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EO IMPORTADO ISSUE IV

3 NOVEMBER 2008

In this issue: Bilingualism or Diglossia? Ejemplo gallego Afrikaans- The African Dutch" Palabrotas Du sprichst aber gut Deutsch You re from Belgium? La Lengua Imperial A woman s language Getting to know you Lenguaje corporal y facial: Las sonrisas no tiene idiomas Banana Girl Language And the final Veni, Vidi

Note from the Editors In keeping with the original concept of Importado being a space in which the community can express their views, analysis and opinions on topics relevant to our lives, both at school and in the context of the outside world, the focus of the first issue of the new year is Language. We have tried to include articles and poetry that
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cover a range of the numerous aspects of language-related issues that people face, either here or in the wider context of their lives. We hope that you are moved, amused and provoked to thought by the contributions presented here.

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EOR IMPORTADO ISSUE IV


EX EA COMMODO CONSEQUAT DUIS. UT WIS

3 NOVEMBER 2008

BILINGUALISM OR DIGLOSSIA?
El ejemplo gallego

Spain is, de acuerdo con la constitucin, a multinational state, this meaning that there are different nations (grupos culturales) coexisting within its fronteras. There are territories in which there are two lenguas oficiales, such as the case of Galicia, los Pases Catalanes o el Pas Vasco. Does it mean, however, that we are bilingual communities? Not really. For the understanding of this issue, we must go down to the root of the discussion: definiciones. We are already all familiar with the palabra bilingualism. However, I would like to recall its technical definition: bilingismo es la habilidad de una persona de comunicarse en dos lenguas, cualesquiera que stas sean (for instance, I know a guy from the Netherlands who speaks Dutch and Swahili). El bilingismo is a concept that concerns solely the individual. Hence, it is a logic falacia to talk about a bilingual comunidad o escuela, por ejemplo. On the other hand, el gran desconocido para el gran pblico: diglosia. Diglossia is a situation of linguistic conflict: two languages are being spoken in the same area, and the coexistence is not balanced. La lengua A es ajena e impuesta, y acapara las funciones de prestigio y de poder. Language B, on the other hand, is vernacular i.e. original from the territory, and is subordinated and displaced by language A. Esta situacin takes place during any kind of conquista o colonialism process, may it be political, cultural or economical. Galicia is taken by many linguists to be one of the most representative examples of a diglossic cultural group y un grupo es diglsico tan solo porque la mayora de los individuos WE WANT YOUR VOICE!

tambin lo son. Therefore, diglossia, unlike bilingualism, is both an individual and a social concept. Qu mejor manera de explicar la diferencia entre bilingualism and diglossia que con un ejemplo. Let s take two typical individuals, both hablantes of both Spanish and Galician. The first individual is mi compaero Fran: Fran and his parents speak Galician to Fran s grandparents, pero hablan castellano (aka Spanish) entre ellos. Fran habla gallego con sus amigos de la village pero approaches girls in Spanish when he goes clubbing in the city; y merca una barra de pan de lea at the grocery, aunque compra un baguette en el supermercado. The second individual is me: I speak gallego en cualquier situacin: with my family, con el doctor, at school y en los actos oficiales. This has caused me to be subject to mockery and discrimination in many ocassions, y a menudo han cado sobre m los prejuicios tpicos acerca de los galaicoparlantes: I am either a country bumpkin or an ultranationalist neither of them being true. Volviendo a la definicin de diglossia, it is worthy to mention that a situation of linguistic conflict cannot be held forever, and there are two possible outcomes: la asimilacin lingstica y final sustitucin, with the disappearance of the vernacular language, o la normalizacin lingstica, with the reintegration of all its linguistic functions. Therefore, we must ask ourselves about the sustainability of having a bilingual or better said, diglossic community, and my hope is that the understanding of the definitions and implications of bilingualism and diglossia can bring about a reconsideration of the bilingualism debate, which has been so far worked out with conceptos errneos and if erroneous are the premises, erroneous must therefore be the conclusions. Xiana Garca Freire

Any responses that members of the community have for articles or issues raised in this first edition should be sent to importado@uwccr.com because we plan to establish a Letters to The Editor section in the next publication.

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this unique coalesce contributed to the formation of a Kitchen Dutch. Others argue that the slaves, who wanted a medium of communication not understood by their masters, formed the language. The slaves used Afrikaans as their mother tongue, whilst Dutch was spoken by the Dutch descendants. The Dutch descendants only converted to Afrikaans as their mother tongue and a medium of AFRIKAANS- THE AFRIinstruction after they decided to CAN DUTCH stay in South Africa and create their own culture. They felt that Picture this a black, coloured they needed their own distinc(mixed-race) and white South tive language to help forge a African, sitting around a table, common bond between people conversing about the latest hap- of European descent that did not penings in South African poliwant to take on the English cultics. They have varying levels ture. Thus, they adopted Afriof education and wealth and hail kaans as part of their unique from different parts of South Afrikaner culture. Africa. Yet, the three have one common factor- Afrikaans is The only African language to their native language, their pre- take its name from the contiferred medium of communicanent, Afrikaans means Afrition. can in Dutch. Classified as an

79.5% of South Africa s approximately 3, 9 million Coloureds, followed by 59.1% of Whites (4.29m), 1.7% of Indians/Asians (1.16m) and 0.7% (35.42m) of Blacks. Due to the former regime s preference of Afrikaans, it is a language almost every South African understands. Afrikaans-speaking communities are found abroad, such as in Canada, Belgium, the USA, UK and Australia, due to immigration.

