Herderian and Schleicherian Bias in Linguistics.

Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος is back! Nick has already posted several times, so before he races too far ahead, I want to quote from his post from a few days ago, Phanariot: an apology for Schleicherian bias. It describes a problem that has long afflicted linguistics, and frankly confesses that he has had to struggle with it himself:

Modern Greek historical linguistics has had some blind spots it’s needed to get past. That you need to understand Kartvelian languages to work out Pontic, for example. Or that Greek borrowed words from other languages even when it isn’t obvious where they did. Or that there is a lot more Puristic in Modern Standard Greek than the ostensive victors of the diglossia wars would like to think.

And a more pervasive bias than that, one I’ve shared, is a Herderian and Schleicherian view of language change, as tied up with the expression of ethnicity, and as paralleling the evolution of lifeforms. There are sophisticated takes on those views which are still current: historical linguistics continues to have a lot to learn from evolutionary biology, and much of sociolinguistics is about the nexus between language and identity.

There are also unsophisticated takes on those views. Not just Herder’s Blood and Soil nationalist romanticism, or Schleicher’s original notion that there are primitive languages for primitive peoples (or even his subtle variation, that there are overcomplicated languages for primitive peoples). Those have been rejected in polite company; but there are lingering romantic notions in thinking about language change that have outlived them. For example, that rural and oral language is the only true object of study of the historical linguist, and that urban and written language is subject to contaminating, artificial influences, and of secondary interest, if of any interest at all. It’s a naturalistic bias, and it’s a puristic bias. You can see how easily it can turn to cultural purism, with the untutored village folk seen as the only true teachers of the language, and with the learnèd influence on the language derogated, if not disavowed; something that gets in the way of forming an accurate picture of how Standard Modern Greek works to this day. […]

Any non-Greek linguists sneering at this point would do well to examine their own conscience. The dismissal of written language as not the proper domain of linguistics is a reaction to generations of prescriptivist dunderheads; but it is a biased reaction all the same, and it does not admit the fact that spoken language in literate societies is profoundly influenced by whatever neogrammatically incorrect nonsense takes place in written language. (Nor will fleeing to the Rousseauvian paradise of preliterate societies give you back your pristine language organism: preliterate societies are just as subject to changes in register and genre, and contamination between them.)

There is artifice in human language. There is a lot of artifice. And that is nothing to be ashamed of.

He applies this to Phanariot Greek and why Greek historical linguists have avoided dealing with it:

So, the bias against looking at Phanariot is a deep one. It’s informed by comic-book tribal politics: the Phanariots were aristocrats and intriguers, they were the bad guys. It’s informed by nationalism and purism: the Phanariots were collaborators and Turcophiles, they did not speak pure Greek […]. It’s informed by Herderian Romanticism: the proper object of historical linguistics is to be found among shepherds and peasants, not among dragomans and patriarchs. But it’s also informed by Schleicherian Romanticism: the proper object of historical linguistics is the “natural” evolution of language, and what the Phanariots were doing was anything but natural.

I recognize that prejudice in myself and I’m sure it’s widespread; I’m glad Nick is calling attention to it and urging us all to fight it.

Comments

  1. David Eddyshaw says:

    Very interesting in itself; the issues overlap a fair bit (by morphic resonance) with some of those in The Importance of Data, regarding speakers’ judgments of acceptability, too. I was struck especially by

    Nor will fleeing to the Rousseauvian paradise of preliterate societies give you back your pristine language organism: preliterate societies are just as subject to changes in register and genre, and contamination between them.

    I hadn’t really thought very much about how register and genre affect acceptability, but it’s obviously a major issue. I’m just imagining my response to some Martian linguist enquiring of me whether “To whom are such questions of any great import?” is acceptable or not.

  2. David Eddyshaw says:

    Come to think of it, it’s not difficult to come up with examples where what are by normal criteria quite different languages correspond to what in English are merely different registers (like Arabic, and Greek, of course, in its time), and many others where the linguistic differences between registers are at least much greater than in English.

    Is there an accepted generativist position on diglossia and suchlike issues? (Norvin?)

    Re genre, I can’t resist the observation (which does not originate with me) that

    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

    would be perfectly unexceptionable in the context of some fine modernist poem, and that declaring it semantically ill-formed simply betrays a lack of poetic imagination.

