Back to Index

The decline of languages



Christopher Jones, who live in southern France, says "There is one language that has defended itself admirably against Pop culture: French. I can personally attest to the decline of Spanish and the outright destruction of German, but French sofar is holding up (in my opinion, despite franglais which is disappearing). Spain's Spanish had to contend with regional languages like Catalan and Basque, Francoist political promotion and destructive accents like Andaluz. Gallego is nothing other than Galego Portugués which was once the language of the royal court of Alfonso el Sabio. But has anyone noticed that today's written Spanish syntax is completely obtuse? I wonder what Pío Baroja would say? His command of Castellano was magnificent and his Basque? German has been confronted with the linguistic consequences of unification and its centrifugal dialects like Bayerisch. All in all, la langue sublîme will triumph as Europe's first, second language. (I hope that sounds contradictory.)

But the real enemy is TV!!!"

RH: The destructive affect of the cult of regional dialects on Spanish is painfully evident- Did Pío Baroja have a magnificent command of Castilian? It escaped me. I knew him, and his speech was somewhat uncouth. He did not know Basque. Christopher lives close to the Spanish border, where Catalan is spoken. My impression is that he is generous in his assessment of French. The decline in languages may be due in part to the loss of the habit of learning to recite poetry, which was an essential part of education. How many school children today can recite Goethe, Racine, or Shelley?

Ronald Hilton - 5/9/03


Webmaster