Afrikaans remained a spoken language until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1875, Die Gennootskap van Regte Afrikaners (The Fraternity of True Afrikaners) was formed. This gave birth to the association of an Afrikaner being a white. An Afrikaner is defined as A white South African who speaks Afrikaans as their first language, esp. one descended from Dutch settlers . Ironically, the majority of Afrikaans speakers are nonIndo-European language, bewhite (coloured). South Africa To discuss the state of Afrilonging to the West-Germanic became a Union in 1910 and kaans in post-Apartheid South family, Afrikaans and Dutch are Dutch and English were the Africa, the language s origins mutually intelligible. Afrikaans official languages. In 1925, and development must be con- shares about 80-90% of the Afrikaans gained official recogsidered. The first European set- same vocabulary as Standaard nition and was no longer consitlers arrived at the Cape in 1652 Nederlands (Standard Dutch). dered a dialect of Dutch. 1948 under Jan van Riebeek. The saw the introduction of Apararea was inhabited by indigenAfrikaans is one of South Afri- theid under the National Party. ous people, known as the ca s 11 official languages. It is Afrikaans was the government s Khoikhoi. Later, French Huthe home language of about 13, favored language, but it held guenots, Germans and slaves equal status with English as an 3% of the population. In comfrom Indonesia and Malaysia parison, English is only spoken official language. joined the Dutch settlers. Thus, by 5, 8% of the population as a German, Portuguese, Malay and home language, but is the lanThe link between Apartheid and French minimally influenced guage favored by commerce, Afrikaans still exists. Many Afrikaans. Historians disagree politics and the media. Afriblack South Africans still see about the language s origins and kaans is the native language of Afrikaans as the language of development. Some argue that the oppressor and as the lanUNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 3

IMPORTADO ISSUE IV
their throats. In 1976, the Bantu (relating to African people who speak one of the Bantoid languages) Education Department issued a directive stating that Afrikaans was to have equal status as the language of instruction in non-white schools (i.e. Half of the subjects would be taught in English, the other in Afrikaans). Thus, black children, who were already receiving inferior education compared to whites, would be taught in a language they did not understand. Many students felt that Afrikaans would teach them to be submissive. Thus, they staged a protest (the 1976 Soweto Uprising) that became a defining moment in the fight against Apartheid and white domination, as it was the first time that the youth en masse lent their voice to the struggle. Afrikaans was also the language in which blacks were asked for their passbooks, which stated that they had permission to be in an area deemed only for whites. The passbooks were a symbol of black oppression and the denial of the rights of the majority ethnic group inhabiting the country. Afrikaans still has connotations of white racism, which although subtler than before, is still very evident in South African society. Even though English also has ties with colonialism, it is the koine (common language) of South African society, because its history is not viewed as harshly as that of Afrikaans and it has international appeal/importance. Typically, a black parent will, in his/her effort to make the child a polyglot, teach a child to speak English (after the native language-e.g. Xhosa), before even considering whether the child should learn Afrikaans. Afrikaans is the lingua franca of the Coloured population. What would Cape culture be without the unique flavor of Kaapse Afrikaans? As stated previously, the majority of Afrikaans speakers are non-white, contrary to the definition of an Afrikaner. Afrikaans is my parents first language, the language spoken by my grandparents and their parents. When I was younger, I expressed no real interest in learning or speaking Afrikaans, but as I became older and learnt more about South African history, my appreciation of the language flourished. Afrikaans has weathered the period after Apartheid and the language s future looks much more promising than 10 years ago. Some say the language s future is in doubt, as the state-owned broadcaster (SABC) has reduced the amount of television programs in Afrikaans, the country s name at foreign diplomatic missions is only displayed in English and the amount of Afrikaans-medium schools are reducing. After 1994, the government decided to focus

3 NOVEMBER 2008
more attention on the previously neglected African languages (e.g. Zulu, Xhosa). Despite its connotations to colonialism, Apartheid and racism, I believe the language will not cease to exist, as its roots are steeped too deeply in South African society and history. Language is an important part of an ethnic group's cultural identity. It is embedded with the values, beliefs and norms of the groups who use it. Thus, as the post-Apartheid government aims to honour all South African s cultural and religious beliefs, Afrikaans should be respected as a language and given the opportunity to further develop.

Chad Sonn
ALL STATISTICS COURTESY OF www.southafrica.info/about/peopl e/languages - Estimates based on the National Census of 2001 - The figures listed after the relevant ethnic group refers to the total population (e.g. Whites in SA= 4.29m) 2Definitions taken from Word Web 3Definition courtesy of Stats NZ, reference report concerning language (2004).

