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What makes you learn a minority language?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
35 messages over 5 pages: 13 4 5  Next >>
leosmith
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 9 of 35
26 August 2007 at 9:33am | IP Logged 
I understand it when people learn smallish languages beacause they are living in it, they have a native lover, they want to enjoy the literature, they work with it, want to get a job with it, etc etc.

What I don't understand is why some people learn a smallish language just for the sake of learning it. If you're not planning on going there someday, not interested in the literature, don't have friends in that language, don't really care to talk to natives, why learn it? Is it just some intellectual thing that I don't understand?
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LilleOSC
Senior Member
United States
lille.theoffside.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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4 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Arabic (Written)

 
 Message 10 of 35
26 August 2007 at 9:42am | IP Logged 
BelgoHead wrote:


So back to my original point why do you learn a minority language when you could learn a language like russian and "kill two birds with one stone"?


Well I want to learn Occitan, because I like the sound of the language and it is from the Romance language family. Sadly, there aren't many resources for this language.
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burntgorilla
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Danish

 
 Message 11 of 35
26 August 2007 at 9:58am | IP Logged 
I never thought of Danish as being a minority language. I'm learning it because I wanted something to occupy myself with over the summer. I have a Danish-speaking friend, so I picked Danish as I thought I could ask her or speak to her in Danish. I haven't actually, but there you go. It's also quite easy to learn how to read Danish so you get a good feeling of progress. Speaking, on the other hand...
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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
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Studies: German

 
 Message 12 of 35
26 August 2007 at 1:30pm | IP Logged 
A couple of the posters are confusing minority and minor.
Italian is a minority language in Croatia and Spanish is a minority language in the US.
Generally speaking a minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population and in some countries this definition might have a legal status.

Lady skywalker, I’d say that you’re not being treated very well. I wouldn’t be a very willing student of Dutch under these circumstances.

Anyone wishing to live comfortably for an extended period of time in a foreign country will need to learn its language. Country’s size and English speaking skills of the general population are insufficient reasons not to learn the language.

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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
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 Message 13 of 35
26 August 2007 at 1:43pm | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
I understand it when people learn smallish languages beacause they are living in it, they have a native lover, they want to enjoy the literature, they work with it, want to get a job with it, etc etc.

What I don't understand is why some people learn a smallish language just for the sake of learning it. If you're not planning on going there someday, not interested in the literature, don't have friends in that language, don't really care to talk to natives, why learn it? Is it just some intellectual thing that I don't understand?


Some people enjoy the intellectual stimulus and novelty of it.
I don't think there are many successful learners of major languages under the circumstances you list however a lot of people will continue to try and fail because an important language is trendy, part of the curriculum, because of family pressure or many other unhealthy reasons.

What qualifies a language as minor? Someone could argue you yourself have a couple under your belt. How minor are Dutch and Swedish really?
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BelgoHead
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 4463 days ago

120 posts - 119 votes 
Studies: French, English*
Studies: Esperanto

 
 Message 14 of 35
26 August 2007 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
"watch Danish movies"

When you get to that point watch the movie called
"The green butcher" :) I accidentally rented it once, its in Danish...



"What qualifies a language as minor? Someone could argue you yourself have a couple under your belt. How minor are Dutch and Swedish really? "

I guess you could say swedish is important in Scandanvia like there a swedish speaking norwegian's and vice versa the area is quite large.

But holland is quite small you could traverse it in 1 day by public transportation. and the language it influence into belgium where they speak a dutch like language. (not including Surniname)
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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
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Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 35
26 August 2007 at 3:07pm | IP Logged 
Dutch has more than twice the number of speakers than Swedish and a very large economy to back it up. Some 2.5 percent of world's books are published in Dutch and around 1.5 pct in Swedish - both well over what's published in languages like Hindi or Arabic. Danish is official in Greenland which covers a huge area. :)

Edited by reineke on 26 August 2007 at 3:13pm

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lady_skywalker
Triglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
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Speaks: Spanish, English*, Mandarin
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 Message 16 of 35
26 August 2007 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
I think there are various ways to categorise a 'minority' language depending on what you choose as your criteria.

1) A language is spoken by a minority which is indigenous to a certain country or area (eg. Kurdish and Basque).

2) A language is spoken by a minority who are living in country they are not indigenous to. These may be also be considered 'community languages' and could even include languages which are spoken by millions in another part of the world (eg. Hakka speakers living in the UK could be an example)

3) A language which is spoken by relatively few people on a global scale. A language which falls under this category could very well fall under categories 1 and 2 above. Using this as your criteria, you focus mostly on the number of native (or second language) speakers in terms of numbers and a percentage of the human population. These languages can be the majority or even sole official language of a country but could still be considered a 'minority' language based on the number of speakers as a percentage of the world's population (eg. Georgian, Swedish, Laotian and numerous others).


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