Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Language police

annoying linguistic nationalism by takadashinji2

  I see that the language police are out in full force. The video above is from the Japan probe website as is the following text:
Introducing yourself as “Takeshi Tanaka” is “old-fashioned” English. Now, you should introduce yourself as “Tanaka Takeshi.” [Family name first, in the way one says names when speaking Japanese.]
As proof, they cite the New Horizons English textbook, which now teaches junior high school students to introduce themselves in the “new” style. This “new” style is based on the nationalistic way that Indians and Koreans speak English. Saying one’s family name first supposedly shows “respect” for Japanese culture.

  The global corrupting influence of Anglos is everywhere and one must always be on guard for these infiltrating neologisms. Of course they have a long way to go in order to match the ultimate language police in France, the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie and their little Canadian brother , the Office québécois de la langue française. From this website in France:

In some of its (Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie) most recent pronouncements, it has decided that words banned include "start-up", which must be called jeunes pousses, a "blog" must be called a bloc-note and "podcasting" has been given the appellation diffusion pour baladeur.
Neither any longer can you refer to a "talk show", which has become débat-spectacle and "touchpad" a pavé tactile.
"Peer to peer" has become poste à poste and "prime time" has become heure de grande écoute.
Several years ago the (French) government decided that an e-mail should be called a courriel and e mail address called adresse de courrier électronique, neither of which have been adopted by most French, who continue to use the English version.

  Quebec not to be to be outdone has its charter of the French language and local enforcers known as the tongue troopers to prevent Anglo predation on the language of Molière. Some interesting moments from the CBC files:

1996: A woman warns the owner of a Quebec pet store she might get in touch with language authorities because Peekaboo, the parrot she wanted to buy, didn't speak French.
1999: The Old Navy chain is asked to rename its stores "La Vieille Rivière." It never happens.
2000: The owner of an Indian restaurant is told he's breaking the law by having coasters for "Double Diamond," a British beer.
2001: Some people express disappointment that race-car driver Jacques Villeneuve calls his restaurant "Newtown."
2005: Language authorities say they will investigate complaints that Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay's party used the word "Go" on its posters and pamphlets, as in "Go Montreal."
2007: Imperial Oil says it will keep its Quebec-only "Marché Express" name for its Esso gas stations after protests against a proposal to change the name to "On the Run," as they are known elsewhere in North America.
2007: About 50 people protest outside a Second Cup outlet to demonstrate against the words "Les cafés" being dropped from "Les cafés Second Cup" at some of the chain's outlets.
2007: Language activists decry that callers to many Quebec government offices are told to "press nine" for English before instructions are delivered in French. Some of the departments have since changed the message to put English at the end.

1 comment:

  1. When I tell people these stories about Quebec, they think I'm joking.

    As for the Japanese family-name-first initiative, there is the same thing going on in Russia. :-)