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A study on how bilingual Polish-English speakers think


jon357 71 | 19,994
8 Jun 2022 #31
Trying to manipulate language due to French wounded feelings or switching to English as a lingua franca?
Miloslaw 14 | 4,508
8 Jun 2022 #32
@jon357

French has lost.
English has won.
I say this as a fluent speaker of both languages.
Novichok 3 | 6,771
8 Jun 2022 #33
English has won.

That was not a fair fight.
jon357 71 | 19,994
9 Jun 2022 #34
I say this as a fluent speaker of both languages

You're right.

My last overseas job was actually connected with a country in Africa officially moving away from French. Their government feels it puts them at a disadvantage

Ironically, being there improved my French no end...
mafketis 35 | 11,201
9 Jun 2022 #35
a country in Africa officially moving away from French.

Were they doing something sane like trying to develop and empower local languages or doing something insane like trying to recreate a state bureaucracy in a foreign language?

Africa usually goes for the latter option (one of many reasons that development gets stalled there)
jon357 71 | 19,994
9 Jun 2022 #36
something insane

Not so insane in that case. They have several very different languages and some class and ethnic conflict about dominant groups.

An unusual country with a very complex social and ethnic structure which faces unique challenges.

They've used French as the language of bureaucracy which Ironically is spoken better by the less advantaged groups.

Of local languages, the one spoken by the ruling class is not spoken in any other country. The less prestigious languages are also spoken by neighbours that they have sometimes tense relations with.

Bilingualism is common, however it's rarely between two local languages. It involves French and they're acutely aware that it is of limited use and and associated with particularly exploitative colonialism.

There's also the role of Arabic which is used in religion but is politically awkward for many. Hence a long term project to increase the role of English so they can negotiate more easily in business and relations with Britain, America and elsewhere.
mafketis 35 | 11,201
9 Jun 2022 #37
several very different languages and some class and ethnic confl

Many or most African countries have day to day national lingua francas that are not European languages (Lingala in Congo, West African Pidgin* in Nigeria, Wolof in Senegal etc)

Wouldn't it make sense to institutionalize these (a long-term project for sure)

a long term project to increase the role of English so they can

become culturally dependent on a different non-African country and facilitate emigration?

*rapidly beocming a separate language, the BBC service is interesting in that regard but their orthography (mostly traditional English spelling) is a disaster....

bbc.com/pidgin
jon357 71 | 19,994
9 Jun 2022 #38
day to day national lingua francas

One problem with that country is that it doesn't. The language spoken by the ruling class isn't spoken in the most populated part of the country where there are three unrelated languages plus French.

culturally dependent on a different non-African country and facilitate emigration?

When they emigrate it tends to be to Spain or France, some to America a few to the Emirates. If anything they're a country with inward migration from Burkino, Senegal, Mali and Ivory Coast rather than outward.

They're a long way from being dependant on anywhere however younger people have discovered things like breaking bad and games of thrones which are rebroadcast on satellite TV or online.

One part of the appeal of closer links with Britain is that we ask very little in return and don't try to force our culture or consumer goods on anyone. People can take or leave what they like.

They survived the onslaught of French attempts to culturally and linguistically dominate and are good at picking and choosing cultural input.

Most of the country has no electricity though and their society/societies are very strong and thriving. China is a greater threat however their culture is too alien.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
9 Jun 2022 #39
Not only an unfair fight, but I'm curious as to exactly what Miloslaw means by "English won". What precisely was the victory then? Does he mean a Pyrrhic victory of sorts, or instead that nearly half the world recognizes English, where-as most other language lack the identical instantaneous "face" recognition?

I believe that there can be no winners and no losers in such a fictive battle, but rather that whichever language becomes the most widely used, always runs the eternal risk of becoming the most ABused as well, as has been the case of contemporary English:-)
Novichok 3 | 6,771
9 Jun 2022 #40
I believe that there can be no winners and no losers

There is a clear winner and it's English.

Here is a hypothetical test. Ask non-English speakers what language they would want to learn if they could choose only one during their entire life. So, it would be their native language and language X - till they drop dead.

Name X.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
9 Jun 2022 #41
In an ethnocentric or Anglocentric universe, you might well be correct, Rich! However, not even in a perfect world, we all see English through the prism of our non-English mother tongue, refracted through the most imperfect lense of the language of those who do not call English their primary tongue.
Novichok 3 | 6,771
9 Jun 2022 #42
Now try the same in English.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
9 Jun 2022 #43
Merely turn on your brain........slowly, this time.
Novichok 3 | 6,771
9 Jun 2022 #44
How about naming X, first.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
9 Jun 2022 #45
To downshift for some of us, (Rich, this means you LOL) all I meant was that NO language, and this includes of course machine or artificial languages, is the "best" or "the perfect" or, heaven knows, the so-called "easiest" language in the world!

If ease of "communication" is the gold standard here against which all languages must be somehow judged, English loses hands down, buddy boy!! It's a no brainer, dude. Look, English spelling's a nightmare, pronunciation or phonemic vs, graphemic correlation's a livin' mess, and the language is sooooo bleedin' pluracentric that even the term "English" has to be qualified in order to make any sense whatsoever.

There's Americanlish, English, Franglish, Canadlish, Indlish, Poglish, Germlish, Russlish and so forth and so on, I couldn't even begin to keep count.

French possibly makes some sense as a candidate for a world language. Chinese is ONLY spoken by Chinese native speakers since they never colonized and Spanish never quite achieved either the cache or the renown she felt she deserved.

However, back at last to the thread topic, and a fascinating one at that! Authentic bilingualism is, although not quite a myth, almost a sort of chimera, since no two people whom I've met, are absolutely 100% at home in more than one language.