El tema de la siguiente edicin es Ideologas polticas. Invitamos a contribuir a con cualquier tema que les interese; puede ser un artculo sobre una corriente poltica que te interese/desagrade; una respuesta a un evento poltico o simplemente algo que haya afectado tu forma de pensar. Envalo al correo importado@uwccr.com o a Tom/Helen. UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 4

EOR IMPORTADO ISSUE IV

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Palabrotas

Es dicho popular que una imagen vale ms que mil palabras. Pues tengo que confesar que discrepo con tal proverbio y que muchas veces prefiero esas mil palabras. Y no me malentiendan, que lejos estoy de referirme a un cuarto de monografa o dos tercios de literatura mundial, sino a esa libertad para la abstraccin de los conceptos que hacen del lenguaje algo ms que lingstico, algo personal. Si pienso en el lenguaje como medio de comunicacin, una irona se me viene a la cabeza. Una quizs divertida irona que me sugiere que nadie entiende lo mismo de la misma palabra y que las connotaciones son tantas como personas puede haber. Si no, pregunten a la gente al lado suyo qu es casa , qu es la msica, o si tienen nimos de incitar una discusin, pregunten qu es Revolucin o desarrollo . Y siguiendo con esta lnea no puedo sino reflexionar en cun lindo suenan algunas palabras que mucho usamos por ac. Nos gusta hablar, por ejemplo, de paz, de entendimiento y multiculturalismo. Pues tengo que confesar que personalmente no he encontrado un Ague

significado de paz que me satisfaga, que no caiga en la pasividad y miedo al cambio. Creo que entendimiento se confunde muchas veces con la mera tolerancia propia de la diversidad de nuestro colegio, y que a veces multiculturalismo me suena a zoolgico de etnias. Ahora, quiero dejar en claro que no es mi intencin criticar la naturaleza del colegio como institucin, ya que considero que este es un espacio ms que propicio y placentero para nuestro desarrollo como personas, y que los ideales, si bien abstractos, pautan una direccin positiva que necesitamos desarrollar. Lo que s quiero criticar es cierta falta de reflexin que muchas veces tenemos los miembros de esta comunidad con respecto a los valores que promovemos (y me incluyo totalmente en esto). Pero no me refiero a que debiramos tener una reflexin colectiva (un especial de la reunin de comunidad) porque creo que sta debe ser una meditacin personal que nos ayude a aplicar o desarrollar estos valores en mbitos internos y externos al colegio. La procesin va por dentro dicen de donde vengo. Los pilares del colegio no estn en ningn syllabus y nadie nos va a evaluar al respecto. De todas formas, confo en que todos ac estamos buscando ser consistentes con lo que decimos. Por eso, considero que necesitamos dejar los meros smbolos para construir nuestras mil imgenes a partir de cada palabra.

college musings

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Du sprichst aber gut Deutsch!


But you speak good German How language reveals stereotypes and racism in contemporary Germany
I am Afro-German. There are several debatable definitions on who exactly qualifies as an Afro-German. In this article I will however focus on the typical person defining themselves as Afro-German: the one with one black parent and one white German parent, such as myself. My mother is from Germany and my father is from Niger. I was born in Munich, a big city in the south of Germany and lived near Munich from age 10 to 14, attending a regular German public school. Without focusing too much on many social and identity issues, unlike other ethnical minorities in Germany, the Afro-German does not have a common indigenous mother tongue, other than German (there is no such thing as a common language, religion or culture in the African continent to which AfroGermans could relate and build a collective identity upon). Nor is the Afro-German s physical appearance strictly homogenous. Some individuals have more typical African features like tightly curled hair, while others have lighter skin tonesor straighter hair, more similar to European phenotype. The overwhelmingly white German power structure defines the black as not German, so the Afro-German s life is characterized by the constant need to assert or prove one s Germanic heritage. Unlike, for example, Jews who are assumed to be German unless they admit to their Jewish heritage, the Afro-German situation is quite the opposite in that blacks are assumed to be anything other than German unless they explain why they do not look typically German. Personally, I never feel accepted or perceived as a normal German in Germany, but rather as a foreigner who speaks German very well. From my physical appearance I am identified as someone from a different origin, and thus am not expected to speak German as if it were my mother tongue. As a consequence, racist comments such as Du sprichst aber gut Deutsch! have been thrown at me too many times while living in Germany. Shockingly, not only children my age, but adults have made such statements, making me believe that there exists a clear image of what a German should look like. The black is still an anomaly in German society and so is the idea of a black person speaking German as first language. An incident that caught my attention was the description of a searched man published on the webpage of the police in Cologne, Germany and displayed in public spaces. On the posters the crime committer was described as African and speaks accent free German . Not only are the implications of the term African unclear, but it should also be logical that people with darker skin tones cannot neccersarily be described as African . It turned out that the African individual was a German citizen with Ethiopian heritage, demonstrating an incorrect description carried out by the police as he turns out to be European . Also, if the man speaks accent free German he was most likely one of the about three hundred thousand Afro-Germans and thus neither African nor European (as if classifying a person by continent would help a police investigation in the first place). To mobilize an ethnic movement around race is problematic because the German Establishment insists that race and racism are non-issues in contemporary German society. Rather than racism, mainstream Germans refer to discriminatory and racially grounded prejudices as Auslnderfeindlichkeit or hostility towards foreigners, not fellow citizens. I sadly hope that I successfully pointed out previously that the Afro-German is in most cases still distinguished as a foreigner rather than a fellow citizen, effectively excusing the racism of the white German because it is suddenly defined by xenophobia. On a very personal level, I feel, just like any other Afro-German, the constant pressure to prove my Germanic heritage through the proficiency of the German language as that is the only way for me to prove that I am not a foreigner: I am German! But even then, it seems that my skin color and speaks accent free German still haven t found their place in the German Volk. Mirja Hitzemann
1

