A critical look at Canada's second-language acquisition policy.

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Sean in Ottawa

oops

Sean in Ottawa

First the stats are not just the cost of providing language instruction- these are the overall costs of doing everything in both languages. It includes production costs of bilingual documents, translations, as well as the provision of services.

The focus is on providing service to people in the language of their choice for the most part-- and many have said this is the weakness as that is obviously essential but does not make a population bilingual.

And in that sense the spending and the above evaluation are out of whack. We spend a lot in duplicating materials in both languages and the provision of service in both languages and I would say that for the most part this is working and necessary but it would not be newsworthy to say we spend a lot on providing service in both languages and guess what we actually do that. It is unreasonable to apply the entire budgets of three objectives (the first the provision of services in both languages, second the official translation of records and documents and third the education of a second language) to an evaluation of only one, and indeed the least costly of the three. Those who prepared the report and press release knew or ought to have known that their figures were misleading by including the costs of official translation, provision of services and education. Further the cost of provision and translation in many budgets includes production costs that otherwise would have been applied in part anyway to a unilingual production. (For example if you do two books totally 50,000 copies and 10,000 are in French, it is unreasonable to assume that the entire cost of the French edition is a cost of bilingualism since if everyone spoke English you would then be doing 50,000 English rather than 40,000 but many budgets put the entire cost of provision to French users of documents as a cost of bilingualism.The reason is these projects are not quoted or broken down to identify the DIFFERENCE between the run on of one language and the separate edition in a different language.) I suspect that the comparisons to overseas are like comparing chickens to oranges.

As a Canadian I find it offensive to question essentials in this way since we do not have a single budget to draw accurate information and such a line of question can easily lead to bigotry.

That said, it is a problem that our population is not more bilingual. There are specific measures that could be done to get more value but these would involve spending more rather than less. I think all adults who wish language training ought to be able to get it for free and that current schools can be organized to provide such training in evenings etc.

Second, the standards for second language training, the materials they use, the importance within the curriculum and the support provided is pathetically out of touch with our national reality. I live in Ottawa and was shocked to learn how low an expectation they have for French in spite of the fact that employment in this city is usually conditional on bilingualism. 

I also believe that the lack of freely available second language training to adults and the low delivery of it to minors is feeding resentment by people coming out of the system unequipped for life in a bilingual country. However it is not the need for bilingualism that should be questioned but the inadequate preparation of our population for it.

Finally, I can address the cost of provision of services in at least one way where we can get better value. It used to be cheaper to produce one longer "flip" publication in both languages rather than two editions one in each language. However as preproduction costs have gone down and paper, ink and running have gone up this is no longer the case. I think government could save money by producing more "two separate language editions" than bilingual ones. In other words we might find efficiencies in delivery. I do not want to see any compromises to the value of provision of services and frankly that would not change no matter what the cost. Show me how to do it at less cost-- fine but don't argue that we should not do it.

Another unrelated point-- we also need to be spending more to protect first nation languages that are disappearing  while we argue about things that ought to be recognized as fundamental to who we are.Or, to put it another way, will these right wing idiots kindly calculate the cost both economic and social of NOT being bilingual, of not providing those services to our entire population, of educating even fewer into a second language than we do now. The cost would exceed the current spending and would drive at the soul of our country as well as at its business and budgets.

 

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

I have no time to talk with conventional bigots, let alone liars and loony-tunes - I simply point out their mendacity and illogical leaps. Speaking of which, here's yet another strawman:

Quote:
Do you really think that it should be the governmetn's priority to have all Canadians speak both English and French when some Canadians speak neither?

Which government of Canada has ever stated such a priority? 

