English spreads

Guest   Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:45 am GMT
">Likewise, France/Québec, Spain/Argentina and Portugal/Brazil are examples of other similar comparisons which could be discussed. [Benjamin]

And have been discussed. That's a major theme of the "Latin" stuff that has been dominating the forum for months. A couple of those threads may have been deleted, but there were hundreds of posts about the sense of kinship among Latins and sense of alienation from 'Anglo-Saxons' and 'Germanics'."

The France/Québec relationship is an interesting one. However, it's worth remembering that "French Canadian" is not synonymous with the province of Québec; true, most Francophones live in Québec but there are sizeable minorities in Ontario, the Maritimes and Manitoba.

The France/Québec/Francophonie canadienne relationship makes perfect sense, it is after all based on a common language. But beyond that, the issue of cultural affinities becomes more complicated because French Canadians are neither French nor European.

Historically, French Canadians represent a French-speaking population group that never experienced the revolution (a seminal event in the development of modern France), remained very parochial and rural in nature and ardently Roman Catholic almost right up until the early Sixties.

They are also North Americans; like their English Canadian compatriots, they like their American cars, the air-conditioned house with the pool, the malls.

The ideal holiday spot for the average French Canadian is not Paris or the Riviera, it's Florida or Mexico...
Gjones2   Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:24 am GMT
>I greatly appreciate your exhaustive comments. [Easterner]

You're welcome. Glad you found them to be exhaustive and not just exhausting. :-)

I know what you mean about artistic figures "corrupting" themselves, so to speak, by becoming politicized. I suppose we must recognize their right, like other persons, to take stands on political issues and to ally themselves with political parties. By doing that, though, they antagonize at least part of their audience, and it's hard for them to avoid getting soiled in the partisan mudslinging. As you say, speaking of the former situation in Hungary, the greater subtlety required previously may have been esthetically beneficial. Also some persons have a greater talent for satire and poetry than they do for more direct forms of expression.

I especially dislike it when actors become associated with partisan politics. I recognize their right to do so, but when I watch a movie or TV show, I like to see the actors only as the persons they're representing. This is difficult to do when I've formed a strong opinion about them personally. This applies not just to politics. I'm curious about their personal lives (and behind-the-scenes information about how films were made), but often I regret what I learn. If it's just trivial stuff, fine, but sometimes I learn important things -- good and bad -- that clash with how I need to see them in particular performances.

Too close an association with day-to-day politics is definitely detrimental from the artistic point of view. Also though famous writers and actors may turn out to be good politicians, talent in one area doesn't necessarily translate into talent in the other. I don't entirely discount the value of academic knowledge, artistic creativity, or acting ability, but many persons who excel in these areas are complete fools when it comes to managing their own lives or those of others (as someone who has had a good bit of experience in academia, I've encountered many of them, and I suppose that others have too :-). Eric Hoffer -- mostly self-educated "longshoreman philosopher" and author of The True Believer -- saw political skill as being something quite different. He saw it as requiring at least mediocre intelligence and knowledge but as not being measurable on the same scale with skills in literature and other forms of art.
Gjones2   Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:41 am GMT
>...seemed to focus on the chiefly non-satirical stream of American literature (authors like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, and others.... [Easterner]

The authors you mentioned are a good selection of 19th-century American writers. Though I'm from the South, my favorite writers from that century are from the Northeast, as those writers are. Emerson and Thoreau have especially influenced me (and Whitman, when I was a teenager). I'd add Twain to that list. On the surface Huckleberry Finn appears to be merely a humorous story for children, but I'd classify it as a great novel. Because Twain uses so much substandard dialect, though, he's not a good model for students of English. Also the subtleties of tone conveyed by the various slang and dialectal expressions may not be appreciated even by non-natives who know English very well.

