers' meeting, such ts I had witnessed two weeks earl- ier in Montreal, when the Cana- dian Bar Association There, speakers, mar.y in Dief- enbaieresque Fre-ch. sought 10 assure that '-fair" or able'1 exposure wns given io the French language ar all major meetings. Although, for official pur- poses, (he proceedings of t'-is international body could quite readily have been conducted in any one of four hrguaces, there was not a delegate in at- tendance who did not under- stand and speak English. This included lawyers from t h e Client Japanese, Korean and Chinese, Indian and Pakis- tan; practitioners from the Middle East Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Is- and of course, many large numbers of lawyers from the European countries France, Iialy. the Netherlands. Belgium, Denmark. Norway and Sweden. Though the presence and influ- ence of the delegates from the English speaking countries, Ihe United Kingdom. Australia, New Zealand. South Africa, Canada and the United States was apparent throughout, it was not these men and women who dominated the proceedings Esther it was their language that was tacitly but unequivo- cally accepted as the authorita- tive language of die confer- ence. The fact of twentieth century In'e on this planet is that Eng- lish is la langue du monde. It may not be the most euphonious of all languages or the most Ecsthetic. Whether it is the richest in literary content is a matter for debate. The fact that is incontrovertible, how- ever, is that in its universality, i: his come to occupy the stat- us that Latin once enjoyed in the temporal and ecclesiastical affairs of Europe for more than a thousand years. It has dis- placed French as the language of diplomacy. In vulgar ver- sion, it is heard and spoken everywhere. If language is Io do Ihe job it was created for, then its value depends largely upon the num- of people who use it as a tool for sending out and re- ceiving messages. are al- ready able Io fjy abound the world in an hour, and as more of us do precisely that, we shall be making thousands of strangers our neighbors. Now, more than ever before, it is vital that we learn to speak with our global neighbors and understand them and make certain thai they understand us. The risks of failure are loo great. How obvious, then, that there is a need Io and use a language or languages that most of the people in the world where we move,] under- stand. If the nationalistic overtones of language are to rest, it does not become too difficult to choose the languages that are most likely Io serve mankind. It is beheved that something between 3.000 and -5.000 lan- guages are spoken in the world today. The very thought cf so LLBE ALL DAY TOMORROW to get ready for our GIGANTIC NEW YEAR much incomprehensible talking strikes us with all the terrors of a modern Toiver of Babel. But most of these languages are of relatively minor impor- tance in a world of triree billion people. Of the thousands of lan- guages that are used, there are only 149 that are regarded as the main languages those that are spoken by a million people or more. But even of these, most are of minor im- portance. The catalogue of the 149 languages begins v.ith Afri- kaans, spoken by five million people, and ends with Zulu spoken by four millions. IT STARTS THURSDAY, JANUARY 4th 10 SATURDAY, JANUARY 6th WATCH TOMORROW'S PAPER FOR OUR GIANT TWO PAGE ADVERTISEMENT lUSEYOUR Closed Wednesday, January 3rd Opon Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. 