 

Well, if the federal government spends money on teaching Canada's second official language to civil servants who speak one of them already while 8% of Nunavummiut still can't speak one of them, doesn't that suggest that the federal government prioritizes English-French bilingualism among civil servants over haivng those 8% of Nunavummiut learn at least one of Canada's official languages? What do you think should take priotrity between ensuring that federal civil servants in Victoria BC can speak French and ensuring that all Canadians can speak at least one official language?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Machjo's feigned concern for aboriginal and other non-european peoples is not only hypocritical, it is another complete fabrication on his part:

Quote:
"Esperanto undoubtedly is easy to learn if you are of above-average linguistic ability and already know a West European language. If you do not fall into this category, you will not find it very easy to learn Esperanto... One problem is... that Esperanto often abandons structural consistency in favour of using `international' root words, which are supposed to be easier to learn. Unfortunately these words are not in fact international at all, but rather Latin or West European in most cases. If you do not speak a European language - and most of the world does not - you have a lot of learning to do. My own experience of teaching Esperanto in Singapore has persuaded me that it is a terribly difficult language for Asians to learn. So far as China is concerned, in an article which appeared in Esperanto magazine this April, Professor Liu Xiaojun wrote that only those Chinese who have already learnt English or French are able to learn Esperanto easily...

from the Artificial Language Lab

 

Machjo

And in that sense the spending and the above evaluation are out of whack. We spend a lot in duplicating materials in both languages and the provision of service in both languages and I would say that for the most part this is working and necessary but it would not be newsworthy to say we spend a lot on providing service in both languages and guess what we actually do that. It is unreasonable to apply the entire budgets of three objectives (the first the provision of services in both languages, second the official translation of records and documents and third the education of a second language) to an evaluation of only one, and indeed the least costly of the three. Those who prepared the report and press release knew or ought to have known that their figures were misleading by including the costs of official translation, provision of services and education. Further the cost of provision and translation in many budgets includes production costs that otherwise would have been applied in part anyway to a unilingual production. (For example if you do two books totally 50,000 copies and 10,000 are in French, it is unreasonable to assume that the entire cost of the French edition is a cost of bilingualism since if everyone spoke English you would then be doing 50,000 English rather than 40,000 but many budgets put the entire cost of provision to French users of documents as a cost of bilingualism.The reason is these projects are not quoted or broken down to identify the DIFFERENCE between the run on of one language and the separate edition in a different language.) I suspect that the comparisons to overseas are like comparing chickens to oranges.

I have to disagree. I believe that it is quite reasonable to include all non-education related costs, including translation and interpretation, on the following grounds. If we could ensure that all succeeded in learning a common second language, well, this woudl in fact reduce the need for translation and interpretation considerably. This gets back to my point bere that Canadians tend to compartmentalize things, making them unable to see relationships. Yes, my focus of the thread is on reforming second-language education and not translation policy. But  it goes without saying that if more of the population were bilingual, the cost of translators would go down owing to supply and demand, and the need for translators would drop. So we'd see both a drop in demand for interpretors and a rise in the supply. Needless to say this would have a spinoff effect across the economic system well beyond just education. Again, we have to stop compartmentalizing things so much.

 As a Canadian I find it offensive to question essentials in this way since we do not have a single budget to draw accurate information and such a line of question can easily lead to bigotry.

If you have a better source of data, please let me know. Trust me, I'd tried to avoid the CTF info because I knew that it could be biassed. But guess what, it seems they're in fact in the lead in Canada as far as this kind of info is concerned. 

 That said, it is a problem that our population is not more bilingual. There are specific measures that could be done to get more value but these would involve spending more rather than less. I think all adults who wish language training ought to be able to get it for free and that current schools can be organized to provide such training in evenings etc.

 Now I might be able to agree with something here. Let's suppose that every school was banned from making any second language compulsory unless it could guarantee a reasonable chance of success, then I might be able to agree with it. Bear in mind though that this would push schools into a corner. They could either just stop making a second language compulsory in school, offer an easier alternative like Esperanto, or ask the Ministry of education for more money to improve their second-language acquisition programme. This would also put pressure on Ministries of Education. They would be forced to make a choice between simply allowing schools to not teach any second language any more, offering easier alternative second languages, or giving them more money. I beleive that any of these three options would be a step forward from what we have now, with schools forcing students to sit in second-language classes, with a low chance of success, and insufficient resources to raise the chance of success to a reasonable level. Bear in mind though that this would also involve convincing the public to accept a tax hike ot pay for this. Nothing is free after all. But if the public were willing to pay more taxes, maybe I could go with your idea. 