  3. It seems to me that what Nick is describing involves nationalistic bias more than anything else, something which is a problem wherever the history of a living language is explored: in an alternate universe where the Ottoman Empire never fell and where (a majority of) Greeks are proud of their contribution thereto, I do not doubt that Phanariot Greek would be a very important object of scholarly study, and the mutual influences of Greek upon Turkish and vice-versa would be an important component of diachronic Greek linguistics. Indeed, if in this alternate universe Greeks’ religious identity (orthodoxy) had gone on playing the importance it had had in the Middle Ages, we could imagine this “Modern Ottoman Greek” scholarly establishment downplaying the continuity between Ancient (=pre-Christian, and therefore undesirable) and Modern Greek.

    And perhaps in this alternate universe Nick would also write a blog post (?Book? Journal article?) on the topic, stressing that just because Homer was neither a Christian nor an loyal Ottoman subject does not mean that scholars of Greek should ignore the language of the Iliad and the Odyssey…

  4. J.W. Brewer says:

    It’s probably hard enough to get whoever you’re eliciting acceptability/well-formedness judgments from to be pre-primed to naturally go beyond yes/no answers to answers like “yes, but only in informal contexts and not otherwise” or “yes, but only in super-formal contexts and not otherwise.” Getting into specialized varieties or registers of language used for certain stylized genres (whether that be poems or mathematical proofs) is likely even harder. Maybe every elicitation question should be structured something like “does this sound ‘natural’ to you; if so, in all contexts or only some; if not, can you think of any possible context where it would”?

    There is some anecdote about some 19th century schoolboy-who-became-famous (probably Churchill or some such like magnet for misattributions …) learning Latin declensions and objecting to the notion that one had to learn the vocative for every single noun (or at least every single second-declension noun where it was distinct from the nominative), on the grounds that quite a lot of these nouns were for inanimate objects that no non-crazy person would ever have occasion to speak to in direct address. And it is probably true that one could find some such nouns for which the vocative is never actually attested in the surviving corpus of ancient Latin texts. And probably equally true that one might find some vocatives attested only in poetry where the conceit of speaking directly to such-and-such inanimate object was not squelched by the constraints of pragmatics.

  5. David Marjanović says:

    declaring it semantically ill-formed simply betrays a lack of poetic imagination.

    Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie
    Und grün des Lebens gold’ner Baum.

    “Grey, dear friend, is all theory / And green life’s golden tree.” Goethe, the Number One Poet And Playwright of the German language, back in the 18th century.

  6. J.W. Brewer says:

    To Etienne’s point, Byzantine culture had long made its peace with (certain) pagan authors as worthy of reading by Christian students and as worthy of emulation as stylistic models, so the rejection of the pagan past by the Eastern Christian Rhomaioi never extended to the neglect of e.g. Homer. Indeed, more or less by definition the overwhelming majority of ancient Greek texts we actually have access to were those with enough of a Christian fanbase to keep getting transmitted from one manuscript to the next throughout the entirety of the Byzantine period.

  7. David Eddyshaw says:

    Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie
    Und grün des Lebens gold’ner Baum.

    IIRC, Mephistopheles is at that point trying to get some hapless undergraduate to forfeit his soul. He is evidently leading him away from the True Path towards an approach which advocates extensive fieldwork without sufficient attention to conceptual rigour.

  8. John Cowan says:

    one had to learn the vocative for every single noun

    “A mouse — of a mouse — to a mouse — a mouse — O mouse!”

  9. David Eddyshaw says:

    In this case the attribution to Churchill is actually correct:

    http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-2/winston-churchills-school-days

  10. January First-of-May says:

    “A mouse — of a mouse — to a mouse — a mouse — O mouse!”

    I especially liked how the Ukrainian translation of this scene (…well, the one I’ve read) did put “O mouse!” in the relevant vocative case (О мишо!), but still kept the initial “O”.
    (The newer Ukrainian translation provided a full Ukrainian case table, complete with the O-less vocative, but kept the O in the actual greeting, which consequently lost its explanation.)

    I actually checked a while back what the Latin translation did with this scene, but I forgot the answer it turned out that “mouse” is one of the nouns where the vocative wasn’t distinct from the nominative.