10 6 p.m. Shopping Mall ''CHARGE IT Mayor Magrath Drive Even Dutch, spoken bv 19 million people or Kurdish or Norwegian or Danish are lan- guages that have relatively lit- tle currency in the internation- al market of communications. A physicist or a chemist, a dentist or a statistician who knows only Thai. Korean. Pol- ish or Hungarian will be so handicapped in following the developments of thought and research in his field, that he will be virtually living b anoth- er era. Of necessity, he must also have at his command one of the major languages cf the world. Even Swedish. Greek. Hebrew and French stand in the position of minor languages. There is very little that can be done to change the situation: it is a fact fife as real as the geographic location of the people who inhabit the earth. There exist '-the Big Ten languages" in the languages fpoken by 100 mil- lion persons or more. These are Mandarir. Chinese with 605 mil- lions of sneakers: English, with 333 millions: Great with 206 millions. Spanish with 192 millions: Hindi, with 192 millions: German, with iro mil- liors: Arabic, with 109 mi-lions: Bengali, with 108 millions. Por- tuguese, with millions: and Japanese, with 105 millions. Tne choice of ''ten big lan- guages" is. of course, arbitrary. Fifteen or 20 might ecuaily be chosen, or two. Be that as it may. the fact is that with the exception of Mandarin Chinese. English is the most widely spo- ken language in the world. And unquestionably, it is the lan- guage that straddles virtually 'etery field of human know- ledge, science and an. Jacqueline Marx of Sao Paula. Brazil, is a philologist of note who was in France con- ducting a survey of language- feac-hing methods and facilities at the Time of the international bar meeting in Monaco. When taxed by francophones who de- manded to know why French is not included in the ''Big Ten'' lanstiages of the ivorld. she an- swered that it is simply a mat- ter of the number of speakers. "You can't elect a language to the Big Ten." she said, "even if you are the whole French She pointed on; that only SO million people speak French in the world today. Half that number speak Wu. "I don't think you can dis- pute that Wu is wasteful." she said. ''People who speak Wu and nolhmg else are out of luck. There" are millions such in remote Chins. Culturally ajirl economically, a sad crag is ex- ercised on snybody forced to communicate only in one of the 'little languages' like Wu. or for thai matter, Dutch. Kurd- ish or Norwegian. "You are not fully alive today unless you con one of the Ten Big she said. Because the world has grown so sniaU, and our neighbors so varied and so many, the time is approaching when more ar.d more people will simply cease using what Jacqueline M a r x calls those lag Lan- guages that contribute nothing toward sealing the bonds of brotherhood among nations ard people. Wu will no longer do. Czech Js a broken leg an impediment not only Io the peo- ple suffering from it, but to everybody else on earth, since all of us suffer from the drag of back-ward communication.'1 of the national aspira- lions of small groups o[ people who feel their culture and his- tory to be so interwov- en with their language, that one cannot exist without the other? Js there a place for linguistic nationalism in our shrinking world? ii is a peace- ful world we hope TO achieve. A visit to Belgium reveals the potential for hate end violence tha: linguistic differences are capable of generating among citizens of a single naiioa. Even a brief lour of India brings home to ihe most casual ob- server the negative destructive forces that difference? of lan- guage produce within one coun- try that seeks desperately to rationalize its economy ard raise the level of the life of iis people through concerted, co- operative action. Common sense and reason tell us that the benefits of knowledge, sci- ence and human understanding car. be enjoyed by the world's population only if there exisis ways by which io communicate that knowledge, share the mir- acles of science and express Lhe meaning of understanding. TrJs may seem a harsh com- mentary upon the aspirations of those claim the right to leam and Io speak the language of their and to pre- serve Lhelr culmre STK} their traditions. But an analysis of language as a vehicle of though; has nothing to do with :he right to leam or to speak any lan- guage, or any number o: Ian- This right obviously does exist snd in any free so- ciety, i: must be preserved. Freedom of speech necessarily include the freedom to speak in whatever an individual msy choose, or in as many languages as he is can- able of mastering. In assert- ing the right of freedom of speech, coercion is impossible. It is far easier to compel a man or a v.