I grew up hearing German first, English second. Yet, English, not German was the priniciple language of instruction until I was seventeen, and I only lived in Germany for just shy of a year. That was a long time ago, even if I'd been back to Germany practically twice a year from '85-'01.

Those here or elsewhere who claim they are bilingual and are always seeking to prove it, often teasing those who conversely claim to know foreign languages, probably are quicker on the GoogleTranslate key:-) Even the top spies who can infiltrate into another country and "fool" the people for a stretch, in nearly every case trip themselves up at some point.
jon357 71 | 19,994
10 Jun 2022 #46
top spies who can infiltrate into another country and "fool" the people for a stretch, in nearly every case trip themselves up

It's almost impossible to successfully pretend to be native British. I've seen people try and fail including in Warsaw. One was even wearing a kilt.

Many German tried during the Second World War. All were caught and either turned to be double agents or hanged.

Even the Russians put their sleeper agents in America. In the UK, it's much harder.
Ziemowit 14 | 4,404
10 Jun 2022 #47
A British friend of mine (native English-speaking person from northern England) once told me a story about meeting a guy on a train from London to Manchester. The guy was speaking perfect English and my friend couldn't work out where about England the guy came from. So he asked and was told that the guy was from... Paris!
Miloslaw 14 | 4,508
10 Jun 2022 #48
The guy was speaking perfect English

I have met a few Dutch people who spoke perfect English, albeit with an American accent.
jon357 71 | 19,994
10 Jun 2022 #49
that the guy was from... Paris

There may have been more to his life story. There are certainly British communities abroad where English is used perfectly albeit in an archaic way that is obvious to a trained ear.

perfect English

They grow up watching British TV however passing as an English person is far harder, especially outside London.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
10 Jun 2022 #50
In my opinion, it's the humor thing that get's 'em every time!
The issue of utter and complete indistinguishability from an English native speaker ALWAYS falls short when the English is too absolutely correct, both grammatically, lexically, even idiomatically.

Native speakers NEVER nail it all the time because they're actually speaking, not imitating their own language.

English, especially the US variety, is normally little else than one big slangy joke on itself, with precious little "correct" in casual aka natural expression.

Foreign mimic of English: Take a glimpse at our card and once you've decided, feel free....
Native speaker with zero interference: Once you know whatcha want, just give a holler....
pawian 197 | 19,901
10 Jun 2022 #51
It's almost impossible to successfully pretend to be native British

Some people have a problem with it. 3 years ago I was puzzled by a situation when some posters who I had tensions with truly believed I was delph. But I have never used English like a native.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
10 Jun 2022 #52
You're smart, pawian. I was nearly fooled once by somebody in Vienna, introduced to me as a Brit.
She tried to fool me with songs from G & S such as "Yum-Yum's Song" from the Mikado etc.
It nearly worked until it came down to loose horsing around together, the acid test of the native Anglophone; she failed the test:-)

Even when I lived in Berlin, I never pretended I was German. Oh, it took people nearly an eternity to figure out that I was from the States, but in the end of course, I never failed to blow my cover LOL
mafketis 35 | 11,201
10 Jun 2022 #53
Many German tried during the Second World War. All were caught

IIRC this was usually related to being unfamiliar with finer details of British life (one case was apparently related to pub hours).

In the US forgetting nor not knowing how minor fine-grained details work isn't such a tell (since there's a lot of internal mobility and things work differently in different places) but in the UK at the time not knowing certain things (not included in their training) was like a big red flag and spotlight.
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
10 Jun 2022 #54
RIgheeo! As the Dutch couldn't get the Germans to say S-C-H-E-V-E-N-I-N-G-E-N properly without messing up, no Nazi spy passed the baseball test, e.g. Ted William's batting average:-)
Novichok 3 | 6,771
10 Jun 2022 #55
English, especially the US variety, is normally little else than one big slangy joke on itself, with precious little "correct" in casual aka natural expression.

Do you talk like this to your loved ones or those you hate?

Native speaker with zero interference: Once you know whatcha want, just give a holler....

Only in Lyzko hell.
Me: What would you like?
jon357 71 | 19,994
10 Jun 2022 #56
this was usually related to being unfamiliar with finer details of British life

Sociolinguistics too. Who would say what and on what context. Which phrases would jar if a particular person said them. Slightly inappropriate use of low frequency phrases.

was like a big red flag

"Good day host, may I have please a large bitter beer,, and one portion of pig's scratchings"
Lyzko 37 | 8,549
10 Jun 2022 #57
No sirree, only to my closest, bosom enemies!
mafketis 35 | 11,201
10 Jun 2022 #58
Sociolinguistics too. Who would say what and on what context.

I remember when I lived in a teacher's dorm a Brit* was trying to pin down Americans by accent... I tried to tell him that just wasn't a thing in the US in the same way because of mobility and the existence of GAE (General American English) which is available to anyone who wants to use it.... (I don't think there's an equivalent in the UK)

That's not to say different accents don't exist or that they're not noticed (I could distinguish town and country accents in the small place I grew up in - but I found that out by accident and not in a general atmosphere of micro-examinging how people speak).

*weirdly his accent was.... partly rhotic? he pronounced the r in car but not the r in park... is that a northern thing? I think he was northern....
jon357 71 | 19,994
10 Jun 2022 #59
that a northern thing?

More West Country however one town in the North-west does it. Five miles outside the town they don't. The town is called Burnley and it's probably due to migration from elsewhere nearly two centuries ago.
Atch 17 | 3,683
11 Jun 2022 #60
Burnley

In Lancashire :) I believe it's also a thing in Manchester if you live on the Rochdale side. The character of Haley in Coronation Street had that accent.


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