Do you happen to remember some of the names of the works that you read? I'm curious about how that one-term course was set up. Did you have an anthology that contained excerpts or read entire works? Did all students have the same reading list, or did you choose works to read on your own -- or a combination? And were you taking this course during the Cold War or recently? (I'm not expecting an "exhaustive" answer. :-) Just a brief answer would be appreciated, though. To a considerable degree I've followed the plan of life that Thoreau outlines in chapter one of Walden, and because of that I have plenty of time to spend as I please. I realize that some persons are busier than I am.)
Guest   Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:13 pm GMT
*Butterfly*   Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:21 am GMT
It is of honour to the french people that they named the station Waterloo, to show the french people that objectivly in Britain, there are no "Anti-French" attitude. Give it a break, is it that important if french and british people looks at eachother a bit mean sometimes??? Look at the irish and british for example, they are constantly fighting, and still they are under the same Queen.
Benjamin   Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:52 am GMT
>> Look at the irish and british for example, they are constantly fighting, and still they are under the same Queen. <<

Queen Elizabeth II is not the head of state of the Republic of Ireland; only Northern Ireland. And arguably, Northern Ireland is the only place in the British Isles where this conflict genuinely continues — not really in mainland Britain or in Eire.
Bruce   Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:08 pm GMT
Has anyone recently noticed how a lot of people in the United States that speak English constantly are increasingly using the combined words “You Know” in conversations? The other day I was listening to an interview on TV with a famous person who also is what most consider intelligent. It was ponderous and totally unnecessary the number of times (counted 32) he said, “You know” during the five minute interview. Each sentence started and ended with “you know”. Am I going crazy? I don’t really know “like you know what I mean you know.” .”
Damian in Edinburgh   Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:18 pm GMT
I think that adding "you know" at the end of sentences is pretty well universal...here as well as "over there". It is unnecessary really, when you think about it, but we just don't think about it when we say it. Said repetitively it can drive you bonkers. It may be due to one of two things, perhaps both, why we say it:

To add emphasis to what we're saying
Because we lack full confidence in what we're saying.

Black people (it's almost invariably black people) here in the UK also say things like " you know what I'm saying?" or "you hear what I'm saying?" Every other sentence can be one or other of those two phrases....you hear what I'm saying, man?
Uriel   Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:15 pm GMT
Often adding "you know" and "um" and other largely meaningless words are really just nervous tics, not features of the dialect as a whole.
Travis   Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:31 pm GMT
At least here, "you know" often seems to act as if it were practically a third person pronoun of sorts, and is commonly used in the place of things which one does not want to directly say, either due to not wanting to actually specifically mention such or actually saying such would be too lengthy, when the person being spoken to most likely knows what one will say to begin with.
Travis   Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:33 pm GMT
(Note that for persons, though, one would say "you know who" in such cases rather than just "you know" here for such usages.)
Guest   Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:08 am GMT
"Often adding "you know" and "um" and other largely meaningless words are really just nervous tics, not features of the dialect as a whole."

I agree. With a lot of repetition, they're nothing more than the product of nervous tics.
Bruce   Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:11 am GMT
My concern is this repetitive “you know” thing I believe is becoming increasingly popular to say living in the United States and is spreading like some computer virus infecting hard drives except its people’s brains... It doesn’t seem to matter what race, location, gender, economic status and how educated people are. My guess if this trend keeps up it will soon become part of all normal verbal conversations all over the country and if people of other languages say English is difficult to learn including speaking just wait a few more years you know. Perhaps it is some terriost attack on the English language turning everyone that speaks English in the US to a bunch of “you knowers” and wonder if the US Governments Homeland Security should be notified. This could also be just my imagination, or I am loosing my mind and need mental help. I don’t claim to be very smart you know what I mean?
Thanks for your replies I feel much better after reading them.
Tiffany   Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:43 am GMT
Why, when Damian posted that "you know" is not an isolated American phenomenon, do you continue harping like it is? Of course, I dont really know if it is or isn't, but I trust Damian.

By the way, your passage is very hard to read. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you. And you meant "losing my mind", not "loosing my mind". Could be a typo, but I see people write that all the time. No clue where they learned it.
Guest   Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:14 am GMT
Computer viruses, people's brains, government, homeland security over a catchphrase... Bruce ensnared you Tiffany.