Second, the standards for second language training, the materials they use, the importance within the curriculum and the support provided is pathetically out of touch with our national reality. I live in Ottawa and was shocked to learn how low an expectation they have for French in spite of the fact that employment in this city is usually conditional on bilingualism. 

This is not uniques to Canada. According to a survey in Western Europe in 2001, only about 6% of Western Europeans  are functional in English. Vivianne Redding had stated that it was not even realistic to expect the entire European population to become bilingual (right now it's estimated from 44 to 54% of EU citizens are bilingual in their mother-tongue plus a second language, usually a neighbour-language). So do you think the EU simply under-funds its second-language programmes? They have much more experience in this than we do, which might explain the EU's more progressive stance on this.

 I also believe that the lack of freely available second language training to adults and the low delivery of it to minors is feeding resentment by people coming out of the system unequipped for life in a bilingual country. However it is not the need for bilingualism that should be questioned but the inadequate preparation of our population for it.

 I can agree to this. If a school can guarantee a reasonable chance of success, then by all means should it be allowed to make a second-language compulsory. Otherwise it has no moral right to waste students' time and money if it can't guarantee a reasonable chance of success. 

Finally, I can address the cost of provision of services in at least one way where we can get better value. It used to be cheaper to produce one longer "flip" publication in both languages rather than two editions one in each language. However as preproduction costs have gone down and paper, ink and running have gone up this is no longer the case. I think government could save money by producing more "two separate language editions" than bilingual ones. In other words we might find efficiencies in delivery. I do not want to see any compromises to the value of provision of services and frankly that would not change no matter what the cost. Show me how to do it at less cost-- fine but don't argue that we should not do it.

Right now, with many French Canadians not knowing English, many Englsih Canadians not knowing French, and some northern Canadians knowing neither, I don't think there is an easy solution on the service-side of things, and for that reason am quite open to any solution that minimizes the damage done by our school systems. But if we're talking about a comprehensive long-term solution, it must include a plan to make all citizens fluent in a common second language, thus eliminating the need for linguistic damage control. But for that, we have to either be prepared to instcrease spending considerably whie giving access to all, or alternatively to do like Italy and some Eastern European countries and the UK, and look for a more rational and efficient long-term alternative. 

 

Another unrelated point-- we also need to be spending more to protect first nation languages that are disappearing  while we argue about things that ought to be recognized as fundamental to who we are.Or, to put it another way, will these right wing idiots kindly calculate the cost both economic and social of NOT being bilingual, of not providing those services to our entire population, of educating even fewer into a second language than we do now. The cost would exceed the current spending and would drive at the soul of our country as well as at its business and budgets.

I fully agree with this. Rather than wasting money funding former imperial languages from Europe, the priority should be on promoting aboriginal languages. But a common second-language designed to be easy to learn can contribute to this too. After all, how much time must First Naitons spend in school learning English and French? If they could learn an easier second language in school, then they could spend the rest of their time learning and developing their mother-tongue instead, with English and French being reserved for those who have an apritude for language learning.

Machjo

saga wrote:

Machjo,

You have your own agenda, but you blew any chance of real discussion by attacking programs already funded and in existencew and dear to many Canadians. You DID say that the money spent on them could be better spent on Esperanto, thus suggesting that those programs would cease to exist. That is why you are getting such emotional responses.

Fine, so had miscommunicated my meaning. So instead of clarifying yu have to burn me at the stake? Not to self, I'd better never make a mistake in these forums again because we've got fuses crawling these forums. 

 Read your own posts! and you will see that you set yourself up to be attacked because you attacked existing programs.

