The Great Uncomparable Heavenly One Placed Above (maldito) wrote in indigenous_intl,
The Great Uncomparable Heavenly One Placed Above
maldito
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Should the "owners" of a language be permitted to forbid its use to criticize them?

That's the title of an article I saw to a blog here:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003907.html

I meant to post that in my own journal but I had sent it to 2 people who are on my friends' list and already one of them said something stupid and I kinda went off on him politely telling him that he's a damn language geek.

In that blog it basically misinterprets the whole issue. They write, Here's a question: if the use of a language has to be licensed by the tribal elders, can they withhold this permission from someone who wants to criticize them, or to say something else that they don't approve of? That isn't the case really. It's not about licensing a language and I didn't have to read the original article that blog was referring to in order to know that.

Previously that author Mark Liberman posted this:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/languagelog/archives/003819.html

He writes: In particular, it's not clear from the article what the basis for the suit is, or what relief is being sought. The theory may be that a language is a piece of property belonging to (some representative body of) the people who speak it. But on the contrary, it says exactly what the lawsuit is about.

http://today.reuters.com/news/ArticleNews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-11-23T174049Z_01_N22384122_RTRUKOC_0_US-CHILE-MAPUCHES-MICROSOFT.xml

In that article it says that Microsoft said it wanted to help Mapuches embrace the digital age and open a window so that the rest of the world can access the culture riches of this indigenous people. What does "access cultural riches" mean to you? Sounds like a door to be open to gain access into one's culture if you ask me. Therefore, the Mapuche tribal leaders have accused the company of violating their cultural and collective heritage. And how did they do that? That's where the translation comes in without consulting the people whom it mattered to. This was never about owning a language like Liberman said.

The article continues and justifies Microsoft's actions based on previous translation into "a dozen" indigenous American languages without any opposition. And what do these other indigenous groups have to do with the Mapuches? Nothing really, they're not the same! The article then tries to pain a picture of the Mapuches as being the most ferocious, blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

I'm so sick and tired of people using the whole "ownership" crap as a tool, especially when they have no clue about what the culture means to a group of people whose culture is at risk when it comes to survival.
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