-oman to eat or refrain from eating cer- tain foods, or to wear or re- frain from wearing cer: a i n clothing, than it is to command by law the words that an in- dividual may speik or wriie. As in even' satisfactory human relationship, the choice of lan- guage :ha; is to be spoken and understood mus: be freely made. 1: is in trie free market- place tha; the barter idea con- tends the poorer, we who believe in freedom have long been convinced thst ulu- rnately. it is The bener idea that will prevail. Coercion may moment of triumph, but in ihe long run. it can never succeed. In p. country our o'-m. where a number of Canadians free'.y chcwe :o speak French, one would he foolish, indeed. ;o claim that learning to speak and under- sr-snd it 15 irrelevant or worth- less. There are no Ci. radians who would as-seir That position today, and fre country unquestionably favors the teaching and leamins of French in all Canadian school. On the other harjd. i: is equally uxxish io seek to com- pel people io o.harige their h.b A footer has her uses Eva Brewster COUTTS What i., i You msy well ask. It is nenhc'- a person kic'kiris a hall around nor rit-Cfcisarijy somebody fool- ing a biD. A ''footer may be a v. oman silly enough to go Scoping her and. enjoying it whit: he suffers. Going shopping w-.'ji wives arouses enough passion, in some men ;o cause them to break out in Vir.e break; out into the broadest Si-oulsh dialect you ever heard. Jus; before he hits the roof o: a department store. Eves vsn: to his pent- up feelings by calii'.ti me a "footer." A "footer" too is 2 salesman who says brightly: "Take a look at our 12 black and white te'.i-viFior try it ot.t by all mear.5. I'll be in a jiffy." What- ever be calls a could try the tisuce of i sain: for is r.i: However. of miking gooj use o: the try-out yells at no: to attach thst live wi-e v.lvh expoied terminals in the Kuaiy exuosei virts of the television set coveted. "You'll be electrocuted." he rc'irs. lust to flnj otit 10 mirjutes later that "live" was noth- ing but a crrial. He is not p. "footer." of course, r.jt a gallant protecting his brloved -rom his He doesT: t see tha: I am equally ceraed with his wej'are. trying to ge; his money's worth. by the ing red s.p i_i-' a ir.oih light, he has big p'jr; his hand, prepared K. "j-aies" t without even at hi? purchase he knows is the! r.e V.-ETJ'S that l_" set sr-d. all. haverTi cbETjLS juit purely tha: ine" a "marvellous fall ani Christmas sales above expe-r'tiio. Ir is obvious do Jia these are the stores' of saying to their customers. Ii lake or a like rr.e to cas; doub honorable business practice. Still, bee. I don't to buy a "pig b a because the a footer" Li disgust v.e er; we had intended to u? a ?1 ping spree wiili a; a restaurant and ?_ Little did he lire (ish temyjer has. at last, given me Uie op- portunity to gst him E gift he really wants, My nei't port of call, therefore, is the small radio store in a small country town on my There the owner takes a lot time to jom me End over cata- logues and what 60 we find? The ''spe- cial' in that big department store WES, first of all, last year's mode! and the "sale" price S3) more than the recommended retail price for a 19T3 mode! of the samt brand. We hsd the 5air.e expcj'ienc-e with a stereo-record-player and a fun-fur my hus- band v.-ss solus to buy me. The coat I had sa: my heart on and the siereo set for our son -.vere not p'urzhased because there too tne "ladies I "footered1' too long niy cnotcc-. Aeain. 1 fcmd identical items the next in smaller stores for haif the There jou ii wie fe'J svvoop ''foot- erlng'1 saved us enough for two itm furs oa just three items. All those impatient husbands who are. right now. writing tisir fingers io tbe bxie complaiaing abou, pres- ents tiat never worked, did not or cost far more than should have done, might bspn to appreciate tbe value of tie Still if you happened to buy a set for S124 or thereabouts vhich turned out to be last year's niocel nhen the newest should cost no more than or. bmight a paria or fu-K'-jT for whea you could bay it ir. the store across the road for SIS. I do hope you vviy take it up Pith mansger of your large department store, the chamber of commerce or. if they can't help. tor consumer affairs. Free enterprise has ereat merits but seascxn o: !OVB and will should not be tx-jod nto a free-for-all expioiiatioti of gullible and mcorje people wbo can ill afford to pay through the nose for that could be bought for much !ef? elsev.'r.ere. At letst. t_he stores competed favor- ably. 