Fine, my apologies. Then let me clarify. We need to reform second-language education so that we can finally solve the lack of a common language in future. Is that clearer? 

 Also, it is the height of arrogance to assume that you know better than (eg) the Inuit what language they 'should' use.  Again, by suggesting that Esperanto should REPLACE other languages, you are attacking different cultures, and we won't tolerate that here.

 I never said Esperanto should replace different languages. In fact, I'm not supporting Esperanto necessarily, but Esperanto as a possible contender as a common SECOND language. Of course if we have some problem with Esperanto, maybe we could create another. But if that's the argument, then would it be right to force them to learn English or French either? And if that's the case, then shoud ghey still not have access to federal government in their language? So are you proposing that we add their languages as official languages? I'm not necessarily chanllenging that possibility.

 

Why don't you just stick to promoting its advantages as a ADD-ON, which it would be. I see no problem with another choice.

That I can agree with. And again, I'm sorry for the lack of clarification. I never realised that Rabble.ca was such an emotional land-mine. I'm somewhat new to Rabble and never encountered such emotionalism in other forums before. Sure some emotionalism, but not being called a biggot at the second post with no effin' explanation as to why, with all decorum thrown out the window. 

 I DO see a problem with you setting yourself up as the arbitrator of who can speak what language, though. That's just cultural ignorance bordering on bigotry and racism, as clearly identified by other posters here. (Who made you a god?)

When did I say anything about who can speak what language? What I'm talking about is ensuring a sommon SECOND language, thus putting all of us on an equal footing. Is that a sin? Besides, whenever two people meet, language is imposed. When I was in Montreal, English imposed itself in such situations more often than not. I'd had to serve as interpretor on occasion, and sometimes even ended up having to interpret debates about buying an interpretation system, and sometimes very emotional exchanges. When I was in Xinjiang, China, I'd offended a local by speaking to her in Chinese, sinse she and I were white and she didn't realise that I was a foregner who knew Mandarin but not Uighur. Clearly a common second language could avoid the historical and ethnic bggage that comes with national languages. Sorry, but maybe my own experiences have shaped my ideas. Certainly if you have other experiences that show otherwise, please let me know.

 In fact, you set your pet Esperanto up for failure as an idea, by attacking other languages and cultures and institutions to which most Canadians are very attached. You have created a groundswell of anti-Esperanto. Was that your purpose? Because that's what you have done.

 Not at all my purpose. But look at the irony. I'm fluent in French and English, most of you are unilingual, and you're more emotional about this than I am. I just don't get it. Would you not rather just be bilingual yourselves rather than have to rely on interpretors all the time?

 

 

 

Machjo

saga wrote:

Machjo,

You have your own agenda, but you blew any chance of real discussion by attacking programs already funded and in existencew and dear to many Canadians. You DID say that the money spent on them could be better spent on Esperanto, thus suggesting that those programs would cease to exist. That is why you are getting such emotional responses.

Fine, so had miscommunicated my meaning. So instead of clarifying yu have to burn me at the stake? Not to self, I'd better never make a mistake in these forums again because we've got fuses crawling these forums. 

 Read your own posts! and you will see that you set yourself up to be attacked because you attacked existing programs.

Fine, my apologies. Then let me clarify. We need to reform second-language education so that we can finally solve the lack of a common language in future. Is that clearer? 

 Also, it is the height of arrogance to assume that you know better than (eg) the Inuit what language they 'should' use.  Again, by suggesting that Esperanto should REPLACE other languages, you are attacking different cultures, and we won't tolerate that here.

 I never said Esperanto should replace different languages. In fact, I'm not supporting Esperanto necessarily, but Esperanto as a possible contender as a common SECOND language. Of course if we have some problem with Esperanto, maybe we could create another. But if that's the argument, then would it be right to force them to learn English or French either? And if that's the case, then shoud ghey still not have access to federal government in their language? So are you proposing that we add their languages as official languages? I'm not necessarily chanllenging that possibility.

