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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Um, firstly, no one calls them "freedom fries," except when being ironic. Secondly, when a term is in a foreign language that would have no meaning to English speakers, a new term is typically coined to translate the phrase into something comparable.
    I think you're taking me a little too seriously here. I was attacking the argument "we invented it, so everyone should call it by the name we gave it", which is what I interpreted you to mean when you said "airplane is the proper term, because we invented it", through a process of reductio ad absurdum. (That, incidentally, is an example of a phrase which doesn't have any handy equivalent in any dialect of English that I'm aware of, which is why I use it, before you begin attacking me). Anyway, I don't see the difference between new "foreign" words and other new words. Surely if no word exists before, it makes no difference what word is chosen in each language?

    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    You can cry all you like about Americanisms being used by the British, but the English language has never been static. I'm sure that your ancestors probably made the same complaints about foreign words invading their language (and they may have also complained about the advent of machines, which would might steal their jobs and violate their women :rolleyes: ).
    Actually my ancestors were probably too busy stealing cows in Scotland to care, but I take your point.

    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    I don't really care whether culture is homogenous or not. It's up to the people who make up any population to decide for themselves what their priorities are.
    If that argument was followed to its logical conclusion, the cultural life of the entire world would consist of wall-to-wall MTV, with no classical music, no theatre, no poetry...yes, there are examples of all these which get by on popular acclaim alone, but it requires state subsidy for all those which can't so the few that can are able to become successful. there's a reason why Mill referred to the position you're taking as "the tyranny of the majority".

    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    You actually remind me of those annoying culture mongers who think that we shouldn't allow isolated cultures to become "Westernized" because it "enriches the global landscape." Of course, it's easy to say that when you're a Westerner, and not the people living in huts who are eager to have some of the simple conveniences that we take for granted..
    Hear that? That's the sound of straw men being destroyed. I never said any of that, and I don't think it either. I could equally say that you remind me of the type of Victorian Imperialist, convinced that invading a country, plundering its wealth and imposing a language, religion and way of life on its people out of the barrel of a gun can be described as "civilising", but I wouldn't, because it would be insulting and immature.

    The point I'm making is that diversity is inherently a good thing. A language or dialect is a reflection of the history of a place, with waves of immigration, international trade or great changes bringing new words. The growing use of Americanisms in English, on the other hand, is just a reflection of the fact that huge numbers of young people watch nothing but Hollywood films. Again, there isn't anything wrong with this in itself, but if it has the result of inhibiting the cultural development of a country (as is happening with the British film industry), then it is a bad thing. I don't suggest this is some sort of conspiracy - I know it's because all the money is in the American market. I just think it's sad.
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    Considering vast swathes of the american population in those early years were illiterate irishmen, slaves and non-native english speakers it is no wonder the spelling went by the wayside. We also have to remember that standardised english only became a reality after the american colonies were established.

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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    So are "blimey", "bloody", and "cheers".
    Lets compare like with like here. Those are colloquial expression on a par with "Yo", "Y'all", etc. etc.

    What is an Airplane? An aeroplane is a technical definition which explains what the object does, an engineering term no less, just like aquaplane - airplane makes no sense, but why is it used? because it is a simple misspelling that has somehow become codified into the american english dictionary. Just like many other differences in US and UK english.

    One thing that does bug me is "write me" instead of "write to me" - it is completely incomprehensible to me why the word "to" is deemed surplus to requirements in that phrase.

    Also a strange thing is the use of plurals and singulars when referring to groups or teams:

    UK : "Oasis are the best band ever"

    US : "Oasis is the best band ever"

    Both are correct, but different.
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Well, considering that we invented airplanes, I'd say we have a greater right to decide the proper term than the British. If you want to *******ize the language of aviation within the confines of your own country, that's fine, but let's not get critical of the original terminology that was used by the inventors...

