This is for discussions about the community, players, forum games, grudge matches, memes and everything else related to ESOC and its members.
User avatar
Tuvalu gibson
Gendarme
Posts: 8896
Location: USA

20 Jul 2019, 23:12

fightinfrenchman wrote:
gibson wrote:12% Jewish


Uh oh, this might upset some people on the forums!
@Gendarme im part of the deep state that controls the world
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Gendarme
iwillspankyou
Posts: 5761

20 Jul 2019, 23:22

he is No longer a part of this community, I am glad
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
France kami_ryu
Retired Contributor
Posts: 1970
ESO: kami_ryu & incognoto
Location: Denver, CO, USA, Earth, Milky Way, Virgo Supercluster

21 Jul 2019, 00:06

I do not mind it when umeu posts. I enjoy it when he does. :/
Hold me close when it's over
Life goes slow loving sober
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Gendarme
iwillspankyou
Posts: 5761

21 Jul 2019, 00:28

kami_ryu wrote:I do not mind it when umeu posts. I enjoy it when he does. :/

I enjoy those posts to, they are mostly with a great substance that I can learn from.
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Gendarme
iwillspankyou
Posts: 5761

21 Jul 2019, 00:36

tbh. @Mods could close this thread now, it no longer about my OP, by far.
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9999

21 Jul 2019, 03:34

Dolan wrote:
umeu wrote:Nah, i didnt deny anything lol. Actually youre denying that people speak more than one language. According to you 100 votes from ppl all over the world with different backgrounds wont tell you anything meaningful but hard to measure reactions from 50 hongkong students is enough to make generalisations about over a billion people. Somewhere there is something wrong. Its up to you to accept or deny it.
Considering that this forum requires you to use English, the sample would show selection bias and therefore conclusions would be useless. You'd be studying a very niche sample of people with similar interests and motivations to learn a foreign language, who aren't representative of the rest of the population. You'd need larger samples that have been drawn up randomly. For example, if you chose to study the ability to learn foreign languages in all the people who access ambulance services or go through a cesarean, you'd have a better chance at getting results closer to those from a random, representative sample. But if you chose to study the ability to learn foreign languages in people who joined a forum where communication is based on using English, you're going to land in a very distant point from reaching statistical significance, relative to the general population. It's really just sociology and statistics basics.

The reason why I doubt your assertion that "most people are bilingual" is not just that you didn't post any large-sample research showing this, but also because the links you provided in support of your statement are from blogs that don't quote any methodology that was used to get at those percentages. How did they define that someone qualified as bilingual? In one of the links you posted, a psychologist hillariously claimed that he considered billinguals those that use words from a foreign language while trading with neighbouring countries. You know, like British lorry drivers learning a few French words to be able to tell customs officers what kind of wares they're transporting. It doesn't matter that in any other social context, these people would never use a foreign language, because they don't relate to people from other countries much or at all, if they manage to use a few words in a limited context, they qualify as bilinguals. That's not really enough for someone to demonstrate cultural flexibility, let's get real. It's not enough for them to have to adapt to cultural norms from outside their own native culture, beyond just a temporary, very definite context.


Cultural flexibility is a term and theory that you have just made up and not properly explained, most likely, because as you said, you haven't properly worked it out for yourself yet. So let's not make that a criteria for language ability, since nobody but you yet knows what it's supposed to mean. I speak French and Portuguese, but I know very little about their cultures besides what i know from history, which i would also know if i didnt speak those languages. I know as much about for example italian or danish culture, even though i dont know their languages. And while for example I speak English fluently, amd mamy Americans often ask me which state I'm from, I don't think I would fit in at all in American culture. I would feel better in Denmark, probably.

First of all, it's not my claim. Google multilingual, and you'll find that claim everywhere. I don't think I've said that most people speak another language, but if I did, it was a poor choice of words. I think in my initial reply, i mentioned around 50%, perhaps a bit more. It could perhaps be 40% if you take a more narrow definition of multilingualism, or 60 to 75 if you take a wider one. Numbers from the European Council mention 54% for Europe. I think numbers in Asia and Africa will be on par if nor exceeding that, considering that there are a ton of regional languages which share little to no linguistic roots yet are in close proximity with each other. For example my mother learned to speak Papel (her tribal language), Creolo (lingua franca of the region), portuguese (official language) and she speaks balanta (neighbouring tribal language) as well. And that's very normal. It's the same for her sisters and brothers. The younger generation is less likely to learn another tribal language, but more likely to learn another international language, such as English or French. This is the reality for many people with a regional language, as they speak that language growing up, but also learn the official or lingua franca when going to school. This would definitely be the case in China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Senegal, Guinee, kenya, Nigeria, Congo, South Africa, Morocco, some baltic states. Just looking at how the world works, to say that only a small fraction is bilingual, and only because they have some special undefined drive to culturally assimilate, is a very bold claim. and to be honest, you should be the one to prove it. Show me the research, including methodology for this.

