Friday, November 16, 2007

"Euskera, the Very Ancient Basque Language, Struggles for Respect"

A recent post about the Wall Street Journal's coverage of Basque language policy got a set of comments, including a suggestion that linguists respond with letters. I didn't have a chance to (though it made my 'to do' list), but today, the WSJ's website runs a bunch of responses, under the headline given above. A mixed bag, as you'd have to expect, but worth looking at.

Even the new headline continues a bad streak: Ben Zimmer, in another comment on the original post, pointed out something linguists see constantly, namely that certain languages are regarded as 'ancient'. He's links to a good Bill Poser post on the Log about that, declaring that 'ancient' "apparently means that the language is exotic and associated with putatively ancient mysteries." In the current headline, that's a possible reading I suppose, but it just seems kind of hard to miss the fact that the pretty significant number of people today who are speaking Basque natively are not themselves 'ancient' in any way that I've ever noticed in my contacts with them.

Image from here.


Anonymous said...

And the link to the page is

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks. I didn't realize until later that they had stuff linked in two different ways.