    Oh, and you all sound like infants when you say "lift" rather than "elevator," so right back at ya. :rolleyes:
    The world airplane was only found in common usage in the US after WWI the wright brothers used the word aeroplane. It apparently (I have to trust someone else on this bit) was used in all the documentation by the early pioneers and the word "airplane" did not first appear in literature until 1907 according to websters a few years after the Wright Brothers flights and did not come into common usage until later.
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    (Original post by Ozymandias)
    I think you're taking me a little too seriously here. I was attacking the argument "we invented it, so everyone should call it by the name we gave it", which is what I interpreted you to mean when you said "airplane is the proper term, because we invented it", through a process of reductio ad absurdum. (That, incidentally, is an example of a phrase which doesn't have any handy equivalent in any dialect of English that I'm aware of, which is why I use it, before you begin attacking me). Anyway, I don't see the difference between new "foreign" words and other new words. Surely if no word exists before, it makes no difference what word is chosen in each language?
    Most languages are rich enough that they do not create an entirely new term for a new creation, but describe it using existing words. It makes little sense to use foreign word when that term is meant to have a deeper meaning because of the smaller words from which it is made.

    If that argument was followed to its logical conclusion, the cultural life of the entire world would consist of wall-to-wall MTV, with no classical music, no theatre, no poetry...yes, there are examples of all these which get by on popular acclaim alone, but it requires state subsidy for all those which can't so the few that can are able to become successful. there's a reason why Mill referred to the position you're taking as "the tyranny of the majority".
    I'm against state-subsidized cultural outreach. If the government wants to use my money, they'd better be killing someone or giving tax breaks to businesses.


    Hear that? That's the sound of straw men being destroyed. I never said any of that, and I don't think it either. I could equally say that you remind me of the type of Victorian Imperialist, convinced that invading a country, plundering its wealth and imposing a language, religion and way of life on its people out of the barrel of a gun can be described as "civilising", but I wouldn't, because it would be insulting and immature.
    You took that far more personally than was intended. I was merely describing how praising diversity inevitably becomes condescending to those groups who must be protected.

    The point I'm making is that diversity is inherently a good thing. A language or dialect is a reflection of the history of a place, with waves of immigration, international trade or great changes bringing new words. The growing use of Americanisms in English, on the other hand, is just a reflection of the fact that huge numbers of young people watch nothing but Hollywood films. Again, there isn't anything wrong with this in itself, but if it has the result of inhibiting the cultural development of a country (as is happening with the British film industry), then it is a bad thing. I don't suggest this is some sort of conspiracy - I know it's because all the money is in the American market. I just think it's sad.
    Well, cultures, as most things, go do with some more capitalism. If people have interest in a culture, they will embrace it more readily. It may be sad to you, but people should be allowed to choose for themselves what they prefer. I find it far more sad that there are cultures which feel so threatened by others that they have quotas for home-grown entertainment, etc. Does no one consider that attempting to force people to appreciate something almost ALWAYS backfires?

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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    The world airplane was only found in common usage in the US after WWI the wright brothers used the word aeroplane. It apparently (I have to trust someone else on this bit) was used in all the documentation by the early pioneers and the word "airplane" did not first appear in literature until 1907 according to websters a few years after the Wright Brothers flights and did not come into common usage until later.
    I stand corrected, but considering there was no effort to correct the use of the term "airplane" by the Wrights, I see no reason why it should be treated as a sub-par word.
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    At the end of the day american words annoy the Brits and vice versa, if it wasnt differnent the world would be very boring, as long as brits dont start talking in an American way then im too fussed
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    Bill Bryson wrote a whole bunch of books about this. Mother Tongue investigates how the English language developed and Made in America looks at why the spellings and pronounciations are different. Its a good read, but I am buggered if I can remeber any of the reasons he said.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    UK : "Oasis are the best band ever"

    US : "Oasis is the best band ever"

    Both are correct, but different.
    I beg to differ. Do you also say that "the United States are attacking Iraq" or "the United Nations are promoting peace"?
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    I beg to differ. Do you also say that "the United States are attacking Iraq" or "the United Nations are promoting peace"?
    Only if a number of the United States are attacking Iraq or, more appropriately, a number of the United Nations are attacking Iraq. Meanwhile, I will be pouring some sugars in to my tea - if I only used a grain, then there is sugar - but since I use many grains, there are sugar!

    "Oasis are the best band". That usage, even as a Briticism, is, in my mind, wrong, especially if you swap the subject to create "This are the best band" - or rather "These are the best band". That's wrong, so "Oasis are the best band" is wrong.

    There are some other Americanisms which we have imported which are just fine and dandy: "babysitter" (which beats the living daylight out of "part-time child and youth care assistant paid on a leisurely basis" as some policy wonk in Whitehall would want to describe it), "commuter" and "editorial".