  11. And Pushkin famously recycled Horatio’s “O rus, quando ego te aspiciam” 🙂

  12. J.W. Brewer says:

    I am indebted to David E. for the link, although who knows if Churchill was a reliable narrator of his own childhood. I had had “mensa” vaguely in my memory as the Latin noun from the anecdote, but that seemed wrong because it *wasn’t* a noun where the vocative is actually a differently-declined form from the nominative. Although I guess since it’s first declension it might have been at the very beginning of a textbook, which sort of fits the narrative context.

  13. quite a lot of these nouns were for inanimate objects that no non-crazy person would ever have occasion to speak to in direct address.

    Spade! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands
    And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont’s side…

    (A justly forgotten Wordsworth effort)

  14. Isn’t “O tempora, o mores!” in vocative case?

    One could hardly find more inanimate objects to address

  15. Isn’t “O tempora, o mores!” in vocative case?

    Or maybe Cicero was just groaning and saying something in, I don’t know, the accusative, like “Me miserum!”?

  16. I was considering that too – but on the other hand, I think o is specifically a vocative particle.

  17. Nope. O fortunatam natam me consule Romam!

  18. This is such an interesting post because it delves behind some of the unspoken assumptions and prejudices that lie behind people’s judgements.

    If I might reveal one of mine (I think I’ve mentioned it before): I’ve never quite felt that Tagalog (Filipino) was a language worth studying because of the code-switching that is endemic in the Philippines. It’s based on the prejudice that a fully-fledged national language should be an instrument capable of use in every sphere of life, from everyday conversation to particle physics. Of course this is a concept that developed under the influence of nationalist ideologies in Europe, where every nation-state tried to build up a comprehensive national linguistic medium that could stand on the same footing as English, German, or French (models to which other languages aspired). This thinking lies behind the immense efforts that East Asian countries took to develop native lexical equivalents to European words, again ranging from the social sciences, economics, and law to, well, particle physics. So a language like Tagalog, which is just as happy to insert an English word as it is to create its own vocabulary, seems less interesting than more ‘self-contained’ languages. (I did at one stage make a very basic attempt at picking up some Tagalog but didn’t get very far.)

    As it turns out, Tagalog and other languages of the Philippines are fascinating for what is known as “Austronesian alignment”, which stands apart from either ergative or nominative-accusative languages. Plus they are verb-initial languages, which are in a minority worldwide. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if my aging brain could wrap itself around yet another foreign language.

  19. John Cowan says:

    It’s based on the prejudice that a fully-fledged national language should be an instrument capable of use in every sphere of life, from everyday conversation to particle physics.

    I wouldn’t call that a prejudice. Indeed, I’d go further and say that every native language that isn’t on the fast path to complete loss should be able to be such an instrument in every sphere. All such languages already have all the resources they need except vocabulary, and they can gain that not only by calquing but just as well by borrowing (as English has) or by etymological nativization.

    But perhas you mean it’s a prejudice that such languages should be able to have a purely native (if calqued) vocabulary, in which case I agree (although such a thing has its advantages, as in modern Turkish or German up to the 20C).

  20. Tagalog (Filipino) was a language worth studying because

    If every Tagalog speaker is also fluent in English (close enough to situation in the Philippines), then you wouldn’t need to study that language to communicate with the natives and this removes one of the main traditional incentives for language-learning.

  21. It’s funny that particle physics should be mentioned, since the English terminology that has developed for the field seems to consist entirely of English coinages, Greco-Roman ones, and German. Some German words, like bremsstrahlung, have even led to productive paradigms, with new words like higgsstrahlung. Whether terms like that should be italicized as foreign or not. Some other languages have calques of bremsstrahlung, but I think every language uses zitterbewegung (now, maybe not in the 1930s, when it was a hot topic though).

  22. For zitterbewegung Chinese uses 颤动. In Japanese it appears to be ツィッターベベーグング.

    Indeed, I’d go further and say that every native language that isn’t on the fast path to complete loss should be able to be such an instrument in every sphere.

    Perhaps. But I think that your view fails to reflect reality. There are plenty of languages that are the language of the home, perhaps even the language of public life, that still exist despite lacking vocabulary to discuss specialised topics. I think it’s quite normal for there to be a ‘division of labour’ among languages.