Cassandra Yvette Johnson, PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Georgia, Collective Memory and the Afro-German Experience. 2 More interesting information to this incident, unfortunately only in German, can be found on following link: http://www.derbraunemob.info/deutsc h/index.htm

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Flemish Community Flemish & French Community French Community German-speaking Community

You re from Belgium? When people discover I am from Belgium, different reactions occur, but the most common are: yum yum, beer and chocolate. or where did you say you were from?...ah , eastern Europe. Right? . But harder to explain than where and my country actually is, the question I always fear is What language do you speak? , because I know it will take me the next fifteen minutes to explain. Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German. The Belgian policy does not want any of those to be predominant but the fact that German is always left a bit apart is undeniable. Indeed, only one percent of the Belgian population speaks German, and they all live in the extreme south-east of the country. Of course they do have their regional government and their representatives at the Senate, the king speaks German as fluently as he speaks Dutch and French and my passport is writ-

ten in the three languages, as is our constitution. However languages become a real issue when we tackle the French/Dutch conflict. And the reason why I am keen to raise attention about the Belgian case , is because what was a language conflict some decades ago has become a community struggle. To make it short and concise: Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north, with 59% of the population, and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia, inhabited by 31%. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region and near the Walloon Region, and has 10% of the population. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.

Belgium was born in 1831. Two different languages were spoken by the aristocracy on the Belgian territory, so because French was the Aristocratic European language of the time, it was chosen to be the official one. However the people living in the North of the country spoke Flemish, derived from Dutch; whilst those living in the south of the Kingdom spoke Walloon, a language derived from Latin, similar to French. The Flemish call themselves Flemish speakers , whilst the Walloons are conscious of their Francophonie . And this makes the difference. The Flemish system, especially educational, is more nationalist than the Walloon one: in the Flemish schools, pupils are taught Flemish history before Belgian History, whilst we have never heard of Walloon history (although it does exist). This is because, until the 60s, French was still the dominant language, so it is normal that the Dutch speaking part had to find a way of acknowledging their Identity. Because of all these factors, the two sides of the country are, somehow, culturally different. And often misunderstandings occur, but since we had decided that none of the languages would be dominant, we have tried to develop a system based on equality and fairness. Lately, however, Belgium is

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not the kingdom of respect and bilingual harmony it used to be. Without a proper government, Flemish politicians and Walloon politicians are constantly fighting for what they call The future of the country and what I see as which part is going to get the Brussels Capital Region if we split up. New struggles appear frequently: a Flemish politician accuses a Walloon of being mentally retarded when they are not able to learn Dutch, whilst all the Flemish have basic French (that was how it started); then, some weeks later you have some Nationalist Flemish who comes up with the point that the Dutch speakers would be economically more prosperous if the country split because the Walloon region has a high rate of unemployment. I usually agree with those points, although I am Walloon because this is a consequence of our history. Sixty years ago, the Dutch speakers were dependant on the Walloon economy, but the wheel of time has been turning. The money will always be on one side of the country, but it is our duty and our wish, as Belgians, to make it work. Worse than those political issues, are the community issues. A wave of nationalism (as we call it in Belgium, but from an

external point of view it would be called separatism ) is devastating the country. Indeed, the politicians might have effects on the people, but what will really determine the future of the Kingdom will be the people s reaction, especially people from our generation. But separatist events keep on happening and more and more people join them. One of them, on the Flemish side is the pilgrim of the Yser , IJzerbedevaart, which used to be a commemorative march for the Flemish soldiers who died in WWI and which has become the biggest Flemish Separatist gathering in Belgium. There they proclaim the attachment of Brussels to their region and the definitive separation of the country. It is disapproved by most of the Dutch speakers but there are still more than 5000 participants. Moreover, the Vlaams Belang (the extreme right separatist Flemish party) has been getting more and more powerful. I will never forget how in 2004 they got 24.1 percent of vote in the regional elections. In the French speaking part, the manifestations are not that obvious. People get scared, scared to go to the North of the country because they dont feel wel-

come anymore and scared that the country would split up because we would lose everything. Although the phenomenon is increasing (now we dont speak about Belgium in our local TV-channels , but about Wallonia and Brussels ; people buy T-shirts with the logo proud to be Flemish , it wont be .be on the internet any more but .VL or .bxl , ) there is still a huge part of the population that keeps on demonstrating for the Unity, as they did in the Campaign I WANT YOU FOR BELGIUM in November 2007, which brought together 35 000 Belgians in favor of the Unity. Attention, see how difference leads to intolerance and is maybe about to split, not only a country, but 10 000 000 lives if we dont do anything about it. But I have hope in the new generation. I was born Belgian, and I want to die Belgian. Sarah Boukari

