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Critical Evaluation: Dorian vs. Fishman - Essay Example

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The heritage of our language and culture classified our past, molds our present and structures our future. Conflict develops when society at large overlooks the needs and desires of all its members. With a move towards modernisation and the ever shrinking world, cultures are bound to clash…
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Critical Evaluation: Dorian vs. Fishman
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Critical Evaluation: Dorian vs. Fishman

Download file to see previous pages... Fishman in his 1990 article discusses the implications of reverse language shift (RLS) with respect to the broader social implications. In an attempt to preserve minority languages, linguists in their pursuit are generally ignored according to Fishman. "Social sciences as a whole and sociolinguistics in its own right have sliced up their treatments of social movements in general." (Fishman 5) His use here implies that social sciences and sociolinguistics in general are mainstream Western Culture controlled entities with little concern for dying languages. Further, "RLS never clearly appears as the distinctive phenomenon that it is" (Fishman 5) alludes to what is to come in his support of his arguments. RLS is, more or less, an 'afterthought' in the sociolinguistic world. It does not fit into the perceived patterns of important work and therefore is minimized and often ignored.
RLS is grudgingly acknowledged as falling into the sphere of status planning within the linguistic field. However, with the strong western dominance in our modernized society and its control over the linguistic theories of present, RLS research and endeavors towards language preservation are largely ignored. The dominant theory of the current western culture relegates the status planning of linguistics to mark the demise of minority languages rather than embrace RLS attempts to preserve century old languages and dialects.
Fishman's metaphoric illustration of the 'gomers' or 'crocks' brings simplistic understanding to his rather complex views of linguistics; RLS is a bitter reminder to mainstream scholars of their inability or unwillingness to embrace RLS in principle. Instead of supporting the scholarly work of those dedicated few to preservation of dying language, they are viewed as wasting their time and impinge on the scant resources of the masses.
The primary fear of mainstream ideology is found in the knowledge RLS evokes a passion by its proponents. Fishman details that although the movement can be individualized typically because of the underlying beliefs and shared commonality in goals the movement grows and is heightened by this shared belief system. Rather than the mob mentality where an individual feels a sense of anonymity which justifies, in his own mind, his behaviour, the RLS movement is typified more by a synergistic modality where members of this minority movement by virtue of their shared beliefs lift each other to increasing levels of immersion in the collective movement. The passion and self-sacrificing nature of RLS proponent is not understood by the mainstream body. They can not comprehend the willingness to exert so much of one's energy and passion into what they view as a meaningless cause with little hope of success. (Fishman 7) Of course, their definition of success is based on the premise of material gain and social standing rather than on pure altruistic endeavors. The fact that there are those who pursue these altruistic aims frightens those who follow the mainstream notion of 'forge' ahead regardless of the cost.
In Fishman's explanation of the Western views of preservation of culture and language by the minority, he referred to Linton's analysis of 'nativistic movements' (Linton in Fishman 8) This perceived theory was that the overrunning by western culture would lead to the desire by a minority of the resident population to want to preserve the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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