 

Why don't you just stick to promoting its advantages as a ADD-ON, which it would be. I see no problem with another choice.

That I can agree with. And again, I'm sorry for the lack of clarification. I never realised that Rabble.ca was such an emotional land-mine. I'm somewhat new to Rabble and never encountered such emotionalism in other forums before. Sure some emotionalism, but not being called a biggot at the second post with no effin' explanation as to why, with all decorum thrown out the window. 

 I DO see a problem with you setting yourself up as the arbitrator of who can speak what language, though. That's just cultural ignorance bordering on bigotry and racism, as clearly identified by other posters here. (Who made you a god?)

When did I say anything about who can speak what language? What I'm talking about is ensuring a sommon SECOND language, thus putting all of us on an equal footing. Is that a sin? Besides, whenever two people meet, language is imposed. When I was in Montreal, English imposed itself in such situations more often than not. I'd had to serve as interpretor on occasion, and sometimes even ended up having to interpret debates about buying an interpretation system, and sometimes very emotional exchanges. When I was in Xinjiang, China, I'd offended a local by speaking to her in Chinese, sinse she and I were white and she didn't realise that I was a foregner who knew Mandarin but not Uighur. Clearly a common second language could avoid the historical and ethnic bggage that comes with national languages. Sorry, but maybe my own experiences have shaped my ideas. Certainly if you have other experiences that show otherwise, please let me know.

 In fact, you set your pet Esperanto up for failure as an idea, by attacking other languages and cultures and institutions to which most Canadians are very attached. You have created a groundswell of anti-Esperanto. Was that your purpose? Because that's what you have done.

 Not at all my purpose. But look at the irony. I'm fluent in French and English, most of you are unilingual, and you're more emotional about this than I am. I just don't get it. Would you not rather just be bilingual yourselves rather than have to rely on interpretors all the time?

 

 

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Perhaps we could devote all of the money Machjo wants to waste on teaching an unused artificial language on saving regional aboriginal languages by providing widespread education in them for all Canadians. After all, there are twice as many Canadians with native languages as their mother tongue as there are speakers of esperanto in the entire gawddamn world.

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:
Perhaps we could devote all of the money Machjo wants to waste on teaching an unused artificial language on saving regional aboriginal languages by providing widespread education in them for all Canadians. 

 

I could agree to that, but here's how I see it. To communicate we need a common language; just ask a pilot! But I can also understand the need for language equality. For that reason, it just seemed to be common senses to have everyone learn two languages, one their own, and the second the common language. And after that any person could be free to learn however many languages he wants. What exactly is wrong with that?

Machjo

By the way, wht do you think of UNESCO having expressed support for Esperanto (see link in the original post)? Just curious.

Machjo

Another question. If you're all so pro-bilingualism and all, why is your site only in English? Is that not imposing the English language on us? Is that not trying to close others off from accessing this site?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Machjo wrote:
By the way, wht do you think of UNESCO having expressed support for Esperanto (see link in the original post)?

It appears quite likely that they never did so. Your link goes only to a proposed amendment, not to an actual policy document. 

Machjo

The first part though does make reference to past resolution:

 

The General Conference,

Considering that in its session of 1954, held in Montevideo, it noted in resolution IV.1.4.422-

4224 the results which had been accomplished through the international language Esperanto

in the field of international intellectual exchanges and mutual understanding between the

world’s peoples, and that it recognized that they conform to the objectives and ideals of

UNESCO,

Considering that in its session of 1985, held in Sofia, it recognized in resolution XI.4.4.218

the outstanding possibilities offered by Esperanto for international understanding between

peoples and cultures of different countries, and that it invited the Member States to introduce

a study programme about the international language problem and about Esperanto in its

schools and institutes of higher education,

Recalling that for over a hundred years, the movement for the international language

Esperanto has persistently struggled for peace and human dignity, which has caused it to

suffer persecution in several countries and at various times,

Recalling that Esperanto has made an important contribution to mutual understanding

between peoples in all parts of the world and that it is already used at a practical level in most

regions of the world and for most human activities,

Noting that Esperanto allows individuals and peoples to understand each other better without

language hegemony, and that in this way it makes an important contribution to the

conservation and propagation of minority and indigenous cultures and languages,

* This proposal was received by the Secretariat on 11 October 2001.