Queremos or tu voz! Cualquier respuesta o comentario para los artculos de la primera edicin debern de ser enviados al correo importado@uwccr.com porque planeamos establecer una seccin de Cartas al editor en la siguiente publicacin. UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 8

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La Lengua Imperial
Dentro de una habitacin copada de afiches socialistas en blanco y negro, grandes e improvisados dibujos hechos sobre pedazos de papeles magullados, frases punzantes de Neruda, y bajo la luz tenue que brotaba de una lmpara cubierta por un viejo cartn rojo, se encontraban un grupo de muchachos amalgamando sus risas y voces en una conversacin bulliciosa de la cual todos ellos eran parte. Seguidamente se escucharon los comnmente mencionados: Me jodieron en Mate!, Tienes permiso para salir? o un simple Maana no voy a clases! Luego de unos minutos de iniciado el bullicio, atrados por el escndalo estrepitoso que se armaba en esa habitacin, una pareja de muchachos, uno de Ruanda y uno de Alemania se suman al grupo pidiendo una explicacin para participar del improvisado coloquio. El ambiente cambi, no se escucharon ms los, Qu ms parce, cmo va? O qu tal huevn, todo bien? Todo eso cambio por un forzado e innatural, How are u doing man? Algunos de las bocas comenzaron a detenerse con parsimonia, hasta quedar petrificadas por el silencio absoluto. Ahora slo se limitaban a escuchar y a tratar de entender lo que algunos de esos muchachos trataba de decir con algunos errores. Incluso cuando en esa habitacin no se encontraba ninguna persona angloparlante, todos dejaron atrs gran parte de su manto cultural, con el afn de poder comunicarse entre ellos. Este hecho es a lo que SkutnabKangas le da el nombre de lingicismo. El lingicismo establece una divisin social entre individuos y grupos bajo el criterio del lenguaje, distinguiendo entre quienes tienen acceso en grados diversos al lenguaje dominante y quienes lo ignoran. Esto es verdad para todas las lenguas dominantes en cada poca de la historia, ya se trate de las lenguas nacionales de una determinada zona del mundo, de las antiguas lenguas coloniales (francs, espaol, alemn), o del papel preponderante del ingls en la actualidad. En Amrica Latina, se puede decir que actualmente estamos unidos bajo una misma lengua, bajo una lengua que nos fue impuesta de manera cruda. Impuesta por el deseo de expansin cultural y religioso y territorial del antiguo imperio espaol. Es por ello que muchas de nuestras lenguas originarias, han seguido el camino obscuro del olvido, y ahora queda un resumido porcentaje de la poblacin quien puede hablarlas. Adems, a ese mnimo porcentaje de la poblacin que tiene aun arraigada su lengua nativa, las sociedades latinas occidentalizadas se estn encargando de discriminarlos e invizibilizarlos. Mas empero en la actualidad, la imposicin imperialista se da de manera contundente, tanto en el sistema econmico, poltico, militar como en los bagajes culturales, sociales y comunicativos. Este imperialismo de lenguaje est netamente ligado al ingls, ya que debido al antiguo colonialismo Britnico y al nuevo e ponderoso rgimen imperialista norteamericano, El Mundo est Unido bajo el yugo del ingls.

The topic for the next issue is Political Ideology. We are encouraging contributions on any aspect of this subject that interests you: be it a discourse on a political theory that interests/repels you, a response to a political event or simply something that has affected the way you think, to be submitted to either Tom or Helen or sent to importado@uwccr.com. UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 9

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El ingls, se ha convertido en el lenguaje dominante debido a la masificacin de informacin tanto del entretenimiento, como educativa y laboral que se ofrece tan slo en ingls. Un ejemplo de esto son las cintas de videos elaboradas completamente en el idioma ingls, la industria de la msica que tiene un poder exorbitante en los pases angloparlantes (vemos que cantautores que no son angloparlantes se ven forzados a hablar el ingls para aumentar sus ganancias) y en la cultura de social, como lo es la macdonalizacion o los anglicismos usados comnmente en otros lenguajes. El ingls, como cualquier otra lengua dominante, significa una barrera en el mbito educativo y en el sector laboral. Se dice esto, ya que el ingls nicamente favorece a la cpula de las personas que tiene al ingls como su lengua nativa o a la gente que puede subvencionarse el estudio del ingls o la gente que consigue becas para estudio fuera. Pero aun as, para las personas adultas que no hablan ingls, resulta casi imposible hacer un aprendizaje adecuado de la lengua. En lneas generales se tiene un desbalance antidemocrtico