There's a reason why every article about bilingualism estimates it around 50%, that's because it's very plausible, even when it's hard to pin down exactly. Obviously just exchanging a few words at the gas station isn't enough to qualify as bilingual in my book, nor in most other people's, in that case 100% of the world would be bilingual. So as usual you just pick one silly statement by someone to disregard everything associated with it. Being able to have a conversation about day to day stuff and being able to ask for help or other things, while being understood with only a small to no amount of effort is enough (for example Queen is around B1, while kickass would be A1, kaiser would be B2-C1, while Zoom, you and I would be C1-C2) This is around b1 level, it's also the level most students reach when they graduate high school in a different language.

But language is a skill, you will lose it if you don't use it, so the older people get, the less likely they're still able to speak more languages. For example, i used to be able to speak 5. But I haven't spoken german in years, and so i would no longer say that I can speak it. French is still active enough, but I used to be quite fluent in French, while now I would struggle to participate in a conversation or write a letter though my receptive skills are still solid enough. In 10 years I've gone down from 5 languages (b1+ lvl) to 3.5. And indeed now it would require special motivation and effort to learn a new language, even though i have moved to a country which language i don't speak. That's partially the reason why it's hard to pin down how many people exactly speak multiple languages, as language skill fluctuates.

People don't come to this forum to learn English. It's not their motivation. Being able to converse about things you like is indeed a motivation to learn a new language, but I don't think this forum is special in that regard. With online communication becoming bigger and bigger, i think many people of the younger generations have such motivation and those who are active online will be exposed to and learn an international language to access media of their choice. English, chinese, spanish, russian and japanese being the most common ones, probably. But you're right, most people active on this forum most likely have a level of confidence in their ability to communicate in English which doesn't represent the global population, otherwise they wouldn't have signed up and posted. You can ask them how many languages they speak besides English and their native language, though. And I'm sure you'll still end up closer to 50%, and not the 10% which you claimed.


In this interview a professor briefly talks about a few common misconceptions that abound about multilingualism, some of which you also seem to subscribe to. Starts in the 2nd paragraph. https://www.francoisgrosjean.ch/bilingu ... ot_en.html
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 3964
Location: aka Neuron

21 Jul 2019, 07:53

Every dictionary I'm checking says that bilingualism implies native level or equal fluency:

Image

Image

Image

Another linguist, Leonard Bloomfield, defined bilingualism as:

Image
https://books.google.ro/books?id=87BCDV ... &q&f=false

So, I guess, even linguists disagree on whether bilingualism should have a strict or lax meaning. The one you quoted believes that just using two languages makes someone a qualified bilingual, while Bloomfield thinks language competence is key.

I love good randomness; highly addictive.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9999

21 Jul 2019, 08:13

Bloomfield's definition, which you quote, is almost a hundred years old, and many other definitions have been proposed since (and probably before as well). http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/ca ... 012600.pdf Language development has been studied more and much more has been learned about multilingualism since bloomfield has died. It's like coming up with the ancient greek theory of atoms when discussing physics. Also, dictionaries list popular usage of words, and we've already established that many people hold false beliefs about multilingualism.

Using a language in day to day life implies competency in the language. It doesn't imply mastery, which frankly is an absurd claim to make. You do not need native level competency in a language in order to achieve fluency, that is, a level of ease, accuracy and confidence when expressing yourself. Languages are tools for communication. You learn to use a tool to the extent that you need it. Kaiserklein for example doesn't have native level competency in English, but he can more than adequately express himself in the language in most contexts and situations. To say that kaiser is not bilingual because he doesn't have native level mastery of English, or because he doesn't speak it as well as he does French, is bullshit in my book, and probably in the book of many modern-day linguists as well. Requiring someone to speak both languages equally well is an even weirder requirement. Almost nobody, or most likely nobody, speaks 2 languages at the exact same level. Just like no athlete plays 2 sports at the exact same level, or any aoe3 player plays 2 civs at the exact same level.

