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Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

Like a detective at a crime scene, chief language inspector Antons Kursitis scans the lobby of a hotel in downtown Riga. He spots a brochure that lists hotel services in Russian only, a flagrant violation of Latvia's language laws.

 

"Protecting the Latvian language — that is, safeguarding its supremacy over Russian — has been a priority here since the Soviet occupation ended two decades ago. Those efforts face their biggest test yet on Saturday, in a referendum on whether to make Russian the country's second official language."  What historical, political and demographic factors shape this cultural issue of language?  Why is language often seen as so crucial to cultural identity?  

 

The Latvian voters have spoken: in a massive voter turn-out, they struck down the referendum that sought to make Russian an official language.  "Latvia is the only place throughout the world where Latvian is spoken, so we have to protect it," said Martins Dzerve, 37, in Riga, Latvia's capital. "But Russian is everywhere."  For more on the vote, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17083397    


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Nicholas Rose's comment, September 4, 2012 11:48 AM
This article is really interesting to read about. The reason why is because of the existence of the Soviet Union during World War II. Each Soviet Republic during that time had their own language and children were taught to speak Russian during school. Since the Soviet Union fell after the Cold War in 1991, all of the former Soviet Republics are free countries now and should be allowed to speak their official language instead of Russian.
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, 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.

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Visualizing Regional Population Statistics

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.

 

This is an excellent video for population and demographic units, but also for showing regional and spatial patterns within the global dataset (since terms like 'overpopulation' and 'carrying capacity' inherently have different meanings in distinct places and when analyzed at various scales). It is also a fantastic way to visualize population data and explain the ideas that are foundational for the Demographic Transition Model.

 

Tags: population, scale, visualization, Demographics, models, unit 2 population, sustainability, regions, spatial.


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Sarah Ann Glesenkamp's curator insight, September 17, 7:55 PM

Unit 2

Mohamed Mohamed's curator insight, October 13, 4:03 PM

This video describes and explains how we got to a population of 7 billion people so fast

Mohamed Mohamed's curator insight, October 13, 4:04 PM

It also uses water to demonstrate it.

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Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid

Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

January and February are sweet times for most Chinese — they enjoy family reunions during the spring festival, which this year fell on January 23, and they celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is well-liked in China.

 

Gender roles in cultural norms change from country to country.  What also needs to be understood is how the demographic situation of a given country influences these patterns. 


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 9, 2013 1:22 PM

It is hard for Chinese women to attract men once they reach a certain age in Beijing it was reported in 2009 that there was 800,000 women 27 and unmarried and the number was rising. Many mothers of these women even argue with them or try to set them up with men they dont like. In the US women are getting married older and older and it is viewed as socially acceptable mainly because they are focusing on their carrers and making sure they are settled first. 

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 21, 2013 1:05 PM

This article is interesting as it discusses one example of how gender roles and cultural norms differ from country to country.  Chinese women who are around 30 years old and single are referred to as "leftover girls".  Similar to a growing trend in the United States, Chinese women are focusing on their careers and their own goals and waiting to marry until they find the right person and have their own lives in order.  However, in the United States, this way of life for women is more socially acceptable whereas in China, it is not as acceptable for these "leftover girls".

Marissa Roy's curator insight, December 5, 2013 1:32 PM

It is interesting to see this as in American culture, marrying in your 20s is not a necessity anymore, it's almost unexpected. With so many men to choose from, these girls have time to find a man. The culture is going to shift as these ladies get married later in life.