Friday, August 8, 2008

Mallorca ... talking regional

Yesterday evening I talked with my aunt who passed many years on holiday in Mallorca. When talking about what Vox Humanitatis does, she told me that now it is some years that people there changed street signs and "refuse" to speak Spanish. That is even with tourists. She says she finds it great that they use their local language, but at least with tourists they should be willing to use Spanish, because it needs to be considered that most tourists will have problems to learn the local language.

We consider a language to be a communication platform which needs to be chosen according to the occasion. Of course we strongly support the local culture which also includes local language, but we also must remain human in doing this to those who are from another place and will never be able to understand it, so there is a need to choose the "common" communication platform, which mostly will be one of the national languages of the country you live in or in many cases English as a lingua franca.

Besides that: Mallorca lost two tourists which went there on holiday even more than once a year ... so it is also about business.

Keep your local culture alive, allow kids to learn the mother tongue, which is the local language, use it not only at home, but also for business and in education, and be aware that for example tourists love your using your local culture including the language, because it strengthens the identity of the place they are visiting and they will have a more memorable holiday but they also need your help when it is about communication and they wish to speak the languages they know and indeed it is up to anyone of us to help people to communicate.

By doing this remember: the more contact you have with people, even in other languages than your mother tongue, you can teach them about your culture and a bit here and there the will want to learn more about your culture including your language. It is all about inclusion and not exclusion.

My kids? Well I am of the generation which was not allowed to learn my mother tongue, so I understand Itzgründisch which is part of Mainfränkisch, but I am not able to transfer my original culture and mother tongue to them (for now ... since I am trying to learn my mother tongue and anyway I often translate from it into German when I write personal notes). My kids grow up with Neapolitan, Italian, German and English and they are well able to distinguish all of these languages. It is even better: knowing all these languages they have a very wide view of the world, reaching from very local to very global ... I hope they will learn also about more less resourced cultures, not only their own one ... well: they are having plenty of contacts to them :-) so chances are actually good.

This today was quite a personal post, I first of all wanted to write on my personal blog, but since it is about less resourced cultures I put it here. I am curious if you have any comments.