Y5CAL: Have a lovely holiday!

Make it English, too! Listen intensively! You can revise the grammar by visualizing it as you listen! And you can also kind of forget about the grammar, and just enjoy trying to understand spoken English.

Remember our first lesson back together will be a discussion of the Marigold movie. Read the last two pages in the screenplay to gather ideas.

I’d also like to apologize for ranting and raving against the Royal Academy of the Dead Word in Spanish! Please, consider that Linguists are seldom listened to. I mean, because people speak their native language, people think that they have nothing to learn from linguists, and they are wrong. Linguists devote their lives to learning about languages, to analyzing/analysing language scientifically, and not from tradition. I’ll try to explain all I said and more in English on this blog one day! 🙂

Just clarify something: language revitalization policies are necessary when languages have been banned as was the case when we had a dictatorship, ending in 1975 (at least, theoretically) and want to be recovered. Thanks to this, Basque stopped being a language in danger of extinction, for instance. These policies imply that the language gets to be taught at school as a compulsory subject, like other compulsory subjects. Beyond that, bilingualism needs to be encouraged, if the community is capable of being bilingual, or needs to.

Nowadays, languages are not banned in Spain, but some are dying, like Aragonese. And then if they die it is because people don’t want to use them anymore. And that’s sad but it’s life, too. Latin died and we’re ok about it. Life goes on. It is a pity a language dies, because a language represents a culture, a way of understanding the world (and no Royal Fuck You can impose their understanding of the world through language), but if people choose freely not to speak it, making them speak it is pointless.

Now the approach to revitalizing a language that implies that certain Men decide what is correct to say, the prescriptive approach to languages, is anachronic and implies an utter lack of respect to the fact that it is people who shape a language, like Ferdinand De Saussure so amazingly explained, starting what we call Modern Linguistics, a descriptive field of knowledge and not a prescriptive tool to mould a language according to a certain ideology — in RAE, as can be analyzed/analysed scientifically when one analyzes the definitions, the selection of words in its DRAE dictionary, racist, mysoginist, homophobic and classist. Trash DRAE, unless you want to use it to learn about how ideological a dictionary can get, or have a laugh with friends. Get yourself a copy of Clave, or María Moliner, or any other descriptive dictionary. And read this book analyzing DRAE so you can see what I mean. You will be amazed, and discover a lot of important things about language. http://www.mujerpalabra.net/pensamiento/lenguaje/eulalialledocunill/sobrediccionarios.htm (465 pages, you can download it).

Why do you think dictionaries in English are so fucking good? There are no Royal Fuck Up Language Academies in English-speaking countries, distorting the words people use and denying the existence of words people use. In English, people who LOVE language create the dictionaries by listening and reading, and collecting the words that exist, with the meanings people who use them give them.

So what I say is, Please, don’t explain things about language to a linguist, unless you are a linguist. You can ask, you can certainly express your opinion, but if the linguists tells you “That’s a common misperception” the next exchange should be “Why?” and not an insistence in explaining the thing the linguist said was a misperception to the linguist, as if the problem were that the linguist does not know about that idea. How could a linguist not know about a common misperception people have about language?

You see, I’m not only an English teacher. I’ve been reflecting upon language all of my adult life (30 years), learning, studying, thinking, analyzing it… Plus, I’ve been a language activist for about the same amount of time, a bit more. For a feminist, language is a key tool for social change. We know of its power to shape thoughts and feelings and behavio(u)rs.

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