I see stupidity everywhere. On the Urdu listserv they lamented the fact that students of Hindi and students of Urdu at Berkely U. of C. don’t speak to one another. Yet the “two” languages are the same, separated by a script. The underlying tension, as usual, is religion, those identifying themselves as Urdu-speakers being Muslim and those identifying themselves a Hindi-speakers being Hindus.
The ACTFL SmartBrief raises the question as to whether sign language – ASL – should be admitted as a foreign language. Is Navaho, commonly taught here in Arizona, a “foreign language”? Technically, no, but it is taught as one b/c hardly anyone outside the Navaho tribe speaks it and even a lot of Navahos don’t. ASL has a grammar quite different from that of English; it has a culture distinct from the general American culture in crucial ways; it is of great social importance, particularly for those in education and social and government services. One of the gate-keeping devices is saying it doesn’t have a literature. Neither does Yoruba in the narrow sense of a long history of written literature, yet it is taught in quite a few universities.
Question: do these people think things through?