    Languages are evolving on the basis of our useage, and so to the anti-Americanists, I have one thing to say: "screw y'all".
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    I'm against state-subsidized cultural outreach. If the government wants to use my money, they'd better be killing someone or giving tax breaks to businesses.
    I think we're not going to get anywhere with this one without going way off topic. Perhaps a separate thread about the limits of the State and the justification for taxation is needed?


    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    You took that far more personally than was intended. I was merely describing how praising diversity inevitably becomes condescending to those groups who must be protected.
    No you weren't. You were putting words into my mouth. I can well believe you didn't mean to be offensive, but if you don't want people to take offence, then don't use that as a debating tactic. As to the actual question, I would dispute that protection for minority interests is "inevitalby condescending". When homosexuality ceased to be regarded as a mental illness, most people were in all likelihood still homophobes, but I don't think that means homosexuality should have been banned just because that's what people wanted.

    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Well, cultures, as most things, go do with some more capitalism. If people have interest in a culture, they will embrace it more readily. It may be sad to you, but people should be allowed to choose for themselves what they prefer. I find it far more sad that there are cultures which feel so threatened by others that they have quotas for home-grown entertainment, etc. Does no one consider that attempting to force people to appreciate something almost ALWAYS backfires?
    I feel some examples would be helpful here.
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    (Original post by Ozymandias)
    No you weren't. You were putting words into my mouth. I can well believe you didn't mean to be offensive, but if you don't want people to take offence, then don't use that as a debating tactic.
    I never put words in your mouth. I stated that your comments reminded me of something. I never said that you made such statements or anything to that regard. There is no need to get sensitive. I'm sure any observer would say that they never once believed I was saying anything about you, personally, or even people who share your opinions. It wasn't a *debate tactic,* as there was clearly no argument made by the brief aside.

    As to the actual question, I would dispute that protection for minority interests is "inevitalby condescending". When homosexuality ceased to be regarded as a mental illness, most people were in all likelihood still homophobes, but I don't think that means homosexuality should have been banned just because that's what people wanted.
    You are speaking of protecting against an intentional negation of something, which is far different from reinforcing an action. Banning something is not the same as not encouraging it. For example, the Quebec government demands that a certain percent of all media within the province be conducted in French. That is reinforcing a positive, which is what you were speaking of in your previous post. Reinforcing for an action attempts to force people into partaking in/appreciating certain cultural practices.

    If you want to use your example in the same context as was being discussed, people would have to be encouraged to become homosexual, as it would then give more numerical support to the minority of people who are homosexual by nature. I think most people would say that we should let people decide such issues for themselves, which is what I support in the culture wars, as well.

    I feel some examples would be helpful here.
    Well, I kind of provided an example with the Quebecios government's legislation. There is similar federal legislation in Canada, and many other countries make comparable demands about home-grown media. Of course, this only makes the natives of those countries see their own media as sub-par, because there is no competition to get them to watch it, which is why, after this legislation passes, there is an immediate rise in the number of satellite dishes purchased.
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    (Original post by tommorris)
    There are some other Americanisms which we have imported which are just fine and dandy: "babysitter" (which beats the living daylight out of "part-time child and youth care assistant paid on a leisurely basis" as some policy wonk in Whitehall would want to describe it), "commuter" and "editorial".
    Actually, I remember we used to call them "childminders", which I think sounds more appropriate if the child is around 6-10 - they wouldn't really want to be looked after by a "babysitter".

    Also, they look after, hence mind, the child, they don't just sit do they?
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    I never put words in your mouth. I stated that your comments reminded me of something.
    Refusing to protect the rights of minorities is behaviour often associated with dictatorships and autocracies (the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Russia under both the Tsars and the Soviets being a good example). However, I didn't say you reminded me of Stalin, because you evidently don't. Sorry, but conflating one argument with another is not the way to have a constructive debate.

    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    You are speaking of protecting against an intentional negation of something, which is far different from reinforcing an action. Banning something is not the same as not encouraging it. For example, the Quebec government demands that a certain percent of all media within the province be conducted in French. That is reinforcing a positive, which is what you were speaking of in your previous post. Reinforcing for an action attempts to force people into partaking in/appreciating certain cultural practices.

