Månskensdans

Litteratur-, språk- och kulturblogg.

Johan Jönsson
johanjonsson.net

söndag, juni 18, 2006

Alexander Arguelles om språkkunskaper

Let me begin by clarifying that when I say an educated person "should" know half a dozen languages, I mean this "should" as an attainable goal to be striven for, not as a criterion for judgment that anyone who does not know this many is not well-educated. Since contemporary culture does not hold up this goal, individual products of its educational systems are hardly to blame if they have not attained it.

[...]

1. Ample anthropological evidence that it is normal for normal individuals from truly multilingual societies such as parts of Africa and India to know half a dozen languages.

2. Look at any scholarly tome from the 19th century and you will see that no translations are provided for quotations from … Latin or Greek or French or German or Spanish or Italian. Obviously it was a reasonable and justified assumption that anyone who would read such a book would be able to read these languages. [...] The range, the breadth, the depth, the quality, and the quantity of 19th century scholarship measured against the output of contemporary scholars in the same field is incomparably greater. Obviously, linguistic range facilitated flexibility of mind while its absence narrows it.

[...]

I do not believe there is any particular half a dozen formulaic languages that can be prescribed for all people because the issue is so culture bound. In general, I think that well-educated individuals in my ideal world should know a) the classical language(s) of their own civilization, b) the major living languages of their broader culture, c) the international language (English) if this is not one of these or a semi-exotic if it is, and d) one exotic language of their own choosing. For example:

A well-educated Westerner “should” know: a) Latin & Greek, b) English & French, Spanish or German, c) Russian, and d) Persian or Arabic or Sanskrit or Hindi or Chinese or ...

A well-educated Middle-Easterner “should” know: a) Arabic, b) Persian, Turkish, & Hebrew, c) English & French, and d) Latin or Urdu or Japanese or ...

A well-educated Indian “should” know: a) Sanskrit & Persian or Arabic, b) Hindi/Urdu & Bengali, Marathi or Gujarati or…, c) English, and d) Italian or Korean or Swahili or ...

A well-educated Easterner “should” know: a) Classical Chinese, b) Mandarin, Japanese, & Korean, c) English, and d) Greek or Pali or Persian or ...

  - Alexander Arguelles, via Japanese for Life.

4 Kommentarer:

Anonymous Robert sade:

Aj då...

Jag antar att jag för evigt är dömd att anses vara outbildad...

Att jag närmar mig 350 högskolepoäng är mindre intressant, eftersom jag blott behärskar 3 språk...

Jag har i och för sig även försökt mig på polska, men kom inte längre än till alfabet och siffror och några enklare fraser.

Finns det hopp eller är jag för evigt dömd till okunskapens skärseld?

24/6/06 13:56  
Anonymous Johan sade:

Let me begin by clarifying that when I say an educated person "should" know half a dozen languages, I mean this "should" as an attainable goal to be striven for, not as a criterion for judgment that anyone who does not know this many is not well-educated.

//JJ

24/6/06 14:04  
Blogger Ryan sade:

I don't know Swedish but I think that these quotes from Dr. Arguelles are pretty cool. They give food for thought to be sure. Thanks for sharing.

14/5/08 17:22  
Anonymous Anonym sade:

Hei,
jeg er en av disse "well-educated westeners" som har slekt i hele Europa og leser (og snakker) en del europeiske språk. Men utfordringene du snakker om synes meg litt for høye for de fleste.
As a child born just after the war it was Dutch, Nethergerman and German, because of a Danish aunt a very little bit Danish, at school Latin, English, French, and as I had some girl friends, I had to understand Spanish and Catalan, because of my wife Swedish and, when a friend moved to Italy, Italian - and when I emigrated to Norway in 2006, it became Norwegian. Men selv om jeg har slekt i Tsjekkia og Hellas og jobbet i Nepal og Tansania så har jeg aldri lært meg disse språkene.
Je ne suis pas perfecte mais ce n'est pas un problème à lire un texte en francais.
Mangels Praxis habe ich einen Teil meiner Kenntnisse verloren, neige wie viele dazu, die Sprachen zu mischen, aber es ist leicht, sie in kurzer Zeit zu reaktivieren.
I alle fall er det lett å forsto andre og bli forstått når man er åpen for andre idiomer. Dette skal man begynne med allerede i barndommen, så er det også lett i alderen. Jag beundrar asiatarna och afrikanarna som pratar engelska eller franska - og dette mest bedre enn turistene.

17/7/09 12:53  

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