dentro de las sociedades, ya que debido al imperialismo de una lengua, las personas hablantes de esta lengua imperial se ven favorecidas enormemente desde su nacimiento, mientras que los dems pueden llegar a equiparar esta situacin mediante largos aos de estudio. Por otro lado, es injusto el hecho de que la persona que aprenda la lengua imperial, se vea indirectamente persuadido a aprender y/o adoptar las costumbres y cultura imperialista, ya que es eso lo que se imparte en los cursos y libros de las sociedades imperialistas. Para finalizar, hablando sobre la situacin que se vive en nuestro CMU, se puede apreciar que aunque digan que en este lugar se respira un ambiente de bilingismo, al final de cuentas se puede aseverar que eso es una utopa la cual se est buscando traer a tierra. Digo esto ya que es muy difcil aislarse de la situacin que se vive en las sociedades externas. Por ejemplo, al final de los dos aos la mayora de estudiantes angloparlantes y no angloparlantes desean aplicar a Estados Unidos con el objetivo de conseguir una beca para seguir sus estudios universitarios. Pero es en este momento en el que las perso-

nas que tienen un nivel bajo de ingls, se ven disminuidas y en algunos momentos discriminadas, debido a que para entrar en el circulo de la sociedad imperialista, debes adoptar su lenguaje. Nosotros como estudiantes los cuales proponemos el cambio, debemos seguir contribuyendo a que se solidifique las bases del bilingismo real en este colegio. La manera que debemos hacerlo es respetando nuestro propio lenguaje y partiendo de ello asumir los dems como segundas lenguas las cuales se deben estudiar para aprehender nuevos conocimientos. No decaigamos si sentimos que estamos luchando solos contra la corriente, debemos seguir intentndolos, porque es as como luchan los autnticos romnticos revolucionarios. Hasta la victoria, siempre! Luis Reyes

Los editores quisieran agradecer a todos los participantes de este numero de Importado e enviar a cualquier miembro de la comunidad inspirado por el tema de la siguiente edicin a que nos enven sus artculos, anlisis o poesa para publicar antes del Lunes 17 de Noviembre. Quisiramos agradecer a nuestras traductoras de esta edicin, Eva y Regina. UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 10

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A woman s language
demonstrates passiveness, and is a bad offence. If a woman EVER replies NOTHING when you ask what is wrong; the best tip is never to leave the conversation like this. A reply like this means that she is disappointed in you; that you cannot understand or see what is wrong, which should be obvious to you. Many men make this mistake, because when nothing is wrong , truly nothing is wrong right? Well, take five minutes, sit down or make a cup of tea (I have teabags). And talk about the nothing problems even though it might seem like a waste of time. A reply such as IT S OK / THAT S OK , is a phrase I would categorize as danger zone reply . It is probably the worst reply you can get as a man from a woman, the woman is truly hurt and disappointed in you, she will now have to think and reflect upon what she feels before talking to you again. Please dear friend, avoid answers such as these. And if they should ever occur after a discussion or an obvious disappointment, mend the wound rapidly, in order to avoid other phrases such as we need to talk or simply a slap in the face And that s it. Go out there and be sensitive and caring, and life will be beautiful for us all! Believe me, this might be the key to your new love life, or might improve what you already have.
(And just for the record: I am not making or trying to make connections to any personal experience , any person that feels touched in this article can address the issue to me, and we can discuss it ) Ida Stuve

Women: a still undiscovered species in the fields of communication and use of language. Understanding what a woman really means when she replies or adds a quick comment to something is still hard for some men . Have you ever found yourself explaining to your girlfriend on her birthday that you cannot come to the party later due to an overload of physics homework? And all she answers is that s ok! Do you understand the real, underlying truth behind these replies? Well my dear friend, in order to simplify your life I will now give you a short tour of what a woman really means when she replies. First word is the classical reply FINE . What a woman is really trying to say here is: I know I am right so please just shut up. And an additional tip: never describe her looks as fine . It can often seem worse than you look awful because for a woman it

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Getting to know you


I am about to write about language and how it is intimately linked to identity and all I can think of is that when I write in English I can never express myself as freely as I do in my mother tongue. When I write in French, my words and sentences have a flavor, a music. When I write in my second language, my words just communicate. It is highly useful to be able to communicate with more people but maybe it is losing a bit of the charm of my thoughts. Language is part my life. I am a language teacher. I come from an officially bilingual country where I speak the language of a minority. I worked for four years in a trilingual school. I share my life with someone who has a different mother tongue to mine. I am (trying) to raise a bilingual daughter. Y ahora aprendo una otra lengua... I have come to think, through my various experiences in the world, that I had to learn the language of the people I met in order to know them. I mean to know them well, very well. As I met people and made friends from various countries with different mother tongues, I started to think that when we communicate (in most cases both in our second language) we must be losing something in translation (yes, I ve seen the movie with that title but it didn t do anything for me). I mean, how well do I understand my friends who don t speak