'J. rot al-.vay? in price, at least in ea-reavor in good to Ibeir cus- tomers. That lessor, was well worth lie of a.-. husband and I bet you t'-ere wiL' a few men will new for their footers' patience, ex- petience and line spsnt. Languages and cultures Bv F. S. Manor, in The Winnipeg Free Press is Lhe o: Morrif rriu.ikjid's b? poorer viihout Shumialcher's ev.eisive no: t'.vvav; ihe K-A-isiriaa or Polish lucid pleading? H i; L; in If everybody 13 write in EngEsh. Canada? Is ;i a shi'J not oiy deprive a vast number of 2 }Cmfh c: their creauve spiri; and the op- Or is i: sirrip'y 3 Dr. Shu- of some 01 their edu- miatcher iliai he l-u-jov.-s the b'j; shall repess io tha guy Enclish ana rhis u'le elite in I.afirc er.oueh for rhem shnu'.d er.jugh for eich o'-her's Is this the for the o: ihe :o Lhc urdversal brother- There a grea: :ry.7; ;j plijy subieco on gri-i: by Pr. Latin v as an adeaua'.e vehicie -'or universal the- expended a Lfcti-ie. and literarure. It led so when an author :s entirely ,-t hon-? r.cit'ter to nor to freedom. It was broken, by ihe "broken-leg" o! Jo- Huss, the -Jdc German of Martin Luther, the of Henry the bat which toa-- c- Boccaccio. tides whose stim coristitutes ou: c'ui- Dr. Shunviatcber is holding uto to us the lure. image of a one-worid that ar.d Darush have re'aiiveiv ;ts iMsrjasres. It's a little in the inte-nstionEJ market but it won't wash One can of communications." the Redna -n variiu? agiiift birijTualism lawjer. .An -12' -c '.he author's Xonverian. S.ver-'-'- V.j--- Bu: to r-ut French on the same Rooks in of spoecn. whts'her hy law? tha; prohibit the speaking of a particular language, or by one ss rtu be cone ID Brazil but horr.o" ir; is an i.T.r-r Of French Canadian I "The Complete Hook o" ;o in iho Home Decorai i n g" iiso of aTiOiher an par; o-f ihe heritage of all and Dnnlap. 11" right of individual v distnhuicd liv .T. McLpod the lancuaee he will sre.ik the lirs-t or.e :.i the present Looking for ideas on how e: r e e ci o ni Onvs's o: can sucii by ihe Swiss es- room or There truly ii will be tiie world nurkeir'fiee iJiat u i 1 "iny oi io be an? bilin- illiistraied book A the which fcorr.s ;o ivf-- b..t those who e'o not need io be so home cocor.itini; upon each person in ef- S-X'nd o; Ian ace ihst hervir.c '.v? od li-cer. o: matter pictuixs anrf noios iour.d price Such decisions ought to be the o; C.iiuds's popula- for such .1 lai-se apart from iiivful b e i i: s. ;n liori'c'. I'v C'.I.T.S a Canadian P. origins, race- or v.ih ,e tbe to Canadian "Canadian C'liildrrn's no for I: i> tv easy .f f he.-e Ian- ouriies'1 a new whole ovar.ce .XT re.s..'.v 1'v land and Stewart. Each book is prior (1 nt pori-orK, in one language, while ;i'.l human havo much in i'.1 ir. the M iv making or The sorios is Inunched by of us is unique. It will of liKi-l t mo cf ,T tiful .loo by Slarshr.l! iii appronchiiis: ihe i I'.e i evieT.v tha and five novels hy Lucy r.r.iong t Ii A 11 no's billion ivopio of In., v ,x i 1'- v Tiio Hluo in t lie "Ten Rig Lie 1. 1 i i flSJti1; Ktnily1.-; Quest ilsiL'71: T; jevnis liopelesp n n-.-'nvuv, ;s T i -P TanclM dtXiP: Anne io ly ,ible to TiXi? :nay lx? gonnxl (o chilo'ren ;i wni-ld in which human undersMnding is Joel opivvssed r'it is tho women in my cbn still in four thousand Pol and 1 1 v p cul.'iv'v .1 of i" men's l ho Anno onclinntinp. Ii is IMir.-lini: (fur lanpiaces. if ('HW are not (o I ho a of ery invk in linguist T f iv: i ibe of a f ll'i1 doc :n 1; .1, :v- c ii "i i L' i is inr :o In the to aihani'e national LX D, ona truly pcruicnl qinvuon; Camda shall itrooro n nt ;