31 C/4 DR.6 – page 2

Noting the Esperanto movement’s important contribution towards publicizing the activities of

UNESCO and the United Nations, and its active participation in projects for the International

Year of Dialogue among Civilizations and the International Decade for Promoting a Culture

of Peace and Non-Violence for the Benefit of the World’s Children (2001-2010),

Recognizing that the culture of the Esperanto-speaking people is part of the common heritage

of humanity,...

Machjo
Machjo

And there is no indication that those resolutions have been repealed, which suggests they still apply today.

 

Add to that that we can find many documents about Esperanto on the Linguapax website, also funded at least in part by UNESCO. To take but one example:

 http://www.linguapax.org/congres04/pdf/majo_en.pdf

 

So if Esperanto is so racist, then don't you think we should put our actions where our mouths are and start a petition to repeal these two resolutions?

 

Machjo

By the way, what do you think of this video by Claude Piron, a once interpreter at the UN:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU

 

Is he a racist begot too?

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

More words put in the mouths of others. Esperanto is not inherently racist; it is merely useless and virtually unused. 

You, on the other hand, are very likely racist from what I've observed. 

 

Yes, I'm racist. That's why I value international communication and oppose imposing Englsih on everyone? Who'se the racist?

Machjo

Quote me one thing that's racist so far. I challenge you.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

More words put in the mouths of others. Esperanto is not outwardly* racist; it is more simply useless and virtually unused. 

You, on the other hand, are very likely racist from what I've observed. 

 

 

* Of course, given the eurocentric nature of the language, some degree of structural racism is clearly inherent.

Machjo

So I propose that instead of imposing difficult European languages, English on French-speakers and the Inuit, or French on English-speakers or the Inuit, etc., that it would be fairer if schools could opt for an easier language, which would help to save alot of money on translaiton costs and allow Canadians to communicate with one another in a common second language on a more equal footing, and you consider that racist?

Sean in Ottawa

Machjo-- I find it funny that you say you agree with points I made and then immediately contradict them.

I do not believe that any language will do in the context of Canadian bilingualism.

I do not think it is a question of imperialism from Europe to promote French and English here- we have millions of speakers of these languages here.

French and English are integral to who we are as Canadians. FN languages are as well. Esperanto is not a substitute for any of them.

On the issue of what is included in the budget, you missed my point. It is not just the cost of bilingualism that is in these budgets but also the actual provision of services to Francophones in many cases. If they were not Francophones their numbers would still need services. The problem is not only a methodological one but a reality that budgets are not created and jobs are not quoted with a breakdown that allows the extraction of data required to total bilingualism. One reason for this is there is not a business case to measure that unless you are questioning if we want a second language. for the most part, most Canadian policy makers and managers of budgets do not waste resources trying to identify which parts of our fundamental nature we would save money by excluding.

My point about the accuracy of the CTF data is that it would be impossible to have that information unless it became a part of the budget process. So, no, there is no better data-- there is no accurate way of extracting such data.

Your suggestion that somehow you could be agreeing with me that second language education would be optional is wrong. I would not suggest that giving up on compulsory training in a second language be an option. Rather I would add resources and ask for an explanation if the results fall short.

I don't see either how your suggestion that bilingualism in service delivery would be saved if everyone spoke both languages-- I think you are talking about assimilation as only one language would survive. It might make the provision of bilingual service easier if the numbers of bilingual people increased but it would not change the obligation to provide services in both languages.

I just want to clarify that we are not on the same page on anythign I can recognize.

Machjo

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Machjo-- I find it funny that you say you agree with points I made and then immediately contradict them.

I do not believe that any language will do in the context of Canadian bilingualism.