their mother tongue with me? I can t stop myself from thinking that there are aspects of my friends that I don t understand, and I won t understand why I don t understand until I learn their language. Woah! That is wordy! Here are two of my favourite examples to illustrate this; a serious and a more lighthearted one. When I was living in Salluit, an Inuit town in northern Canada, I noticed how people took other people s things without asking. In innuttitut, the Inuit dialect, there isn t a word for please. After many conversations with my Inuit friends I came up with a theory. My friends ancestors lived in the most drastic weather conditions on the planet. At that time if you were hungry, if you needed a weapon to go hunting, a tool to sew or anything else; why would you ask for permission? It was a matter of survival. You took to survive. No time or reason to say please! Knowing this small piece of information changed my perspective of a few of my arctic adventures. I had a better understanding of events and/or behaviour; I felt I knew my friends better. Another of my favourite examples to illustrate how your mother tongue defines you better comes from my reading. There is nothing like reading an original version of a book, even if the work of the translator is amazingly good. There might always be a little something you lose somewhere. In the French version of Harry Potter,

Harry and Ron don t call each other mate . There is no similar expression in French. When I read my first Harry Potter in its original British version it jumped out at me. Suddenly I felt I had a better appreciation of their friendship. A small word can mean a lot... In her book Losing north, Nancy Huston, one of the most prolific Canadian authors who writes primarily in French and translates her own works into English, writes an interesting thing about translating dictionaries. She says that they lead you to confusion, they confuse us, lead us astray, put us in the frightening magma of the in-between-language where words don t want to say, where they start to say one thing and end up saying something different . I couldn t agree more with Mrs Huston. Even if it is extremely small, we do lose something in translation. I wish I could understand all of my friends when they speak in their mother tongue; but I can t and I don t foresee it being possible. And don t get me wrong on this; having unifying languages like we do here in UWCCR is just wonderful. It allows you and I to meet and talk with people from all around the world. It is fantastic! But one should not be complacent about it and should remember that learning a foreign language is to give oneself a chance to truly know somebody. What a wonderful thing that could be... Carine Lagac PAGE 12

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Lenguaje corporal y facial: Las sonrisas no tiene idiomas


Los idiomas son una mezcla de agua y azcar, diferente, pero si existe una cuchara que los agite, pueden llegar a unir fronteras. Esa cuchara es la sonrisa
Alfredo Jocelyn Ramirez

Primero aclararles a los lectores que en este momento me aprovecho de un Nick de de Messenger que suele usar Rusland, Las sonrisas no tienen idioma . La primera vez que lo le se me vino a la mente Vero y nuestras espordicas charlas que cambiaban el mundo. En una de ellas comentbamos la importancia de sonrer. Cmo una sonrisa puede alegrarle el da a otra persona de sobremanera. Lamentablemente, estamos tan ocupados que muchas veces se nos olvida alimentar nuestro espritu y el de los dems. En mi experiencia personal, soy mucho ms eficiente cuando ando de buen humor, las cosas salen bien por si solas, no as cuando ando de mal humor, parece que el universo conspira en contra para que todo te salga mal. Siguiendo con el tema de las sonrisas, las risas y carcajadas que de vez en cuando hacen nuestros das ms alegres o menos grises, est probado cientficamente que liberamos ciertas endorfinas que sirven como analgsicos (inhiben el dolor y reducen inflamaciones), estimulantes (activan el sistema nervioso parasimptico) y anti depresivos (activando recuerdos relacionados con estados anmicos, vase psicologa de la emocin y estados anmicos). Empricamente podemos ver

que la risa si trae buenos resultados en la mayora de los casos, la ciencia est recin aventurndose en este campo y en medicina la risa es usada como terapia alternativa. Su mayor exponente es el Dr. Patch Adams. Para mi es muy importante lo que decimos la mayora de las veces, y tambin cmo lo decimos. La forma y contenido de nuestros mensajes son claves para establecer una buena comunicacin y lograr nuestros objetivos. Desde que nuestro medio de expresin ms utilizado es el oral (aunque tambin el escrito, en nuestros exmenes, correos que enviamos a la comunidad, poemas guardados en nuestras computadoras, diarios de vidas, bitcoras, etc.), podemos manejar estos dos elementos de forma y contenido, aunque no siempre lo hacemos. Pero de pronto nos surge un problema , nuestro rostro y cuerpo tambin comunica. Catalogo esta temtica de problema , pues el lenguaje kintico es un poco ms difcil de controlar que el lenguaje oral para la mayora de las personas. Cuntas veces nos han dicho cmo controlar las diferentes tcnicas de expresin fcil (a excepcin de la gente que tiene estudios de teatro) y

en nuestros antiguos colegios, le han dado cabida a este tipo de cursos? Me encantara pensar que es as, pero lamentablemente el nmero de personas es reducido. En este mismo colegio, podemos desechar artes o teatro y cambiarlos por una ciencia, no as desechar una ciencia y tomar teatro u artes. Recuerdo en el campamento, una chica hace un comentario y yo pienso: nada que ver y al segundo despus ella me dice: s que no te parece . Mi cara me delat. Seguramente hice una expresin sin darme cuenta, que debe haber sido muy expresiva o la chica muy observadora. En seguida consider dos cosas, debera estudiar teatro o debera controlar mis expresiones. Despus de cinco minutos me qued con la segunda. Slo basta mirar las caras en reunin de comunidad para saber si la audiencia est concentrada o entretenida, dependiendo de la ponencia. Finalmente, como dijo Shakespeare: Las palabras estn llenas de falsedad o de arte; la mirada es el lenguaje del corazn . A veces es bueno mirarnos, tocarnos y sonrernos, a ver si encontramos soluciones y nos sentimos ms humanos. Edgardo Gmez

