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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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David Lizotte's curator insight, February 3, 2:12 PM

Due to the colonial era Belize's national language is English. It's neat however to look upon how Spanish is becoming a firm language. It clearly shows that Belize is going through a culture change. Whats going on in Belize is equivalent to the Southwest. The southwest is English speaking, but it also has a high spanish speaking population and many individuals tend to learn spanish as well. In Belize, Spanish is  mandatory along side English, thus showing the important bilingual relationship. It seems to be accommodating for Spanish speaking citizens as well as citizens whom want to become bilingual.

The only issue is that jobs are far and few between due to the spanish speaking immigrant influx and there willingness to work for little pay. 

Another interesting factor, perhaps more on a global scale is how the service industry has changed due to the importance of being bilingual. In order to provide better services to ones country, one must be able to converse professionally in both languages to better accommodate and please the citizens. 

 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 9, 1:09 PM

The trend in Belize can be compared to and is similar to the dynamic going on in the United States.  Whereas, I don't foresee the English language taking as big of a hit as it is in Belize, there is still definitely an increase in presence of the Spanish language in most areas of our country.  In much the same way as Belize, America is also seeing many Mexicans and Central Americans immigrating to the states due to work and opportunity.  It is very interesting to see these two alike situations which are divided by many miles and multiple different Spanish-speaking countries but somehow have developed almost identical make-ups.

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.