But yes, these definitions are contested, even the definition of what a language is exactly is contested. If you want to insist on complete mastery, then sure. But imo in that case, many native speakers don't reach that level either, and we should conclude that some people don't even speak 1 language properly.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... ltilingual
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilingualism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... nd_regions
User avatar
Great Britain Riotcoke
ESOC Media Team
Posts: 1825
ESO: Riotcoke
Location: Best County in the UK

28 Jul 2019, 21:40

SirCallen has been bullying me, what do i do?
You have the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. And the question that I want to ask, that we're all going to ask, is "Who are you?"
User avatar
No Flag fightinfrenchman
Gendarme
Donator 03
Posts: 7569

28 Jul 2019, 21:41

Riotcoke wrote:SirCallen has been bullying me, what do i do?


Just wait, soon his mind will be completely rotted from the inside out. Unfortunately so will yours
There's sand in my teeth
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 3964
Location: aka Neuron

28 Jul 2019, 22:02

umeu wrote:Bloomfield's definition, which you quote, is almost a hundred years old, and many other definitions have been proposed since (and probably before as well). http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/ca ... 012600.pdf Language development has been studied more and much more has been learned about multilingualism since bloomfield has died. It's like coming up with the ancient greek theory of atoms when discussing physics. Also, dictionaries list popular usage of words, and we've already established that many people hold false beliefs about multilingualism.

Using a language in day to day life implies competency in the language. It doesn't imply mastery, which frankly is an absurd claim to make. You do not need native level competency in a language in order to achieve fluency, that is, a level of ease, accuracy and confidence when expressing yourself. Languages are tools for communication. You learn to use a tool to the extent that you need it. Kaiserklein for example doesn't have native level competency in English, but he can more than adequately express himself in the language in most contexts and situations. To say that kaiser is not bilingual because he doesn't have native level mastery of English, or because he doesn't speak it as well as he does French, is bullshit in my book, and probably in the book of many modern-day linguists as well. Requiring someone to speak both languages equally well is an even weirder requirement. Almost nobody, or most likely nobody, speaks 2 languages at the exact same level. Just like no athlete plays 2 sports at the exact same level, or any aoe3 player plays 2 civs at the exact same level.

But yes, these definitions are contested, even the definition of what a language is exactly is contested. If you want to insist on complete mastery, then sure. But imo in that case, many native speakers don't reach that level either, and we should conclude that some people don't even speak 1 language properly.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... ltilingual
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilingualism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... nd_regions
The problem with this relativistic approach to definitions is that if you keep stretching the definitions (ie, to include as many as possible in this category of bilinguals) because you claim limits to meanings are arbitrarily set, you end up operating with your own personal meanings, that don't match those found in the dictionary.

I would go back to common sense and logic, in this respect. What would a notion of bilingualism aim to mean, if not the fact that someone has an unusual ability of speaking another language, besides his own native language? Because, if bilingualism was common, it would have been such an ordinary quality, it would have barely needed its own word. And what would be so unusual about this quality, than the fact that bilinguals would be able to use another language equally well as their native one? It seems quite clear to me what the meaning of the word aims at fixing in terms of semantics: the unusual quality of being able to speak in another language, as if you are a native. That doesn't imply any particular degree of competence, just as nobody expects a high degree of competence from a native either. However, everyone expects fluency, the quality of finding one's words in a certain language fast and being able to express oneself without significant effort. Besides that, most speakers of any language rarely use beyond a few thousand words on a regular basis. But I wouldn't jump at concluding that the majority of people on the planet are bilinguals, just because one particular linguist thinks "times have changed, so we need to be more inclusive", which is more of a political argument, than a linguistic one.

Linguistics is no physics and paradigms in linguistics haven't really made as much progress as they've made in physics. So I don't think your comparison is that relevent in this context. For example, Saussure is considered "outdated" by today's standards, but his influence is pretty much comparable to that of Newton in physics, before Einstein arrived. Linguistics hasn't really got its Einstein yet, though. And it might not even be necessary to get one, what with recent advances in cognitive science.
I love good randomness; highly addictive.
User avatar
New Zealand zoom
EP Project Lead
Posts: 8714
ESO: Funnu
Location: New_Sweland

28 Jul 2019, 22:14

iwillspankyou wrote:tbh. @Mods could close this thread now, it no longer about my OP, by far.
Now was it ever, at any point in time.
Effective ESOC Patch notes

"♪We can ascend 'till we reach De La Heaven; and in a spin we'll hit the Top Ten♫"
"♪You can't trust anyone, because you're untrustable. How can you trust someone you know can't trust you?♫"
United States of America 007Salt
Musketeer
Posts: 77
ESO: yasdaffwef

28 Jul 2019, 22:16

This thread just proves that many of us have very different opinions XD... I would've never guessed that
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9999

29 Jul 2019, 01:40

Dolan wrote:
umeu wrote:Bloomfield's definition, which you quote, is almost a hundred years old, and many other definitions have been proposed since (and probably before as well). http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/ca ... 012600.pdf Language development has been studied more and much more has been learned about multilingualism since bloomfield has died. It's like coming up with the ancient greek theory of atoms when discussing physics. Also, dictionaries list popular usage of words, and we've already established that many people hold false beliefs about multilingualism.

