Monday, July 27, 2009

Language As A Policy

When language becomes a policy matter, the crux is the policy intent.

For the purpose of enhancing the livelihood of the people, the intent must be commercial and economic.

In the matter of culture, if culture is seen as a way to increase the likelihood of the survival of a people (which also means an improvement to their welfare) under all circumstance, then culture should have a stronger economic element than mere sentimentality over an established sense of identity.

Preserving a culture strictly in its old mode may be a futile attempt at stopping the flow of time and the changes in the environment. It resists adaptability and resourcefulness. It builds up narrowness for ease of control which in turn may quicken its own demise.

A good language policy is one that liberates the young from the grips of the old so that the young can chart a new future for themselves in the new world that will confront them, where they like it or not, as a direct consequence of the mindless actions of the old generations. The young will suffer the consequences of our errors and we must give them the means to save themselves from us. We must educate them by exposing to the frontier knowledge of the world, rather than hidding them under the coconut shell.

A good language policy should enourage the flourishing of knowledge in order for wisdom to grow.


walla said...

What is reality? Reality is what conjures in the mind through the five senses. How do the five senses work? Through electrochemical impulses fired through our neural network. What is that network made up of? Protoplasmic nerves running through and across with one end of each separated from the other end of the next by an empty gap at a neural synapse.

So, reality is dependent on emptiness.


Where is social culture located? One end of a nerve. What's across the divide? Another culture at one end of another nerve. What is that culture? The culture of knowledge.

The reality of today and tomorrow is a balance between social culture and knowledge culture. If mutually aligned, society will prosper. If mutually dis-aligned, society will not progress. A static society will benefit neither its social culture nor its knowledge culture.


If socio-economic engineering is about making social and economic policies, then language as a thrust in socio-economic engineering would necessarily mean there is a social policy apart from an economic policy for the language.

What is the role of a social policy as a language? To safeguard a means of communication. What is the role of an economic policy as a language? To develop an economic geography.

Which comes first? If the language is only useful within one enclosed society but not used by any other societies in which that society must interact for economic well-being, then that society will only be able to communicate within itself until the end of time. Without communicating and interacting, there will be no exchange of goods, investments and ideas. Without such exchanges, the society will become more insular and finally reaches a stage of stasis. It therefore follows that for the case of a society with a language that is not widely used, economic policy must precede social policy.

In that case, a language has to be first useful across an economic geography in order to qualify as an economic policy. If the language cannot fulfill that role, then it has to take secondary position to another language which can fulfill that role.

Because the primary objective is to achieve economic well-being first so as to afford the cost of maintaining a culture expressed by a language which intrinsically has marginal economic role in the present world.

Therefore, the economic policy of using an appropriate language shall have to precede the social policy of maintaining a culture.

walla said...

There is however a fear. The fear that in the very process of deputizing another language to foster economic well-being, the original language will atrophy from disuse and with it, the descent of the whole culture.

But how can that be in our own context when across a water over which people can paddle in the night, there are over two hundred million with another language reminiscent of the local language here, and for that matter, an equivalent culture with more open-minded approaches in many aspects?

Moreover, technology comes to the rescue. It captures, archives and titillates the essence of culture by wrapping it in the permafrost of knowledge...

For a quick translation..
or here to understand the neighbor better..

So it remains to say there are east-asian countries like Japan, Korea and there are european states like Switzerland and Finland. It is argued their languages are insular too so why are they economically well-off. Because they already have a knowledge culture. Their knowledge culture is so well-developed it is unhinged to float above the balance between their social policies and their economic policies.

They are in that polarity where high R&D sustains continuous economic well-being which pays for development of social culture in their own languages.

High R&D comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from continuous education and by loop from constant research. If education is conducted in a language that cannot access knowledge, then it does not serve the purpose for which it is intended. There will be no knowledge culture even if there is a healthy social policy for the language.