En réponse à Thomas Leigh <[log in to unmask]>:
> Even languages with a small number of speakers -- look at Faroese for
> instance. There are *fewer* speakers of Faroese than there are of
> Scottish Gaelic! Yet Faroese is in absolutely no danger of dying out,
> cause there's no competition from any other language, and everyone in
> the Faroes speaks it as their native language.
You said it: "there's no competition from any other language, and everyone on
the Faroes speaks it as their native language". My "and" was supposed to be
an "and/or" :)) .
> > But such a situation is usually lethal for a minoritary language
> > overwhelmed by another language in its own territory...
> You think? It could be argued that it's the only way for such a
> to survive -- by having a single, unified standard for literature, the
> media, etc., as opposed to just several divergent regional dialects.
My point was not about the existence of a unified standard but about the
existence of divergent dialects. A language like Irish cannot afford having
divergent dialects while its total number of speakers is so low and nearly all
of them are bilingual in English too. Dialects are usually a richness for a
language, but too much richness for too few people is as deadly as too much
poverty for too many people. It divides their already small community into
smaller communities with only partial understanding with each other, and is not
good for the image of the Irish language itself.
The only way for a language to survive is to have weight in the number of
speakers, and I mean speakers with full understanding with each other. In this
case, dialects are unwelcome. It may not be nice, but it's unfortunately quite
Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.