Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Freedom fighters?

In the long-running debate about whether or not the global spread of English is a good or a bad thing, my flaky old teacher arguments about the beauty of diversity tend to cut little mustard (note wilfully obscure but linguistically beautiful idiom use!). As reported here previously, my class consistently reduce me to tears with their CocaCola vision of all the peoples of the world singing in perfect (English) linguistic harmony. So this week, in a bid to get some perspective on the issue, I thought we'd take a look at what some of those peoples of the world think of the matter! Seems only fair, really....

And this week it seems that the linguistic freedom fighters have been hard at it, trying to liberate their languages from the influence of English. We're not talking polite letters to the editor of The Times here - we're talking direct action!

First up are the Welsh speakers who held up a train for 20 minutes to protest against the train company's attitude to the Welsh language, allowing it, in their opinion, to be dominated by English. The protesters tied themselves to the seats and refused to pay their fares - now that's what I call attitude!

Activists warn of new train demos

Then there are the Tamil political campaigners who are so angry about the use of English words in the titles of Tamil films that they are prepared to go on a 5 day march to protest about it. 5 days! And in response, the regional government has threatened 'severe action' against any of these people who engage in violence to prevent the screening of the films. Hot stuff or what?!

No compromise on English titles

In France, it's the government which is taking the action, this time attempting to insist that popular reality TV shows based on British or American models are given French names. Out goes 'Popstars'; in comes 'Vedettes de Varietes'. Not too much heavy stuff planned at the moment - just the threat of a reminder letter - but the French TV licensing authority does have the power to fine broadcasters and revoke their licences. Is Popstars really worth that?!!

No more Popstars for French telly

So, check out the links and post a comment. Where do you stand in this debate?


At 11:26 am, Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

A friend of mine took part in the protest againt Arrive (train company which owns the Wales franchise). There are a lot of protests going on in Wales re: the language but I guess only a few get on Uk telly and suppose causing havoc on a train get'ss TV people interested. I think it's great that a teacher (from England I assume?) is raising the puplis awareness of the different lingustic situations of the UK. If you like, I can give you a 'guided tour' of blogs in Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic (although I only speak Welsh) + keep you informed of Welsh language protests on future. If your interested, leave a comment on one of my blogs.


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