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Should We Preserve Individual Cultures in a Globalizing World?

American Idol has never seen this kind of philosophical debate! In the European song contest, Eurovision (the same contest that launched ABBA) the French are un peu mad that their candidate will be representing the country singing a song that's mostly English.

In response, the head of a group dedicated to preserving French against the growing use of English said, "a song represents the soul of a country. It appears logical that a song representing France be a French song sung in French." Making his argument he went on to denounce cultural "uniformity" and the "hegemony" of the English language in the modern world. But statistics show contest preference to English language songs — they've won 22 times since 1956. Perhaps proving the encroachment, this year more than half of the contestants—25—will sing in English.

The debate raises an important question. To see the conflict,

. Our world, thanks to the internet, easy plane rides, and economic interconnectivity is becoming smaller and smaller. The It's a Small World ride, while admittedly stereotypical, paints a silly but broad stroke sketch of the distinct cultures we might be sacrificing to globalism.

The French, with their Academie Francaise, a group dedicated to the preservation of the French language, are kicking out English words like email, supermodel, and Wi-Fi to help keep the culture and language pure. Is this the right move? Should countries become more proprietary and defend their cultures against the creep of influence from outside? Is diversity what makes our world unique, or is it the ability to evolve with changing times?


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PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
Oh, last thing:
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
Oh, and I think for many years or in the early part of the 20th century it was available in languages like German and Polish! And one opinion: "After Bush rejected the idea, British music producer Adam Kidron said, "We instead view `Nuestro Himno' as a song that affords those immigrants that have not YET learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent."
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
Hey Stephly, Wasn't there a big controversy last year, because someone dared sing the U.S. national anthem in Spanish? I got the following from Salon, "As the Associated Press notes, a State Department Web site currently offers four different Spanish-language versions of the national anthem as well as French and Arabic versions of the U.S Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance and other texts."
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
sorry about the additional post, just an example!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
In terms of daily use, Spanish can be expected to die out within two generations among Mexicans and other Latin Americans, the study concluded. The study found that Spanish dies out among children and grandchildren of immigrants even in areas with huge Latino enclaves. "Like taxes and biological death, linguistic death seems to be a sure thing in the United States, even for Mexicans living in Los Angeles, a city with one of the largest Spanish-speaking urban populations in the world," the authors wrote. That might explain why a Spanish language version of the Got Milk? ad campaign bombed in L.A., Rumbaut said. "The mothers might be watching La Madrasta (a popular Mexican telenovela), but the kids don't want leche," he said. "They want milk." While the findings might appease those who fear for the future of English, Rumbaut doesn't view them as completely positive. The United States has absorbed "more monolingual people than any other country in the world," but the irony is that it has ended up as a country of English-only speakers, he said. There is "a lot to be mourned" with the death of native languages, Rumbaut said, as well as the reality that monolingual Americans aren't as competitive in a global economy. Rumbaut has tried to combat the trend with his son, whom he was determined to raise bilingually. But he said school officials in two states tried to put his son in remedial classes after he listed his son as bilingual on enrollment forms. "If that is happening to me, someone with an advanced degree, I can only imagine what is happening to the overwhelming majority of immigrants," he said.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
Thanks Jude C!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
There is a reason that second language education is pathetic. We haven't needed it (until quite recently) to communicate with our immediate neighbors. Canada spoke english, and Mexico picked up english to be able to communicate with us (I'm not condoning that, it's just what happened). The European countries needed to be able to communicate effectively with each other, and since they are all neighbors over there....
Meike Meike 9 years
Second language education in America is...really quite pathetic compared to its first world counterparts. I agree with the French sentiment to not speak English in their own country to American tourists who visit. I've traveled in France and while I completely butchered their language, they appreciated my willingness to learn. Many countries feel similarly. When foreigners visit the U.S. we're all expected to speak English. However, at the same time with the globalization of the world, it is impossible to expect culture not to evolve. French culture will always be French culture no matter what era, and technology, education, and open-mindedness will advance that society. If we all tried to keep our culture 'pure' we'd be stuck in isolation in our own country with no outside influence. That is a sad place to be. Progress would slow down incredibly.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"ENGLISH is linguistically imperialistic" I agree with you 100%.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
*whoops too fast typing I meant..."doesn't compare to the IMPERIALISM of the English language"
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
I feel some people miss the larger point, I think ENGLISH is linguistically's what I am constantly saying. Americans are paranoid about Spanish, when no matter how much they may hear Hispanic immigrants speak it, doesn't compare to the IMPERIASLISM of the English language. No language is pure of course but you could argue that there is a superiorty or arrogrance that comes from American English. And I understand where the French are coming from with this...Americans' can be arrogant about their language. The French aren't saying speak only French (Europe is multilingual after all), they want to keep their culture as is and not have it twisted by American "culture" (and what is American culture? Football games, prom, wall street? That's pretty much it...)When Americans get any flavor they want to steal it from Blacks, hip hop culture and incoming immigrants and then it loses it purity and becomes generic like some mass produced shirt at Walmart!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i'm pleasantly surprised to see that people on here think that different cultures need to be preserved. its interesting, though - all cultures have influences from many others, so how "pure" are cultures, really? is it hard or easy to pick out what is of one particular culture from something (a nation, a person, etc)? i think language is a very important thing to keep going - for many First Nations communities in Canada, for instance, many languages are not being spoken anymore, or not by the majority - and so oral history is difficult to pass down.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
:ROTFL: hypnotic!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Are you a lawyer UnDave35?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
If I'm in France, I should be expected to speak French. If I'm in Spain, Spanish. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in America, do as the Americans do (lie cheat and steal) ;)
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
I used to like the Eurovision Song Contest better when they had the rule that songs had to be sung in an offical languages of the country, but, I guess, that did give an advantage to the UK, Ireland and Malta, so it's understandable they changed it. Still, I'm definitely more likely to vote for a song that's sung in the language (or one of the languages) of the country submitting it. I just think it makes the whole show more interesting.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Absolutely agree! I'd hate to see a homogenized global culture. Stephley: Preserving a national culture means, IMO, not singing the national anthem--of all things!--in any language other than the original. A funny bit of trivia: Apparently a number of Italian pop singers branch out and record alternate versions of their material in Spanish as well as Italian, because it's a much larger market. Eros Ramazotti and Laura Pausini, for example. (She sings in English, too.) And of course Shakira, who records in both Spanish and English. In our home we listen to pop and rock music in a number of non-English languages: Italian, German, Dutch. And, I guess, Icelandic (Sigur Rós). :kool:
superstar2780 superstar2780 9 years
how is this even a question? of course countries should try to preserve their languages and cultures. especially in this age of 'small world' globalization. the main reason I love traveling internationally is that I get to experience different cultures and foods and lifestyles, and I always make an attempt to learn a bit of the local language (although many times I am replied to in english anyway).
samantha999 samantha999 9 years
A beautiful voice singing in any language is a beautiful voice. French is a lovely language to listen to and used to be a mandatory second language but English is more widely used today for business throughout the world and is the language of new technology. This goes deeper then just singing in English. As the world grows smaller we feel encroachment on our ways. I do agree that a second language should be mandatory for our students today and started in public school when our minds adapt & learn faster. I am envious of my multi-lingual friends. Cultures, languages &/ or traditions, if they cause no harm (post #1) should be enjoyed and passed down from generation to generation. If we are all the same then we are boring.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Good for them! Hell yeah they should defend their culture. Gotta love diversity people!
Princess-Peach Princess-Peach 9 years
I'm French and I'm annoyed. I have ever watched Eurovision and the part of songs which are performed in English is more and more increasing. Even if I love my language, I don't think that singing in English is an attack on French culture. But I have to admit that it's a little bit paradoxical, in an European contest, no to sing in its mother tongue. I mean, Eurovision is a way to represent proudly the country and its linguistic distinctivenesses. Above all, it's a great pity. But as Citizen reported, English songs have more chance to win so I can understand the choice of the contestants ! About the attempt to kick out English words from the French language... I think it's chauvinistic and the translations are sometimes really laughable. Anyway it doesn't really work, because the most part of French people uses a lot of English words to speak.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"I think that one should be required to be conversational in a foreign language before they can earn a (college) degree." I agree completely. A lack of strong second-language education is one of the things that bothers me about the American educational system, even at the primary and secondary levels.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well I don't think it's any different than people who want to nationalize the English language here. What was that article a couple weeks back about the sandwich shop in Philly that said you had to order in clear English or you won't be served. Personally I'm all for bilingual education. I think that one should be required to be conversational in a foreign language before they can earn a (college) degree. I just think it would be more practical this way because in college one has chosen or is choosing a career path and they can then choose a language that may benefit that choice.
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