Main Challenges Faced by

blessinghomoeopathΤεχνίτη Νοημοσύνη και Ρομποτική

30 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

67 εμφανίσεις

1

Main Challenges Faced by
Czech as a

Medium
-
Sized
Language: State of Affairs
at
the
Beginning
of

the 21
st

Century


Jiří Nekvapil, Charles University, Prague


jiri.nekvapil
@ff.cuni.cz

2

Czech Republic

3

Czech Republic: Basic facts


Territory of 78,866 square km
(
approx.

as
large as Austria or Portugal)


Population
of 10,230,000 (approx. the same
as Belgium or Portugal)


Exists since 1993 as a result of the split of
Czechoslovakia (which had approx. 15
million inhabitants)

4

The Issue of Small and Large Languages
or Is Czech a Small Language?


In some language pairs, the first language may be
classified as small, the second one as large. This
may be done on the basis of the following criteria:
number of speakers, spread of the language, its
economic strength, status of speakers, how the
language is elaborated, and its prestige.


The notion of a small or large language is relative:
with respect to a particular language, a language
may be small and with respect to a different
language, the same language may be large.

5

Population by mother tongue

6

“Linguistic confidence” of the
Czechs in the Czech language


The belief in the healthy functioning of (standard)
Czech has been widespread among Czech
linguists. Statements of leading specialists
working in the field of cultivation of Czech
include formulations such as “standard Czech is
perfectly and thoroughly capable of complying
with all communicative needs of the educated
speaker” (Uhlířová
,
Svobodová
,
Pravdová 2005
)
.
Significantly, the linguists’ self
-
confident
formulations draw on the “linguistic confidence”
of a considerable section of the Czech society.

7


“C
zech is a
small

language

used only
by the Czechs”
-

A
n
i
deology
t
ypical
for the Czechs


A consequence: The Czechs willingly accept that they
must accommodate linguistically, they don’t expect the
(western)
foreigners

(tourists, expatriates…) to speak
Czech

A consequence of that consequence: The Czechs
indirectly discourage these
foreigners

from learning
Czech

(
the absence of the Czech Foreigner Talk
)

8

Position of English
in the Czech
Republic


Up to now, Czech domains and genres have been
relatively sheltered from the expansion of English
by the rather low level of knowledge of English of
the general populace in the Czech Republic


Until now, English has also appeared to be
hindered from overtaking Czech in some domains
by its competition with German in the Czech
Republic. While this still holds true to a certain
extent, English is obviously gaining ground
nowadays.

9

Impact of
English


Use of English in highly specialized branches
(science, military affairs, astronautics,
cybernetics) is compensated for by the rich
metaphorical feature of technical terms used in a
non
-
terminological way by the whole population


overall, there is an
extensive process of
Czechifying of the English terms

both in semantic
and morphological aspects


Moreover, Czech is used on all levels of the
schooling system

10

Threats for the structure of Czech


Mechanical introduction of foreign elements into
the language which break up its typological, that
is, inflectional character


Non
-
declinable attributes (such as
„f
otbalo
v
á
Gambrinus

liga“

= the Gambrinus Football
League
)

violat
e

the traditional rule
according to
which

attributes that do not have the form of an
inflected adjective should be placed in
postposition (
>

„fotbalová liga
Gambrinus

)


The rejection of forming feminine forms from
masculine ones (masc. Johnson, fem. Johnson
ová
)

11

Relevant historical milestones


Czech national movement of the 19th century,
revival of the Czech language


Struggle with German


1918


birth of multiethnic and multilingual
Czechoslovakia


1945
-
47


forced evacuation of 2,5 million
Germans


1993


split of Czechoslovakia (loss of the
Slovaks)


12

Dominant position of Czech


The contemporary language situation in the Czech
Republic is characterized by the fact that, in spite
of the presence of tens of languages in the country,
Czech holds the dominant position in nearly all
spheres of social life, from official communication
to everyday communication. This has not always
been the case


the current situation has only been
in place for the past 50

60 years.

13

Recent growing linguistic
diversity


Ever since the opening of the borders in 1989,
when the Communist regime fell, there has been a
clear shift toward greater linguistic diversity in the
Czech lands, especially in large cities
.

This
growing linguistic and cultural diversity in the
Czech lands constitutes a great challenge to realize
changes in the Czech school system, language
policy, and last but not least, in the attitudes and
communicative habits of the Czech
-
speaking part
of the population.


14

15

Czech as a Foreign Language

and
Lingua Franca


One of the evident changes concerning the status
of Czech is an unprecedented increase in the
teaching and use of Czech as a foreign language
during the last ten to fifteen years. This is due to
the fact that the Czech Republic has become a
place attractive for tens of thousands of foreigners,
both as a result of migration within the EU and
external migration. The teaching of Czech as a
foreign language has therefore become a
pedagogical problem which hundreds of Czech
teachers have to face.


16

Czech as a Foreign Language
-

Abroad



The Czech state has been relatively active in
spreading Czech abroad

(
teaching fellowships),
but there is no institution specializing in the
propagation of Czech, comparable to the Goethe
Institut for German or Polonicum for Polish


Moreover, the teaching fellowships are not even
represented in all the EU member states (they are
lacking in half of the EU countries).

17

The issue of minorities


The Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities (ratified in 1997) and the Ethnic
Minorities Act

(2001) protect Czech of the following ethnicities: Bulgarian,
Croatian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Roma, Russian,
Rusyn, Serbian, Slovak, Ukranian. This approach was
implicitly criticised by the Advisory Commitee on FCPNM
in its report published in 2005
.



European Charter

for Regional or Minority Languages (
in
effect

only
since

200
7
) protects only these languages: Polish,
Slovak (provisions of Part II and III), German, Romani
(provisions of Part II only). Why? The criterion of

historicity

invoked.

18

Relative size of the Slovak linguistic
community

cc
a.
200 thousand

speakers of
Slovak, but:


n
o Slovak
-
language education
,


h
igh language
-
shift rate
.

19


Minorities
’ vs. ‘communities’

in the Czech Republic




Who is a
‘minority’ and who is a ‘community’


The issue of the Vietnamese group amounting to
cca. 100,000 members


Legal view vs
.

common sense view


Classifications are consequential


Scientific approaches should
be based

on common
sense
categories

rather than on legal
documents


‘Majority’ is just one ‘community’ among all
‘communities’ in a given state

20

Conclusions: Main challenges


not
for the Czech language but for the
Czech speakers


Restrict their Czech monolingualism



Becoming aware that Czech is not used only
by the Czechs


Accept that Czech is not necessarily a small
language


Maintain the typological, that is, inflectional
character of the language


21

Some References


Marti, R. and Nekvapil, J. (eds) (2007)
Small and Large
Slavic Language in Contact

(=
International Journal of the
Sociology of Language

183, special issue)


Nekvapil, J. (2007) On the language situation in the Czech
Republic: What has (not) happened after the accession of
the country to the EU.
Sociolinguistica

21 (Max Niemeyer
Verlag)
, pp.

36
-
54


Nekvapil, J., Sloboda, M., Wagner, P. (2009)

Mnohojazyčnost v České republice
.

Multilingualism in the
Czech Republic
. Praha:
Nakladatelstv
í Lidové noviny


Neustupný, J.V. and Nekvapil, J. (2003) Language
management in the Czech Republic.
Current Issues in
Language Planning

4, pp. 181
-
366







22

22

A to už je konec

Děkuji
,

Moltes gràcies,

T
hank you