Using a language in day to day life implies competency in the language. It doesn't imply mastery, which frankly is an absurd claim to make. You do not need native level competency in a language in order to achieve fluency, that is, a level of ease, accuracy and confidence when expressing yourself. Languages are tools for communication. You learn to use a tool to the extent that you need it. Kaiserklein for example doesn't have native level competency in English, but he can more than adequately express himself in the language in most contexts and situations. To say that kaiser is not bilingual because he doesn't have native level mastery of English, or because he doesn't speak it as well as he does French, is bullshit in my book, and probably in the book of many modern-day linguists as well. Requiring someone to speak both languages equally well is an even weirder requirement. Almost nobody, or most likely nobody, speaks 2 languages at the exact same level. Just like no athlete plays 2 sports at the exact same level, or any aoe3 player plays 2 civs at the exact same level.

But yes, these definitions are contested, even the definition of what a language is exactly is contested. If you want to insist on complete mastery, then sure. But imo in that case, many native speakers don't reach that level either, and we should conclude that some people don't even speak 1 language properly.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... ltilingual
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilingualism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... nd_regions
The problem with this relativistic approach to definitions is that if you keep stretching the definitions (ie, to include as many as possible in this category of bilinguals) because you claim limits to meanings are arbitrarily set, you end up operating with your own personal meanings, that don't match those found in the dictionary.

I would go back to common sense and logic, in this respect. What would a notion of bilingualism aim to mean, if not the fact that someone has an unusual ability of speaking another language, besides his own native language? Because, if bilingualism was common, it would have been such an ordinary quality, it would have barely needed its own word. And what would be so unusual about this quality, than the fact that bilinguals would be able to use another language equally well as their native one? It seems quite clear to me what the meaning of the word aims at fixing in terms of semantics: the unusual quality of being able to speak in another language, as if you are a native. That doesn't imply any particular degree of competence, just as nobody expects a high degree of competence from a native either. However, everyone expects fluency, the quality of finding one's words in a certain language fast and being able to express oneself without significant effort. Besides that, most speakers of any language rarely use beyond a few thousand words on a regular basis. But I wouldn't jump at concluding that the majority of people on the planet are bilinguals, just because one particular linguist thinks "times have changed, so we need to be more inclusive", which is more of a political argument, than a linguistic one.

Linguistics is no physics and paradigms in linguistics haven't really made as much progress as they've made in physics. So I don't think your comparison is that relevent in this context. For example, Saussure is considered "outdated" by today's standards, but his influence is pretty much comparable to that of Newton in physics, before Einstein arrived. Linguistics hasn't really got its Einstein yet, though. And it might not even be necessary to get one, what with recent advances in cognitive science.


There's no reason why there wouldn't be a word to express a trivial trait. That's honestly a terrible argument, and I doubt you believe it yourself. Because why would there only be words to describe rare phenomenon and not phenomenon that are widespread and common? On top of that, it's totally possible, that something believed at one point to be rare, to be actually quite a common ability or phenomenon. Or the other way around. Bilingualism aims to describe the ability to speak more than one language. That it has to be unusual is your projection. Plenty phenomenon are studied not because they're rare, but because they're not.

First of all, inclusive politics have little to nothing to do with it, so quoting just one random professor who says something dumb won't change the fact that most of these theories have been developed before in various zeitgeists, by people with different political backgrounds, if their politics are known at all. Bloombergs is a 100 years old, and while the ideas he had were more common in his time, they weren't uncontested. And there's a reason why you had to go all the way back to him to find someone credible who still holds such stringent ideas about multilingualism. As you've said before, linguists disagree. They disagree even on what a language is. They disagree on how you learn a language. So obviously they'll disagree on what it means to speak a language. And no, it's not one random college professor. No, it's most of them in this field, people with tons of experience and theoretic knowledge. But of course you not only know their job better, you also know what motivates their academic choices. It's funny that you post today actually, as yesterday I spoke to a professor with 20 years of experience in applied linguistics. She's bilingual, her son is too. So are my wife and I. So we spoke a bit about that. So I asked her, without telling her my opinion, what level of language ability deserves the label of multilingualism, and lo and behold, she didn't say native speaker level, proficiency or mastery but upper intermediate (which is about b2. A little bit higher than b1, which I've mentioned before). But I'm sure it's only because she's a liberal leftwing inclusion nutcase (i dont actually know her political orientation), and not because of her expertise in the field.