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Melody

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Language, Man s ingenious communication tool Yet here I am, bereft, No tongue on earth can Convey my thought, For words have lost their aptness And humans can no longer empathise So how can they understand Empty eyes and hearts Ears deafened by prejudice Monique

The editors would like to thank all of the contributors to this issue of Importado, and encourage any member of the community inspired by the theme of the next issue to send us their articles, analysis or poetry for publication, by Monday 17th November. We would also like to thank our translators for this issue, Eva and Regina. UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 15

IMPORTADO ISSUE IV

3 NOVEMBER 2008

Veni, Vidi
The Divine ImitationUWC, I had watched of Comedy Life Before I went to
a pretty embarrassing share of teenage movies about teenagers in high school. One such movie was "Mean Girls." I remember thinking it was all hyperbole and congratulating myself on having escaped such a pre-adolescent fate. "How unlike this ridiculous movie the college shall be! God bless us, every one!" I know better now. The movie, just like the myriads of American Pie-esque spinoffs, is fundamentally similar to a campus bipolar antithetical struggle. On one side Ms. Lohan is the Marxian opiate making the poor proletariat lucky as they can be - and the next moment she's three years ahead of Derrida, deconstructing class and gender in an orgy of playful postmodernism. It isn't easy to tell if she's a cunning agent of the bourgeoisie or the child of the revolution. Nonetheless, we don t watch comedies to pull a Freudian psychoanalysis; rather, we watch it because we can. Indeed, the same transpires at UWCCR. Many things happen there because they can and can only happen there alone - a place as perplexing as its cultural merchandise, at least to outsiders. For example, try explaining this to someone: The other night I was having chapati with an Austrian and Brazilian; then drank with a Costa Rican; kissed a Dane ; [insert neverending story]; and finally had a proper conversation with that er wait, she s Zimbabwean? So yea, when I was not doing my impression of Munch's "Scream" in a corner, I enjoyed observing worshippers of Dionysus and Jesus alike (and everything in between) literally connecting (orally too at times) at Amigos. I enjoyed learning about cultures and listening to the tales of the Sin City of Cahuita when not indulging in Dow like dropping of industrial alcohol down my throat. I enjoyed the pursuits and the heartbreaks; the pinto to Robert s cooking; Project Week and the EE, et cetera. Stargazing in the buff? Hey, whatever floats your boat! It all boils down to beliefs and opinions, and it is fine to have different opinions. Public discourse and significance is what determines the moral status quo, isn t it?

The simple truth is that I find this utterly inexplicable, and after having muddled through my life there, I have come to regard this as the enormous phenomenal paradox that is UWC. I don't expect to ever understand it, and I shan't even pretend to. I've already tried to string together the few things I do understand: that UWC is an idealistic place where people stand up admirably for what they believe in. That nothing can really be taken seriously and that everything is ironic by default because all, in the somewhat misguided spirit of Voltaire, are tolerant of even the most repugnant ideologies. Paradox again! Perhaps we should abide to the teachings of Wittgenstein s Tractatus, that what we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence. Perhaps it doesn t even matter! UWC still stands as a relatively cognizant place to outsiders, and as I continue to tell others, whatever its shortcomings - shortcomings that are universal anyway. Its paradoxical nature has been a dialectic that, as history so far has shown, can bear the strangest and yet most compelling fruit. From astronauts to politicians, CEOs to the neighbourhood bum so don t be surprised when you hear World Famous Paul C on the radio one day. I'm already veering off track, so here's the point of my enervating laundry list of despair: This period will be a complete random mood cycle in your life. Embrace it. Plot it! Bask in the debauched liberal alternative-lifestyle. UWC as a mission civilisatrice? Haha. Which Faustian contract did you sign? It's like Lord of the Flies meet Aristophanes, and the island is a huge comedy and the sailors aren't going to come and break up the party. Let laissez faire reign and hedonism be your camp leader in the name of comitatus and camaraderie. Fill the unforgiving two years / With 63 113 851.9 seconds worth of distance run. In the end, you will finally learn the answer of life, the universe and everything. Still figuring? It s 42 (PG). Oh crap, you re screwed aren t you?

By the time you are reading this, just like Elvis, Lenard Yangli Lim, as they say, has left the building. He also passes on the evil spirit of writing to all the new contributors!

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