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Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | MLC Geo400 class portfolio | Scoop.it

It is understandable to see where Latvians are coming from. For many, its the only thing that they can hold on to: Culture. Latvians feel as though they should be able to hold on to their own language and shouldn't have to learn another if they are in an area where they all speak the same. It almost relates to how cultural identity is perceived here in the US. Many feel as though they do not need to learn spanish for this was an english speaking country. & there are others who believe that languages are forced on them. The issue will always remain however, in a place where majority of the people speak Russian it would be wise for everyone to atleast make it a language you can learn about it in school at your own discretion. Imposing it as a national language is indeed hindering those who do not speak it and who are possibly older in age to learn it. That takes away from people having the right to chose what they want to learn and identify with. --M. Carvajal

 

For more on the vote, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17083397    


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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:14 AM
It is definitely important for Latvians to hold on tightly to their culture. However, the Soviet Union caused Russian culture and language to spread throughout the USSR and countries are feeling the effects today. There are millions of Russians in former satellite nations who hold on to their Russian culture. At the same time, these nations wish to regain their national pride especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a difficult conundrum, but I do agree with the Latvians' decision.
Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 2014 8:37 PM

It was interesting to read that in order to become a Latvian citizen you need to speak Latvian.I can see the point of view from both sides.Russian speaking residents want to be treated equally and Latvian citizens want to keep their cultural identity. However it does seem that there may be some deeper issues of discrimination that a unified language may not eliminate completely.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 5, 4:54 PM

About 35 percent of Latvia's population (5,000,000) contains Russian ancestors. Russia does not want to give Latvia credit for practicing Russian languages and the Russian heritage because Russian feels like since they take up about 11% of the world, they don't need to share their heritage with any other country. It's kind of like copyright laws that Russia seems to have.

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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | MLC Geo400 class portfolio | Scoop.it
BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war.

 

-Belize given its history is already a well set off country in the sense that it remained an English speaking country though all its neighbors were spanish speaking. It is crucial to understand that many Guatemalan & Salvadoran individuals were going through their own econimic crisis and civil wars where they had to seek refuge and work somewhere else. Many of these individuals migrated to the US and others as we see in this article went to Belize. The issue I guess that is raised in this article is the fact that the spanish speaking workers have come in to this country and have not taken the time to learn the language. Rather they are more interested in convincing the employer that they can work for smaller wages and forcing the country to learn the spanish language. As a personal reference, my uncle who lives in El Salvador, left to work in belize for about 8 years. During that period he traveled back and forth between both countries and learned to speak English. He stated that it was the language most commonly spoken and that if you want to effectively communicate then you learn it. Now, it seems as though Belize is in the same situation as the US is/was. Many migrant workers come to the US, do not necessarily learn the language and work for less. It has created an unemployment surge because many employers seek people who will do the same job for less. In Belize howeve, they are too suffering an unemployment rate because these workers from Guatemala and El Salvador are outperforming the Belize citizens.

The economy should not be affected as having more individuals work for you should create a numerous amount of profit from exporting goods from Belize. At the same time we need to realize that just as the money comes in from profit it also has to be distributed to the workers and who ever is unemployed if they have a program for that. Learning a different language is not the issue, the issue is both sides learning eachothers and working together to push the country forward. - M.C

 

 


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Rachel Phillips's curator insight, February 12, 6:05 PM

As an American, I've never really thought about immigration to places other than the U.S., but this really opened my eyes.  It's a bad situation.  These people need their jobs, and need the money, but the immigrants are scooping all of that up.  Immigration is such a large occurrence that the language spoken in Belize is actually changing.  It's gone so far that politicians are pitching in to help immigrants just to help themselves.  In a way, it's absurd, and shocking, at least to me, that the government is just welcoming this while the citizens seem to be so against it.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 14, 11:40 PM

Belize is becoming more Spanish speaking due to their influx of migrant immigrants. According to the article, “Belize now has more native speakers of Spanish than of English.” As such, knowing how to speak two languages is a huge benefit to those working in the service sector. Given that this sector is one that both migrants and natives partake in, it makes sense. Thus, making Spanish classes mandatory for the native non-migrants is actually a smart economic move that ensures the students will come out with practical skills. It may seem odd that English is still the primary language taught in school given the importance of Spanish, but it isn't. My guess is that most of the migrant Spanish speaking workers are not in school . The article mentioned most of the migrants are moving into rural areas where they work in the the fruit fields. Such jobs do not requite a lot of education. So without the Spanish speaking population present in the school system, there isn't much of a reason to change the primary language of the school. Therefore, adding Spanish as a class is the best move given the populations needs.  


Conversely, the ethnic relations in the country is something I do not full grasp. The author's insured the relationship between members of different ethnic groups are “generally good.” However, I would have liked more concrete proof of this assurance.  To me the evidence the author provided could just end up causing more tensions. For the author assured the groups were getting along   because politicians weren't divided on ethnic lines and as such were giving free land to new migrants. The land wasn't going to the other members of the population because it is not in their character to ask. While it might not be in there character to ask for help, they could resent others actually taking the help. Especially if this gives an economic advantage. Now I could be wrong, but in countries where the minority challenge the majority things get unpleasant as discussed in class when looking at Europe and the Untied States. Given the developmental differences of these regions, the comparison may be inaccurate. However, until I hear more about how the groups actually feel towards each other, I am going to remain critical of the author's statement that all is good.   

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, April 16, 4:26 PM

I find it really interesting that so many immigrants are so welcomed by politicians, who actually pay immigration fees just to gain votes.  It's also intriguing that politicians "give away" land, and that so many people are moving away from cities, while the rest of Central America is moving into the cities. this is kind of an odd tactic, atleast from the view point of an America, because if an American politician did these things for immigrants, most Americans wold absolutely refuse to vote for them.  However the issue of immigration and locals being "too proud" to get governmental help, whereas immigrants will "stand in line", seems to fall right into place with how many view immigration in America, so it's relatable.