I do not think it is a question of imperialism from Europe to promote French and English here- we have millions of speakers of these languages here. French and English are integral to who we are as Canadians. FN languages are as well. Esperanto is not a substitute for any of them.

Who's 'we'? How can either English or French be 'integral' to 8% of the Inuit who speak neither language? I woudl think that the only language integral to who they are is their own. French is 'integral' only to those who speak it. As is English to those who speak it. Beyond that, unless a person is going to go on to university, chances are he just wants to learn a language he can use by the end of high school. Neither French nor English cut it. They're just too difficult for most to learn.

 

So essentiall, to force these Inuit to learn these languages is fundamentally imperialist. You say many people speak English and French in Canada. Sure, in most parts of the country. But learly in other parts, that's not the case, otherwise they'd know it.

 On the issue of what is included in the budget, you missed my point. It is not just the cost of bilingualism that is in these budgets but also the actual provision of services to Francophones in many cases. If they were not Francophones their numbers would still need services. The problem is not only a methodological one but a reality that budgets are not created and jobs are not quoted with a breakdown that allows the extraction of data required to total bilingualism. One reason for this is there is not a business case to measure that unless you are questioning if we want a second language. for the most part, most Canadian policy makers and managers of budgets do not waste resources trying to identify which parts of our fundamental nature we would save money by excluding.

Certainly service cost money regardless of the language. If that was calculated in the numbers, then of course it would be incorrect. Question is, did they?

 My point about the accuracy of the CTF data is that it would be impossible to have that information unless it became a part of the budget process. So, no, there is no better data-- there is no accurate way of extracting such data.

 So in other words, it's not worth even trying to find out the economic impact of government policy on the private sector?

Your suggestion that somehow you could be agreeing with me that second language education would be optional is wrong. I would not suggest that giving up on compulsory training in a second language be an option. Rather I would add resources and ask for an explanation if the results fall short.

 So you would not agree to making a second language optional in school. Fair enough. i believe a second language should be mandatory too. Though if it's going to be underfunded, then I'd rather not force the student to learn it. Obviously, with the authority to impose a second language comes a moral obligation to guarantee a reasonable chance of success. Authority and responsibility go hand in hand.

Now, if you would rather make second languge compulsory, that leaves us with the option of making it more effiicent (e.g. converting to an easier second language) or providing more funding. I'd rather go with the former, but if that's not possible and we choose the funding option, then I could go for that too. My quesiton to you though, from a political standpoint, do you honestly beleive that you could get enough public support behind the increased funding? Let's look at the researh in Western Europe. A survey in 2001 found that only about 6% of Western Europeans succeeded in learning English. Pattanayak in 1984 estimated about 4% of Indians iknew English.

 

So if you wnt to go that route and guarantee that all will learn Englsih and French well, you'd better be prepared to make Official Biulingualism a religion worth sacrificing for. That's just the reality going with statistics I've read.

I don't see either how your suggestion that bilingualism in service delivery would be saved if everyone spoke both languages-- I think you are talking about assimilation as only one language would survive. It might make the provision of bilingual service easier if the numbers of bilingual people increased but it would not change the obligation to provide services in both languages.

 I'm confused here. If you're referring to forcing everyone to learn English and French, oh yes there'll be assimilation, simply owing to the amount of time needed to learn these languages. Research from the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction (see OP link) shows that Esperanto is multiple times easier to learn than either English or French. A study in Asia in 1922 showed it was easier for them too. So since much less time is needed to have them learn Esperanto, they have more time to learn their mother tongue. For example, if a child needs only 300 hours to become fluent in Esperanto but 10,000 to 20,000 for English or French, imagine how much more free time this gives a child to develop his mother-tongue. So I ask you,. which do you think is likely to be more intrusive in their mother tongue?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Machjo wrote:
So I propose that instead of imposing difficult European languages, English on French-speakers and the Inuit, or French on English-speakers or the Inuit, etc., that it would be fairer if schools could opt for an easier language, which would help to save alot of money on translaiton costs and allow Canadians to communicate with one another in a common second language on a more equal footing, and you consider that racist?