And no, by not demanding native level fluency, you are hardly setting any more arbitrary criteria than by demanding it. There are very established frameworks that describe different language plateaus in language learners, and just because you choose the plateau "native speaker level" doesn't mean that your choice is any more or less well defined than "near native speaker level" to just give an example.

And that's despite the fact that your description is still very vague. Because which native are you talking about? The college educated lawyer? The selfmade entrepreneur who likes to read? Or the plumber who only watches superbowl? You have to actually distinguish in receptive and productive skills, the former generally being more established in learners that don't frequently and actively engage with a language, but which are still very different in learners even when they are engaging with it. Subsequently you have to distinguish between the 4 language skills, as some people can speak and listen in a language, but not read of write. If you do that, then perhaps the plumber might be very articulate in the verbal skills, but not in the written skills. While someone who has read a lot of words might not know how to say them and not use any of the words. Which highlights another important distinction, active vs passive vocabulary or knowledge of grammar. Obviously in all people, passive knowledge is vastly greater, but still varies significantly. How much passive knowledge do you require for native speaker level?

Finally, even if you aim for a higher level of fluency, which in itself is justified, than I have outlined (and the level the applied linguistics expert identified as high enough fluency, and with which I more or less agree, is only one plateau away from what most native speakers reach) then you are still grossly underestimating how many people currently are or at one point have been fluent in another language (because take my fathers cousin for example, he left Holland when he was 15, then never spoke the language again for 50 years as his parents insisted on only speaking English in their new country, and now he can barely speak the language anymore. But plenty of other people do maintain multiple languages. Pretty much everyone in my mothers side of the family grows up speaking 3 languages, while on my dads side many grew up speaking 2, and that's not counting the growing exposure to English as a global language)

Do you think you are bilingual? What about Kaiserklein? What about Queenofdestiny? IwillSpankyou? What about kickass?

In any case, there are multiple definitions you can give here, and in itself the claim that multilingualism entails native level fluency, is a valid claim. Some of the other things you said in relation to that just struck me as wrong. So I don't see a point to continue this discussion.
User avatar
Turkey HUMMAN
Lancer
Posts: 741
ESO: HUMMAN

30 Jul 2019, 00:00

cool discussion. my requirement for bilingual is if you can think and dream in a language, it can be counted for bilingual.
Image
User avatar
France Kaiserklein
Gendarme
NWC LAN 4th place
Posts: 7360
Location: Paris
GameRanger ID: 5529322

30 Jul 2019, 00:06

HUMMAN wrote:cool discussion. my requirement for bilingual is if you can think and dream in a language, it can be counted for bilingual.

I often think in english, I don't think I'm quite bilingual though.
It's anyway kind of stupid to try to have a concrete limit on a continuous concept.
sirmusket: https://imgur.com/phZoCw6
sirmusket: compare that to ur piece of shit face/height
LoOk_tOm wrote:I have something in particular against Kaisar (GERMANY NOOB mercenary LAMME FOREVER) And the other people (noobs) like suck kaiser ... just this ..
User avatar
Turkey HUMMAN
Lancer
Posts: 741
ESO: HUMMAN

30 Jul 2019, 00:11

yea for sure it is subjective.
Image
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9999

30 Jul 2019, 02:26

HUMMAN wrote:cool discussion. my requirement for bilingual is if you can think and dream in a language, it can be counted for bilingual.


