Josh McNeill

Language, Music, Louisiana.

Month: December 16, 2016

Pluarlistic globalism and endangered languages.

I finally finished watching this over breakfast this morning. Something interesting from a linguistic perspective is that they don’t seem to use any English words in their Cherokee despite heavy contact, perhaps because they go to lengths to create new words for new things (see 35:00). This is not the strategy taken elsewhere, such as in Louisiana and the Maritimes (although Quebec tries to do this at least officially).

First Language, The Race to Save Cherokee by Neal Hutcheson on Vimeo.

Also, I think the quote at the end is particular fitting given the current social and political climate throughout the West. He positions the idea of a strong local culture within a broader context that doesn’t necessarily need to reject larger over-arching cultures or even global interconnectedness:

“If we consider what it actually means to be a pluralistic society, then that means we’re gonna have to make space for people who speak different languages, who think different ways, who have different cultures, inside of a national culture or a global culture, and so all the movement has been in the opposite direction towards globalization, towards homogenization, you know? What does it mean to change the process and open up space for a plurality of different small cultures working together? How can we truly accept and respect those people and allow them some measure of autonomy with their educational system and the language that they speak?” –Hartwelll Francis de West Carolina University, ma traduction

An interesting cup of coffee.

I’m transcribing some broadcasts from Louisiana in French for a class on language change. For the recents broadcasts, I chose the show La Tasse de café on KVPI, and for the old broadcasts, the series En français, which was broadcast by Louisiana Public Broadcasting, a public TV station, in the 80s and 90s. I’m analyzing the variation between third person plural subject pronouns, meaning ils, ils -ont, ça, eux and eux-autres, but something that I immediately noticed in relation to the speech of Ms. Ledet, who was born in 1919, is that she employs many constructions that make her speech sound like that of the French in formal contexts. You don’t hear these constructions in the speech of Mr. Soileau and Mr. Manuel on KVPI (the former being born in 1941, the latter, I don’t know):

Ms. Ledet on En français

It’s not clear if this stems from a difference in region, in age, in interlocutor (the interviewer on En français seems rather France French), in interaction with francophones from elsewhere, or something else, but it’s interesting nonetheless. The corpus I’m constructing is small, because it’s just for a term paper, but I intend to extend it and possible perform other analyses.

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