gsandi wrote:I studied them, then moved to environments where these languages are spoken. I also married a native English-speaker and had French-, Spanish- and Japanese-speaking girlfriends in the past. This does wonders for your linguistic ability.
I'd certainly imagine so.
gsandi wrote:The role of outside "protectors" in these matters is minimal. What matters is that speakers of Catalan in Spain or French in Quebec want to protect their own language, which is surely their political right. I don't see why this bothers you, anyway. If all you want is to live in a unilingual environment, you are perfectly free to try for a green card, move to the US, and never feel obliged to utter another word in a non-English language again.
Again, not what I meant. My goal has always been to show the dirty, bad, and inconvenient sides to linguistid diversity. Of course Catalonians and the Quebecois want to protect their own languages - but the Anglosphere, it seems, is ignorant to the sacrifices being made in the process. Sentimentality certainly shouldn't be the only, overriding factor in this issue.
What on earth are we arguing about? What does the gap between languages have to do with anything?
If you don't like the Catalan situation, let's talk about Singapore. It has a Chinese majority, and people belonging to that majority are expected to speak and write both Mandarin and English, in addition to speaking their own dialect, which tends not to be Mandarin. Malays and Tamils are expected to know their own language as well as English. There is incredible linguistic diversity.
How long do you think the situation in Singapore is going to last? Non-Mandarin Chinese dialects are lucky to survive at all into the next generation. Mandarin survives for the sole reason that it is taught at school - many people forget pretty much all of their Chinese when they graduate.
That is why Barcelona, from what I understand, is not reflective of linguistic vibrancy:
1) Political defiance is a large factor, but this kind of thing doesn't last.
2) Catalan is very close to lingua francas like Castilian or English, hence Catalonians do not nearly need to make the same painful effort as the rest of the world, which is after all where most of the linguistic diversity can be found.
3) A fully multilingual society like Catalonia is the last stage before it becomes monolingual, especially in the modern world.
These, combined together, means that Barcelonans have a much easier time in maintaining their linguistic diversity, but even then they will lose it eventually anyway.