Thinking, I can see that, sure, but how do you know in which language you have dreamt?
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 3964
Location: aka Neuron

30 Jul 2019, 03:40

umeu wrote:There's no reason why there wouldn't be a word to express a trivial trait. That's honestly a terrible argument, and I doubt you believe it yourself. Because why would there only be words to describe rare phenomenon and not phenomenon that are widespread and common? On top of that, it's totally possible, that something believed at one point to be rare, to be actually quite a common ability or phenomenon. Or the other way around. Bilingualism aims to describe the ability to speak more than one language. That it has to be unusual is your projection. Plenty phenomenon are studied not because they're rare, but because they're not.
It would have been utterly impossible for people to have been more bilingual before globalisation. There was no universal access to education and even with the limited resources they had back then, which were mostly invested in educating the upper classes, education quality was much worse than today. So, yes, I would say increasing bilingualism is a very recent, modern phenomenon. Most people lived in monolingual regions, even worse actually, they lived in regions where a very particular vernacular was spoken, they didn't even speak the correct, literary version of their language. France had tens of local dialects until two centuries ago and their speakers could barely understand each other. Poor people never left their small village and had no incentive whatsoever to learn multiple languages, they lived all their lives in a closed community where a very particular dialect was spoken.
So, yeah, I would say bilingualism is recent and it's unusual in a statistically representative sample of population.
Bloombergs is a 100 years old, and while the ideas he had were more common in his time, they weren't uncontested. And there's a reason why you had to go all the way back to him to find someone credible who still holds such stringent ideas about multilingualism.
Bloomberg? You must be confusing names.
As you've said before, linguists disagree. They disagree even on what a language is. They disagree on how you learn a language. So obviously they'll disagree on what it means to speak a language. And no, it's not one random college professor. No, it's most of them in this field, people with tons of experience and theoretic knowledge.
[Citation needed]
But of course you not only know their job better, you also know what motivates their academic choices. It's funny that you post today actually, as yesterday I spoke to a professor with 20 years of experience in applied linguistics. She's bilingual, her son is too. So are my wife and I. So we spoke a bit about that. So I asked her, without telling her my opinion, what level of language ability deserves the label of multilingualism, and lo and behold, she didn't say native speaker level, proficiency or mastery but upper intermediate (which is about b2. A little bit higher than b1, which I've mentioned before). But I'm sure it's only because she's a liberal leftwing inclusion nutcase (i dont actually know her political orientation), and not because of her expertise in the field.
What kind of expertise do you need to pontificate over what the meaning of a word is? Linguists don't decree the meaning of words, that's not their job, they don't engage in normative semantics. That's the job of lexicographers, who compile dictionaries. So linguists' opinion on what a word means is just that, an opinion, a very educated and informed one, at that, but their profession doesn't make them any more qualified to say that dictionaries are wrong (considering that most dictionaries describe bilingualism as requiring equal proficiency and/or native fluency).
And no, by not demanding native level fluency, you are hardly setting any more arbitrary criteria than by demanding it. There are very established frameworks that describe different language plateaus in language learners, and just because you choose the plateau "native speaker level" doesn't mean that your choice is any more or less well defined than "near native speaker level" to just give an example.

And that's despite the fact that your description is still very vague. Because which native are you talking about? The college educated lawyer? The selfmade entrepreneur who likes to read? Or the plumber who only watches superbowl? You have to actually distinguish in receptive and productive skills, the former generally being more established in learners that don't frequently and actively engage with a language, but which are still very different in learners even when they are engaging with it. Subsequently you have to distinguish between the 4 language skills, as some people can speak and listen in a language, but not read of write. If you do that, then perhaps the plumber might be very articulate in the verbal skills, but not in the written skills. While someone who has read a lot of words might not know how to say them and not use any of the words. Which highlights another important distinction, active vs passive vocabulary or knowledge of grammar. Obviously in all people, passive knowledge is vastly greater, but still varies significantly. How much passive knowledge do you require for native speaker level?
It's quite simple actually. Take two statistical samples that are representative for the makeup of the general population from both linguistic areas and have them converse with a person that claims to be billingual. Samples should be chosen from areas that have defined the official version of the language (like for example "received pronounciation" in English, or Southern Romanian, which has defined the modern standard version of Romanian). If they manage to pass for native speakers in most conversations, then they have reached bilingualism.
Do you think you are bilingual?
I'm probably approaching bilingualism, in the strict sense that I defined above.
What about Kaiserklein? What about Queenofdestiny? IwillSpankyou? What about kickass?
No idea. Probably not.
In any case, there are multiple definitions you can give here, and in itself the claim that multilingualism entails native level fluency, is a valid claim. Some of the other things you said in relation to that just struck me as wrong. So I don't see a point to continue this discussion.
Dictionaries are quite clear on what bilingualism means. The fact that some people have opinions that diverge from the common meaning ascribed to the term is pretty much a natural phenomenon. It's called connotation.
I love good randomness; highly addictive.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9999

30 Jul 2019, 04:09

Bloomfield, bloomberg. Yes it was totally impossible to know who I meant.

Forum Info

Return to “ESOC Talk”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest