Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - “An advice, ” “a good news”: Errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English

"By the way, what language is now being taught across the united states, not just increasingly in universities, but in high schools, middle schools—schools that advertise themselves as up to date, globally relevant? Chinese. mandarin Chinese. Meanwhile all those prestigious European tongues have practically disappeared: French, Italian, even german; while Spanish is managing to hang on, but, I recently learned, also struggling…." Harrow



Chinese is giving English  major competition, according to the above statement.  Note the implications of Brexit. If the UK were to sink into relative obscurity, economically, that would give Chinese an additional boost. This is another reason why we have to think 

multilaterally.


The 20th century was dominated by Anglo-American 

civilization. Not sure of that for the late 21st and 22nd centuries.






Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
8608322815  Phone
8608322804 Fax



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 7:31 PM
To: usaafricadialogue
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - "An advice, " "a good news": Errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English
 

Hi toyin

I suppose this issue is largely seen differently depending where you are standing/looking from

 

I don't know the real answer, so I'll make it up. My impression now is that scandanavian countries, and the low countries of the Netherlands and to a lesser degree Belgium, have adopted English for their university systems, to a large extent. Maybe Cornelius can enlighten us on that question.

I am not in love w English, nor do I care that other countries adopt it. I am not in love with French, nor do I desire other countries to adopt it.

However, when morocco opened a technical university, with instruction in English, it was trying to move out of the orbit of the local Arabic or French higher education for the sciences and technical studies. Why shouldn't they, if their grads would actually work better with other scientists around the world by doing so. I spent my entire long life trying to learn French well enough to read and function in it; I studied maybe 5 or so other languages, and regretted not working harder on African languages when I was younger.

Nothing can replace the study of wolof for people who want to live in Dakar. I've encouraged all my grad students to learn foreign languages, and two of them learned African languages.

So it is not by preferences for English, and even less for things American, that I can see the virtues of higher education in STEM being in English, especially in a country like Nigeria whose official languages includes English, and where we expect to be able to use English wherever you are in the country.

 

The heavy push for French, in francophone Africa, strikes me as artificial, and in fact my impression is that English has started to, or succeeded in, supplanting French as the "international" language to a large extent. I would mourn the ascension of English where other languages thrive, but as a parent who would care about his children succeeding, I'd definitely ask them to think about studying the language if they wished to enter into many professions for which it would be an advantage.

Can you imagine going to a major hotel almost anywhere in the world, now, and not have English available?

On the other hand, schooling should begin in local languages only, in  my view.

Lastly, when I taught in Dakar, the English degree dissertations had to be written in French. For political reasons. That was an extraordinarily weird aberration. Now, I've been told, that isn't the case.

ken

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Sunday 19 March 2017 at 17:51
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - "An advice, " "a good news": Errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English

 

Ken and others:

For my own education:

1. Can you supply a list of countries that have developed by primarily using the language of others?

2. The Hausa speaking people are more than Swedes, Afrikaners in South Africa, the population of Israel and several countries less than 10 million. Why do these other groups use their languages successfully ?

 

The source of the debate is that it is being framed as the use of Yoruba as a replacement to English. No. 

I need to be convinced that Farooq should not be allowed to submit a dissertation in a Nigerian language. What is wrong to write a PhD thesis in Hausa?

TF

Sent from my iPhone


On Mar 19, 2017, at 2:40 PM, Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu> wrote:

Toyin said:

In terms of development generally, the reality is that English is the language of modernity. Take it or leave it, it makes no difference. The Asians etc are scrambling to learn English. Why? The 20th century onward is dominated by Anglo-American civilization, as demonstrated by the cultural sweep of this civilization, as suggested even by the origins of this medium in which we are communicating.


I think he sums up an indisputable argument, in the claims that English is the language of modernity.

But that language that toyin identifies is really what Farooq has been calling standard English.

That means, as I understand it, not the language of a specific culture, but rather, as toyin said, perfectly, the language of modernity.

The language that airplane pilots all around the world have to master adequately to land a plane in an airport. Or for technicians to learn, or those whose livelihood depends on global traffic.

Like kids learning what to say to tourists. Not the language of anglo-american civilization, toyin, as far as I can see. There is nothing whatever that is specific to a given culture. That's why the words that are culturally specific, like slip or underpants or shorts or vest—all those words that are different in given cultures—are not the words that really matter in standard English, unless you are selling them as commodities. But when it comes to something like barrels of oil, or dollars, or Chinese words for currency, etc., become universal.

Words you need to know if you go to a hotel, or, more importantly, if you run the hotel; not words that are used in people's homes.

Foreign words, flat words, professional words, words for those who are trained, not those who just grow up hearing the words.

Words like thanks and goodbye; not like how much? Where?

See ya'

Tata

Or words that change, quickly, like slang, in contrast with words used by tv announcers whose broadcasts are seen around the word.

By the way, what language is now being taught across the united states, not just increasingly in universities, but in high schools, middle schools—schools that advertise themselves as up to date, globally relevant? Chinese. mandarin Chinese. Meanwhile all those prestigious European tongues have practically disappeared: French, Italian, even german; while Spanish is managing to hang on, but, I recently learned, also struggling….

ken

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

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