You deliberately ignore the fact that experts in the field admit that esperanto holds little or no advantage for those not versed in a european language. You ignore this in order to continue to make the farcical claim that you have some interest in perpetuating aboriginal culture.

That is but one example of your racism.

Machjo

Esperanto as an International Auxiliary Language, League of Nations, 1922 (http://www.archive.org/details/esperantoasinter00leagrich), page 26:

The Oriental delegates pointed out that Esperanto provided the pupils in their countries with a simplified type of European language which gave them a key to understanding the others. A young Chinese could learn Esperanto in two years, while he needed six to learn English and still longer to learn French. Students sent to the Franco-Chinese Institute at Lyons, knowing nothing but Esperanto, very quickly learnt French.

Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

Certainly, if ou have a better idea, please share it. But if you feel more comfortable just criticizing other people's ideas, go right ahead. Tells us more about you than us.

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

Machjo wrote:
So I propose that instead of imposing difficult European languages, English on French-speakers and the Inuit, or French on English-speakers or the Inuit, etc., that it would be fairer if schools could opt for an easier language, which would help to save alot of money on translaiton costs and allow Canadians to communicate with one another in a common second language on a more equal footing, and you consider that racist?

You deliberately ignore the fact that experts in the field admit that esperanto holds little or no advantage for those not versed in a european language. You ignore this in order to continue to make the farcical claim that you have some interest in perpetuating aboriginal culture.

That is but one example of your racism.

 

Then let me quote the experts:

http://www.springboard2languages.org/documents/springboard_rationale.pdf

And

http://www.internacialingvo.org/public/study.pdf

 

Here's a quote from the last one from the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction based on research:


1.3. Conclusions


There are, then, good reasons to call attention to the international language: good reasons ignored up until

now, or even hidden by deliberate misinformation.

This state of things has provoked the great, and probably serious, delay in understanding the cultural,

social, and political opportunity of putting "into play" a non-ethnic and authentically international language

alongside the others in our schools.

The international language is at the base of a more appropriate conception of plurilingualism in the

European Union and allows the elaboration of a new, more realistic language policy. It in fact:


a) educates to the construction of peace, making concrete the conception of belonging to a single human family and a "world environment," rather than one geo-nationally determined and circumscribed. In a moment of resurgent nationalism, sometimes in aggravated forms, spreading a means of international comprehension which finds in the equal dignity of peoples and their linguistic expression one of its strong points, aims at overcoming narrow national viewpoints which remain tied to the concept of nation even when there is aperture to other countries' languages;


b) contributes, in fact, to safeguard European and global linguistic and cultural diversity;


c) allows transnational cultural and commercial relations in a common language, without discrimination, which can be fully acquired within the time spent in mandatory education;


d) facilitates, taught as Linguistic Orientation, the study and learning of national foreign languages;


e) avoids the predominance of one or two "major" languages in the teaching of possible foreign languages;


f) enriches metalinguistic reflection even in the native language;


g) allows notable savings of time and money, both in teacher training and in student work, with additional advantages for other subjects such as learning ethnic foreign languages (A useful study would be one which examined the necessary cost, in time and money, for teaching and learning an ethnic foreign language compared to the international language).

 

Machjo

Machjo wrote:

Esperanto as an International Auxiliary Language, League of Nations, 1922 (http://www.archive.org/details/esperantoasinter00leagrich), page 26:

The Oriental delegates pointed out that Esperanto provided the pupils in their countries with a simplified type of European language which gave them a key to understanding the others. A young Chinese could learn Esperanto in two years, while he needed six to learn English and still longer to learn French. Students sent to the Franco-Chinese Institute at Lyons, knowing nothing but Esperanto, very quickly learnt French.

Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

Certainly, if ou have a better idea, please share it. But if you feel more comfortable just criticizing other people's ideas, go right ahead. Tells us more about you than us.

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