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Debate Info

8
6
Yes, they should No, they shouldn't
Debate Score:14
Arguments:12
Total Votes:17
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes, they should (7)
 
 No, they shouldn't (5)

Debate Creator

catninja(249) pic



Should minority languages be protected?

A minority language is one with a relatively low number of speakers. In Britain, these would include languages like Welsh, Cornish and Scottish Gaelic. Should languages like these be given special government protections to help prevent them from dying out?

Yes, they should

Side Score: 8
VS.

No, they shouldn't

Side Score: 6
1 point

Yes ! we should protect these minority languages . I know homogeneity in languages should be there but that really doesn't mean that we should make them extinct . And storing them in dictionaries will really doesn't help unless someone speaks it . These languages can be used in war times when you don't want your enemy to know what are you really talking about and not only that it also displays the culture and we should save the culture of the area .

Side: Yes, they should
2 points

These languages can be used in war times when you don't want your enemy to know what you are really talking about

That's a good point. I once heard a (sadly probably apocryphal) anecdote that in a German POW camp, some British prisoners were able to communicate with each other in Welsh, and were able to coordinate an escape that way. The Germans, of course, had no idea what they were saying, only that they weren't speaking English!

Side: Yes, they should
1 point

In a place like the UK or the US minority languages should be protected otherwise it would look like hypocrisy for the two countries if it weren't protected point 1. Point 2 as far as Welsh, Scottish, etc. those languages should be used by the government where the native speakers are the most or where it is the birthplace of such languages.

Side: Yes, they should

yes, definitely, for I believe every culture gives us something to cherish!!

Side: Yes, they should
1 point

Hello cat:

Yes, they should, but ain't nobody gonna DO it.. Look.. If we're NOT willing to protect our environment, do you think anybody cares about some words???

excon

Side: Yes, they should
catninja(249) Disputed
1 point

I don't think that's completely fair. We managed to revive Manx and Cornish because of huge community efforts, and there are now Manx language primary schools and Cornish language pre-schools.

I think you might be underestimating the power national or regional pride some people have. Yes, it's a shame people don't feel the same way about the environment, but maybe we shouldn't dismiss humanity as a lost cause just yet.

Side: Yes, they should
2 points

Why would we bother? The only purpose of a language is to use it to think and communicate. We should retain the knowledge of languages that are dying out, but this can be achieved by simply codifying them in dictionaries. Also while I can appreciate the speakers of such languages may wish to retain their culture, that is their responsibility. Further, homogeneity of language is actually a good thing because it facilitates communication between diverse peoples.

Side: No, they shouldn't
catninja(249) Disputed
1 point

I don't wholly disagree with you, but I'll take the opposing side.

I agree that the knowledge of languages should be preserved, although dictionaries are not the best way to retain the information. Not only do we want to preserve the vocabulary of the language, we also want to make sure the grammar and pronunciation are recorded somewhere. It makes life easier if you're a linguist who wants to understand dead languages. :)

However, I would argue that bilingualism in Wales and northern Scotland is a good thing. Because they've got government backing, you can see your language on road signs etc. and you can even opt to take some tests (like your driving test) in Welsh.

Since the English were responsible for the death of Cornish, and the suppression of Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, I think we do have some responsibility to help make sure those languages live on. The languages will only ever be second languages; almost everyone who uses them can speak English just as well if not better.

With regards to other minority languages, keeping them alive makes them fascinating to study. For example, speakers of Guugu Yimithirr actually see the world in a slightly different way due to their orientational words (instead of describing something as being to the "left", they describe it as being "north" etc. and they have an inbuilt sense of direction). Another example is speakers of languages which divide the colour spectrum differently, and that influences their perception of colour.

Side: Yes, they should
WinstonC(1226) Disputed
1 point

"I agree that the knowledge of languages should be preserved, although dictionaries are not the best way to retain the information. Not only do we want to preserve the vocabulary of the language, we also want to make sure the grammar and pronunciation are recorded somewhere. It makes life easier if you're a linguist who wants to understand dead languages. :)"

Sure, we can retain other information about the language in other books too, though dictionaries do contain pronunciation.

"However, I would argue that bilingualism in Wales and northern Scotland is a good thing. Because they've got government backing, you can see your language on road signs etc. and you can even opt to take some tests (like your driving test) in Welsh."

I can appreciate that some Welsh people may only speak Welsh and therefore things need to be translated for them. I don't regard this as "prevent(ing the language) from dying out" though.

"Since the English were responsible for the death of Cornish, and the suppression of Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, I think we do have some responsibility to help make sure those languages live on. The languages will only ever be second languages; almost everyone who uses them can speak English just as well if not better."

These events have nothing to do with anyone that is alive now. I don't expect the French (or any other past conqueror) to help us reclaim English culture from when France ruled England. French rule indisputably changed our culture, language and more.

"With regards to other minority languages, keeping them alive makes them fascinating to study. For example, speakers of Guugu Yimithirr actually see the world in a slightly different way due to their orientational words (instead of describing something as being to the "left", they describe it as being "north" etc. and they have an inbuilt sense of direction). Another example is speakers of languages which divide the colour spectrum differently, and that influences their perception of colour."

While I can appreciate what you're saying, retaining the information about the language in books would include such knowledge. You conveyed this information to me, but there was no need for a Guugu Yimithirr speaker.

Side: No, they shouldn't
1 point

One of the best posts, if not the best, I've ever seen on this, or any other debating forum.

I hate to say this, but your view on this issue mirrors my own exactly, except you have just expressed it more graphically and significantly better than I could have done.

With your permission I may use part or all of your text verbally in an on going local, politically contentious affair.

Side: No, they shouldn't
1 point

Sure thing, I'd be honored.

..................................

Side: No, they shouldn't
1 point

Define "protected".

If by protected you mean mandate in certain places it has to be spoken, and mandate it gets taught in schools, then I say no. Don't artificially prop something up.

But if by protected you mean allow the knowledge to be stored in a museum and to be studied (voluntarily) in school then why the heck not?

Side: No, they shouldn't