What Your Language/Nationality Means to You

Clark   Wednesday, May 14, 2003, 23:59 GMT
To me, being an American means being a Californian. Some of you might think this is a little weird. It would be like a British person saying "Being British means being from Yorkshire." I am proud to be a Californian! I do not want to live here my whole life, but if I did, it would not be too bad. I hope to live in another country eventually.

Robert E. Lee fought for the South ONLY because his native state, Virginia, decided to fight for the South. He was going to fight for the North but did not because his loyalties were with his state. The French-Canadians feel more proud to be a "Québecois" than a Canadian.

So you see, I am not so weird as you might think.

And to me, speaking English means being an English-American. I do not associate my speaking English as being American really. I associate speaking English with my English "roots" because I had ancestors who spoke Middle English, who had ancestors who spoke Old English, who had ancestors who went to England from the Continent. I associate my speaking American English with my English roots/family.
mjd   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 00:57 GMT
I love my native state of New Jersey, but being an American definitely takes precedence over my state. A nation is essentially a populace that feels a common sense of destiny. Given America's diversity, it's often difficult to pinpoint this feeling, but I do believe that I here in NJ and someone in Arizona (which almost feels like another country in some ways) share a common sense of destiny despite the differences in our states (landscape, population, history, etc.) I would argue that we, as Americans, have more of a bond or sense of commonality between us (other Americans) than with those of the countries of our ancestors.
Jam   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 03:03 GMT
Macau had been a Portuguese colony for over 400 years before it was handed over to China in 1999. It is so special being a citizen here.

My nationality is Portuguese, and I love the Portuguese passport because it enables me to go to many countries without the trouble of applying for visas. The funny thing is that I don't speak Portuguese, and I have never been to Portugual before. Anyway, I will not change my nationality back to Chinese unless the Chinese passport becomes more useful.

We speak Cantonese just like the Hong Kong people do, instead of Mandarin(the official spoken language in China). We write in Traditional Chinese characters just like the Hong Kong people and Taiwanese do, instead of the Simplified ones used in China. I have no affection for China or Portugal. I just love being a 'Macanese' in this tiny little city, and I'm proud of it.
KT   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 03:23 GMT
Sometimes I'm quite confused with my nationality. Hong Kong was ruled by the British for over a hundred years. To the British, my nationality is "British National (Overseas)" (I interpret it as second-class citizen since I have no rights to live in U.K.). After Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, the Chinese gov't issues us a special type of passport, called "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport". Again, it's different from the one a "normal" Chinese citizen holds.

I am Chinese, no doubt on this. But this is more of an identity than a nationality. My mother tongue is Cantonese Chinese. I learned British English when I was younger. But then after studying in the States, I speak American English. And I found no connection between myself and a British person (other than the fact that we both ride double-decker buses). But the States is my second home after spending a quarter of my life there.
Clark   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 05:43 GMT
mjd, what does English mean to you? Do you like Portuguese better than English?

I have been trying to think why I am proud to be a Claifornian, and I have come to the conclusion that when I was growing up, whenever there would be some sort of inter-state competition of any sort, I would always support the Californians. And lately, I have become very proud of my state and my heritage. California is something that I can call my own.
KT   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 07:16 GMT
That reminds me of the big state gov't vs. the big federal gov't views.
mjd   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 07:42 GMT

Não fala Português? Eu amo a língua portuguesa. Qual é a primeira língua de Macau? Português ou Chinês?....What I said was I love the Portuguese language. What's the primary language of Macau? Portuguese or Chinese? Se puder...descreva a cidade. (If you can, describe the city).


I love the Portuguese language, but English is my first language and the one I feel most comfortable expressing myself in.
Antonio   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 12:32 GMT
Portuguese is my first language, and so I would say that I am more comfortable using it. But I wouldn´t say I prefer Portuguese. I really love English.


Falas Português !? I heard that almost no-one in Macau speaks Portuguese nowadays. Right?

É uma grande pena, porque a língua portuguesa é linda, exata, e tem uma grande história e tradição.
Eu acho que por ela ser muito difícil, as pessoas não costumam aprendê-la. E até mesmo a confundem com o Espanhol. Merda! :-)


Você anda um pouco "away". Ou será que sou eu?
Clark   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 15:36 GMT
Puedo vos comprender ;-P Mais nao puedo falar portugues :-(

KT, I never thought of it that way. I am not really political, and when I look at where my "loyalties" lay, it usually has everything to do with culture, language, heritage, or something like that. Almost never political for me. If California were to suceed from the Union, we would be the 5th largest economy in world, regardless of the budget crunches we are going through right now.

English, Danish and French are my favourite languages, and English is the one that I can best express myself in.
Clark   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 15:52 GMT
I was thinking one time that a person does not have to speak the language of the culture they love. A person can learn about the culture and not learn about the language. Or, a person can grow up in a household where English is spoken, and the parents will only speak English to their children, but there would be sayings and vocabulary from the language that their ancestors used to speak when they came to the English-speaking country.

An example is a German-American household. "Klaus, mein Sohn, go and set the Tisch."

Or, "Klaus, tell dein Vater the Saurkraut ist ready."

I think generally families that do this use mainly prepared dishes in the native language, and then there are saying and toasts and what have you that are in the native language of the ancestors from previous generations.

What I guess I am getting at, is that English can be the vehicle of communication for any culture besides British, American, Canadian, Australian and South African.

Anyways, I am just thinking with my keyboard. I am at school right now, and I am wasting time in the library because my class is supposed to be doing stuff for our research paper, but I can do that at home.
KT   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 17:01 GMT

No I wasn't saying that you were political. What you've said just reminded me of the discrepancies of the views of the federalists and anti-federalists, but more on the cultural side rather than about how the government should be run. And btw, I spent a year in California before returning home. The weather was really nice. :)
Clark   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 17:04 GMT
I know you were not. What part of California were you in?
mjd   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 17:10 GMT

Eu concordo completamente....detesto quando as pessoas confundem português com espanhol. Embora haja semelhanças, a pronuncia é diferente. Além disso, é uma língua única e independente de espanhol.

Em casa, tu falas português ou inglês com os teus pais?
Annette   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 20:24 GMT
I have to confess that I never appreciated it to be German. First I didn´t care, and seconde I couldn´t understand why I should be "proud" of something what was more or less luck. I regarded seeing a deeper sense in ones nationality as considering one nationality better than an other. But I changed my mind! I´ve been living in Finland for a while by now, and now I know what beeing German means to me - it´s just my true home! A place, where I know how to behave and act, where I actually understand culture and society and how everything is working. Same with the German language. English is my everydays language, but still, there are things which are not possible to express in another way than my native tongue.

and I think.. deep in side I´ve always been a little bit jealous to the French, who feel so easy about expressing their national consciousness. :D ^^

Oh well... yeah, that´s what my culture and language mean to me by now. quite a lot. =)
Clark   Thursday, May 15, 2003, 20:26 GMT
mjd, sorry, I did not mean to offend you. Since I cannot write in Portuguese, I thought I might write in quasiSpanish/Portuguese.