4.1032 The Languages of Humanist (2/45)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 14 Feb 91 20:29:39 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1032. Thursday, 14 Feb 1991.

(1) Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 08:04:05 EST (21 lines)
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Languages on Humanist

(2) Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 08:11:42 EST (24 lines)
From: Michel Pierssens <R36254@UQAM>
Subject: The Languages of Humanist

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 08:04:05 EST
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Languages on Humanist

To correct Gunhild Viden: French is not a minority language in Canada.
It is the language of one-third of my compatriots. Canada is a
bi-lingual country. I do not need to write to Humanist to practice my
French; I can do that perfectly well here. My point was that people on
Humanist elsewhere might profit from the recognition that English is NOT
the language of the universe. One of the effects of the presence of
French in Canada is to keep on reminding us Canadians about that. There
are plenty of English- Canadians who don't like being reminded of it,
but they are, constantly, and I am glad of it. As a Canadian, I am also
perhaps more aware than Gunhild Viden of the hegemonous role of English
in American cultural activity across our undefended (I use the term with
some irony) border. I am one of those Canadians who feels it is a good
thing to keep a little perspective on such issues. Once a language
becomes associated with "universality" some bad things happen as well as
good ones. "The borders of Rome are the borders of the world," as Ovid
observed. And we all know what happened to him when he offended the
powers that be.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------25----
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 08:11:42 EST
From: Michel Pierssens <R36254@UQAM>
Subject: The Languages of Humanist

Earlier in the discussion I offered the idea that a mostly
french-speakinglist along the lines of HUMANIST might be set up in order
to test the need (if any) for a non-english dominated medium. I, for
one, am not convinced it would be useful, for various matter-of-fact
reasons -- the first being that our humanists' need for universality
implies that we try tu use the most widely known language in our field.
All the same, I found some reactions quite surprising: it appears that
setting up a predominantly french language list would amount for some to
a kind of separation (right, Eric? Hi! I miss you too. .) Why should
it be so? COuldn't it be construed as one more way to enlarge our
horizon rather than to restrict it since many people who do not presently
take part in our kind of discussions because of various linguistic
hang-ups might be attracted if they felt more at ease? After all,
anyone can subscribe to any list they choose, right? One of the things
I like best in Montreal where I live is that when I go to the Maison de
la Presse I can (and do) buy Le Monde as well as Die Welt or the
Corriere della Sera or the New York Times. The same holds with TV
channels, since US, Canadian, French, Italian networks are available.
Frankly, I would be glad to see more french, german, italian,
etc.circulate on the Internet!