    If you want to use your example in the same context as was being discussed, people would have to be encouraged to become homosexual, as it would then give more numerical support to the minority of people who are homosexual by nature. I think most people would say that we should let people decide such issues for themselves, which is what I support in the culture wars, as well.
    Actually the first point I was making was attacking the broader argument that what the majority wants is automatically right, which basically seems to be based on a position of cultural relativism, which is a point of view I strongly disagree with. I accept the analogy doesn't extend to the argument about positive vs negative freedoms.

    With regard to the main argument, the laws passed to keep the Welsh language from dying out seem to be very similar to those in Quebec, and seem to be generally regarded as a success. I know of no evidence of the Welsh seeing their own media as sub-par, or buying more satellite dishes. If people were being banned from learning English (as Welsh children used to be from learning Welsh) then I could see grounds for objecting, but nothing like that exists. The situation in Quebec, from what you've said, seems to be one where the language is protected, but people who want nothing to do with itare able to opt out by buying satellite dishes. I don't see a problem.
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    (Original post by Falguni)
    Actually, I remember we used to call them "childminders", which I think sounds more appropriate if the child is around 6-10 - they wouldn't really want to be looked after by a "babysitter".

    Also, they look after, hence mind, the child, they don't just sit do they?
    Ah, that's good. I don't mind either way, as long as it's not either Vin Diesel or Hulk Hogan doing the babysitting/childminding.
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    (Original post by Ozymandias)
    Refusing to protect the rights of minorities is behaviour often associated with dictatorships and autocracies (the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Russia under both the Tsars and the Soviets being a good example). However, I didn't say you reminded me of Stalin, because you evidently don't. Sorry, but conflating one argument with another is not the way to have a constructive debate.
    Except, of course, that encouraging a minority culture to continue to prosper is not the same as protecting it from ethnic cleansing. Your non-comparison doesn't even work in the hypothetical, as I've never said that the majority should tyrannize the minority into becoming homogenous. I've only stated that government does not have a right to promote one culture over another, which doesn't seem to fit any definitions of tyranny that I'm aware of.

    Actually the first point I was making was attacking the broader argument that what the majority wants is automatically right, which basically seems to be based on a position of cultural relativism, which is a point of view I strongly disagree with. I accept the analogy doesn't extend to the argument about positive vs negative freedoms.
    No one ever suggested that there is a right or wrong culture. However, imposing any certain culture on a people merely for the sake of preservation is illiberal. Why should a group of people be compelled to behave in a certain manner for merely the sake of perservation of a culture? You rail against the idea of tyranny of the majority, yet have no issues with a tyranny of the minority?

    With regard to the main argument, the laws passed to keep the Welsh language from dying out seem to be very similar to those in Quebec, and seem to be generally regarded as a success. I know of no evidence of the Welsh seeing their own media as sub-par, or buying more satellite dishes. If people were being banned from learning English (as Welsh children used to be from learning Welsh) then I could see grounds for objecting, but nothing like that exists. The situation in Quebec, from what you've said, seems to be one where the language is protected, but people who want nothing to do with itare able to opt out by buying satellite dishes. I don't see a problem.
    Opting out by buying a satellite dish isn't the only problem. If I wanted to start my own television channel in Quebec for English language speakers, I would be required to air a percentage of my programming in French. The same goes for other businesses. If I wanted to open a bookstore in Montreal that would exclusively sell English-language publications, I would be required to have the sign for my bookstore display the name in French, with English lettering only permitted at 1/3 the height of the French type. Of course, Montreal, and much of Quebec USED to have a sizable English-speaking minority (Roughly 60%-40%), which has dwindled to the point where now, native English-speaking Quebecers are leaving their home province because they do not feel as though they are welcome any longer, as the English language is treated with such disdain. Does that sound like diversity to you?
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    Give me a break!

    If anybody is that concerned and disturbed by a few changes in spelling such as the "z" or the dropping of "u" or a couple of expressions....then please for the love of god, GET A F* UCKING LIFE! Does it really kill you to read "realized" instead of "realised" when you're reading a goddamned magazine? Get over yourself. And the ignorance here is truly astounding. American spelling comes from the aftermath of the revolutionary war when William Webster decided to make a dictionary with a few different spellings from the British standard in order to create a unique American identy. Please, go read a history book....and you might wanna have a puke bag next to you and a resusitation device when you see "color" and get a heart attack over a stupid spelling, losers.
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    (Original post by Higgy)
    At the end of the day american words annoy the Brits and vice versa, if it wasnt differnent the world would be very boring, as long as brits dont start talking in an American way then im too fussed
    Vice versa? I really don't care about English and how it changes or doesn't change and neither does any American on the forum. I think the attitudes you see here regarding the English language probably reflect the US population's attitudes too.

    For some reason, we aren't protective of the language the way British and French people are of theirs. It's just one of those things I don't understand and probably will never understand. Aren't we are all speaking a completely *******ized form of English that would make our great grand parent's skin crawl? Those great grand parents were speaking English in a manner that would have confounded their progenitors. None of our ancestors were ever able to keep the language from changing and neither will you.
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    I stand corrected, but considering there was no effort to correct the use of the term "airplane" by the Wrights, I see no reason why it should be treated as a sub-par word.
    Or maybe they didn't care what the hoi polloi called their flying machines?

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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    I beg to differ. Do you also say that "the United States are attacking Iraq" or "the United Nations are promoting peace"?
    Yep, you can, but you don't. All the above examples relate to a single entitiy which is also a group of things such as states nations of people. Oasis is a pop group, both a single entity and a group of individual musicians - treatment of these things in the singlular or plural is acceptable.
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    (Original post by Cooltx75)
    Give me a break!

    William Webster decided to make a dictionary with a few different spellings from the British standard in order to create a unique American identy. Please, go read a history book....
    Oh the irony...
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    I beg to differ. Do you also say that "the United States are attacking Iraq" or "the United Nations are promoting peace"?
    Yes but when somebody says 'oasis is the best band' is just sounds so wrong! It makes you sound illiterate, it may be correct but it just sounds wrong!
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Except, of course, that encouraging a minority culture to continue to prosper is not the same as protecting it from ethnic cleansing. Your non-comparison doesn't even work in the hypothetical, as I've never said that the majority should tyrannize the minority into becoming homogenous. I've only stated that government does not have a right to promote one culture over another, which doesn't seem to fit any definitions of tyranny that I'm aware of.
    I was trying here to point out the absurdity of conflating two arguments, as it's equally silly to suggest there's any link between wanting to prevent dialects dying out and opposing technological and medical progress. But I think this part of the discussion is getting nowhere. I'll accept you didn't mean to be offensive and that I shouldn't have reacted so strongly if you accept that asides like that aren't constructive in a debate. Fair?


    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    No one ever suggested that there is a right or wrong culture. However, imposing any certain culture on a people merely for the sake of preservation is illiberal. Why should a group of people be compelled to behave in a certain manner for merely the sake of perservation of a culture? You rail against the idea of tyranny of the majority, yet have no issues with a tyranny of the minority?

    Opting out by buying a satellite dish isn't the only problem. If I wanted to start my own television channel in Quebec for English language speakers, I would be required to air a percentage of my programming in French. The same goes for other businesses. If I wanted to open a bookstore in Montreal that would exclusively sell English-language publications, I would be required to have the sign for my bookstore display the name in French, with English lettering only permitted at 1/3 the height of the French type. Of course, Montreal, and much of Quebec USED to have a sizable English-speaking minority (Roughly 60%-40%), which has dwindled to the point where now, native English-speaking Quebecers are leaving their home province because they do not feel as though they are welcome any longer, as the English language is treated with such disdain. Does that sound like diversity to you?
    I would take the position that values can be objectively right or wrong regardless of majority opinion. If people who are part of a minority culture want it to be preserved, then it should be, if possible, though obviously it wouldn't be the highest priority if government was short of money. Diversity is desirable because it makes the world a richer, more interesting place. Unfortunately I think this is coming down to a debate about the limits of the State again, so we're not going to get much further.

    Actually from what you're saying I would say that in the case of Quebec, it sounds like things have been taken too far. Preserving a culture should never mean that anyone from another culture feels marginalised. Dictating the height of the letters on shop signs also seems a bit obsessive, though having bilingual signs in the first place is something I would strongly support, since it helps to keep a language alive but requires very little to be done, other than the application of a bit more paint.
 
 
 
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