    Since most education in sub-Saharan Africa, especially at a higher level, is presumably in English or French, I’m not sure whether they have developed the vocabulary to cover all aspects of academic discourse. Does that mean they are going to die out?

    Hundreds of languages exist in Papua New Guinea without the means to discuss nuclear physics. Perhaps in this world of nation-states these languages are on the long-term path to extinction, but it’s also quite possible that they’ll continue to exist for many generations — until something else comes along to disturb the equlibrium.

    I seem to remember a thread here discussing the translation of English works into Hindi, where a significant proportion of people thought that English shouldn’t be translated into Hindi at all. This is tantamount to fencing off certain areas of discourse as ‘belonging to English’. I do find such an attitude dismaying (why would you want to study a language where people think like that?) but it certainly doesn’t seem to be terribly outlandish, given the many attitudes that people are capable of holding about language. And it doesn’t stop either Tagalog or Hindi from being, well, ‘languages’.

    perhas you mean it’s a prejudice that such languages should be able to have a purely native (if calqued) vocabulary

    No, I meant having the vocabulary at all. If you read any Tagalog on the Internet, you can’t help but notice that it uses English words. These don’t seem to be borrowings; they appear instead to represent code-switching — switching into a foreign language. It happens all the time in daily conversation in Tagalog for whole stretches of speech.

  23. Incidentally, look up the Wikipedia article on ‘particle physics’. In the list of articles in other languages, you will find 10 for the Middle East, 5 for Africa, 25 for Asia, 5 for the Americas, 2 for the Pacific, and 47 for Europe! Many of those for the Americas, the Middle East, the Pacific, and even Asia, are European languages. Of course this is probably symptomatic of many things (less contributors in places like Africa), but it underlines how strongly the idea is rooted in Europe that every little language (and some of the languages listed are very minor) should be able to express everything. In the rest of the world, not so much.

  24. John Cowan says:

    you wouldn’t need to study [Tagalog] to communicate with the natives

    You don’t need Dutch to communicate with the natives either (English and a humble attitude go a very long way), but you certainly do if you are going to become a resident of the Netherlands and integrate yourself with the population.

    I’m not sure whether they have developed the vocabulary to cover all aspects of academic discourse. Does that mean they are going to die out?

    No, what I was saying is the other way about. There is not much point in trying to develop vocabulary for Aleut (150 speakers), or any Uto-Aztecan language except perhaps some varieties of Nahuatl: they are all on the chopping block waiting for the axe to drop. But there are plenty of perfectly stable languages that have not developed in this fashion, either for reasons of external oppression, or where that has ceased, its internalized equivalent. I think this is a great wrong done to (and by) people who cannot discuss modernity in their own language, even if there is no getting away from writing in English (or French or Spanish or what not) for publication.

    As for Tagalog, I well believe that plenty of code-switching goes on, but whether single words in Tagalog represent switches or borrowings is a very subtle matter: see “French in all its purity”.

  25. Aleut (150 speakers), or any Uto-Aztecan language except perhaps some varieties of Nahuatl: they are all on the chopping block waiting for the axe to drop.

    It’s very likely that at some point in 19th century, entire Alaskan Aleut population spoke Russian as their main language and intermarried with Russians to such extent that current genetic studies show all Aleuts today are of partial Russian descent on male side.

    Russian continued to be spoken by many Aleuts well into 20th century, but they appear to have adopted a policy of deliberately hiding this knowledge from American authorities.

    Bizarre and unexplainable internment of Aleuts during WWII (for some bewildering reason the American government appeared to believe that the Aleuts would have sympathies for the Japanese) didn’t help and then the Cold War started and Russia became America’s main enemy.

    They certainly felt safer to forget both languages and speak only English.

  26. whether single words in Tagalog represent switches or borrowings is a very subtle matter

    Agree.

    Try Harry Potter in Tagalog (just some photos of a couple of pages but enough to give you an idea): Harry Potter: The Filipino / Tagalog edition. Even the book title is left in English.

    As Tagalog Wikipedia says:

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Reyno Unido/Gran Britanya/Nagkakaisang Kaharian)
    (Literal ngunit hindi tumpak na salinwika sa Filipino: Si Harry Potter at ang Bato ng Pilosopo)

  27. John Cowan says:

    Bizarre and unexplainable internment of Aleuts during WWII (for some bewildering reason the American government appeared to believe that the Aleuts would have sympathies for the Japanese)

    Not at all. The Aleuts were removed and their villages burned as a scorched-earth tactic to deny the Japanese the use of the houses in those villages. It was handled extremely badly (the evacuation was done with great haste and the Aleuts were permitted only the most minimal personal property) and the camps to which the Aleuts were sent were not only alien to them (trees all around must have been terrifying) but also unsanitary to the Nth degree. Nevertheless, the internment was entirely unrelated to the internment of Japanese Americans.

  28. There is not much point in trying to develop vocabulary for Aleut (150 speakers), or any Uto-Aztecan language except perhaps some varieties of Nahuatl

    Many of these languages have revitalization efforts going, and new vocabularies are developed for them even as we speak, including, without a doubt, for Unangam Tunuu (aka Aleut).

    they are all on the chopping block waiting for the axe to drop.

    Huichol, Cora, Yaqui, Mayo, and the Tepehuan languages have all been steadily increasing their number of speakers as of the 2005 census.

  29. David Eddyshaw says:

    I think this is a great wrong done to (and by) people who cannot discuss modernity in their own language

    While my immediate impulse is to strongly agree, on reflection, I wonder.

    Polyglot Africans have always been used to the idea that one person may well use different languages in different aspects of his/her life without any language necessarily being threatened in its own domain; (say) Kusaal at home and in all social and leisure activities, Hausa in working as a lorry driver or going to the market, English when working at the local hospital. It seems to me that the idea that this sort of linguistic compartmentalisation is regrettable may risk selling the pass to the dire modern notion that the only valid basis for a modern state is a linguistically homogeneous People, made of neatly interchangeable linguistic cogs who can conveniently be slotted into any of the State’s factories or armies.

    It’s never going to make sense for Ghana (say) to have a medical school where Kusaal is the medium of instruction – or even Twi. The robustness of these languages turns on the speakers holding fast to their use in the particular domains they feel they belong to. Who cares if nobody studies quantum chromodynamics in Hausa? Is it a problem if your local market is so flourishing that people come to it from all over and need to use an interlanguage with each other? The sinister developments come when people start imagining that a language is only a “real” language if you discuss postmodernism in it. Or artillery tactics. Or if its limits coincide with your state boundaries. Conceding this is to give the game away.

    To put it another way, if you’re going to say that it’s vital to able to discuss modernity in your language, you need to watch out that your concept of modernity is not one that covertly smuggles in preconceptions which are liable in themselves to lead to hostility to linguistic variety.

  30. Thanks for showing up, David. It was exactly the comment I was hoping for! I don’t think that the European concept of a ‘national language for everything’ has completely taken over the world quite yet.

    Re: revitalisation efforts:

    Please forgive my failing memory, but I seem to remember mentions on this blog of efforts to develop advanced vocabulary for an indigenous American language . As part of revival efforts children were taught things like algebra (IIRC) in said language. It’s wonderful, but could only lead anywhere if 1) indigenous-language books were published on these subjects (writing is of extreme importance in preserving minor languages) and 2) there was some use for the language in discussing algebra beyond children’s classrooms.

    Of course, creating the vocabulary is one thing; getting it into actual use is quite another. There have been attempts to create advanced vocabulary for Mongolian in Inner Mongolia, but because the language is totally cramped by Chinese I’m not sure much of it will ever leave the dictionary. In addition to which, most of the proposed vocabulary is calqued directly from Chinese and studiously avoids the vocabulary used in Mongolia.

  31. I wondered if anyone studies quantum chromodynamics in Mongolian.

    It turns they certainly do:

    Lambda barion (L) ni tsakhilgaan tseneggüi bögööd 3 kvarkaas (u, d, s) bütne. 1950 ond Myeliburny ikh surguuliin fizikchdiin khiisen ug neeltiin achaar matyeriin kvark zagvar, barion bolon myezon dakhi kvarkuudyg kholbodog khüchtei khariltsan üilchleliin tukhai onol bolokh kvant khromodinamik (KKhD)-g ulam bolovsrongui bolgoson.

  32. > If you read any Tagalog on the Internet, you can’t help but notice that it uses English words. These don’t seem to be borrowings; they appear instead to represent code-switching

    Could you elaborate on what you consider code-switching? Most of the English I see is what I consider borrowings, and don’t seem very different from the situation in Japanese (except, of course, the English orthography being used). I don’t see many if any English function words, for example. English titles are often left untranslated in Japan, too (although articles are sometimes thrown away: Pirates of the Caribbean > /paire:tsu obu karibian/, but not /karibukai no kaizoku/).

    I did notice, admittedly, that some of the meta-data of the Harry Potter book, like “translated by” and “chapter one”, was in English, which I don’t think would be common in Japanese translations.

  33. David Marjanović says:

    Film titles are often left untranslated in German, but book titles hardly ever.

  34. David Eddyshaw says:

    quantum chromodynamics in Mongolian

    Bolgoson would be an excellent name for an elementary particle.

  35. @David Eddyshaw: That was my immediate thought as well.

  36. I made an attempt to translate this sentence, I hope it makes sense to somebody, it certainly doesn’t to me:

    Lambda baryons (L) have electric charge and consist of 3 quarks (u,d,s). As a result of this discovery made by physicists of the Melbourne University in 1950, quark matter model and quantum chromodynamics – a theory of strong interactions connecting quarks – were perfected.

  37. David Eddyshaw says:

    Come to that, I bag Quantum Chromodynamics in Mongolian for the title of my forthcoming bestselling novel. There will be yurts. There will be bolgosons.

  38. Could you elaborate on what you consider code-switching?

    This is the second time I’ve been challenged on this. JC linked to a good example of why the difference is not hard and fast.

    So let me just say that it’s an impressionistic feeling on my part. When many, especially older, Japanese use a foreign word, they’ve all too often picked it up from some kind of reading. They can’t necessarily speak English with any great degree of fluency and their pronunciation is often quite poor, but they will throw in English words seemingly as a badge of learning or prestige. Needless to say not all Japanese are like this; many are quite good at English and their use of English shows a good level of familiarity. Nevertheless, my overall impression is that when Japanese use English words they are not necessarily ‘switching to a second language’; they are simply peppering their speech with English words.

    Filipinos seem to be different. They are used to switching between two languages (Tagalog and English, or their own native language and English) as part of their linguistic culture. They don’t simply throw in words; they switch between speaking English and Tagalog on the level of sub-sentences, sentences, and sometimes whole stretches of speech. If it’s easier to use an English word they will use the English word, spoken as an English word (though obviously with a Philippine accent). Their speech can often become an intermingling of two different languages. That’s why it’s called “code-switching”, not “throwing in a foreign word or two”.

    As JC pointed out, the borderline may be hard to define, especially when only a word or two is involved, but there seems to me to be a fairly fundamental difference between the two. I’ve code-switched with some Japanese people I know in China — Japanese being their native language and their Chinese being very good — and it’s certainly not the same as throwing in a Chinese word or two.

    The following news article from a Tagalog-language newspaper is fairly typical of what happens with code-switching, even in writing. There are individual words as well as whole sentences in English. The main concession that this newspaper makes, which I suspect does not happen in more highbrow papers, is that English quotes are translated into Tagalog.

    MANILA, Philippines — Itinanggi ni Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta na kasalanan niya ang measles outbreak na itinuturo ng mga Health officials sa takot na nilikha ng pagkakaso niya kaugnay ng Dengvaxia.

    Sa pagkakataong ito, itinuro naman ni Acosta ang Department of Health para sa diumano’y kabiguan nilang ikampanya ang measles immunization.

    “How can we be responsible for the measles problem today? It is the mandate of the DOH to campaign for proven immunization. We’re not against any tested vaccination. Our only concern here is Dengvaxia,” sabi ni Acosta sa PAO National Convention sa Manila Hotel.

    (Paano kami magiging responsable para sa problema sa tigdas ngayon? Mandato ng DOH na ikampanya yung mga napatunayan nang bakuna. Hindi kami tutol sa mabisang vaccination. Ang problema lang namin ay Dengvaxia.)

    Ito ang naging tugon ni Acosta sa mga ulat na lumikha ng vaccine scare ang PAO, dahilan para ‘di kumuha ng mga bakuna ang publiko.

    Sinabi ng ilang doktor napababa ni Acosta ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa mga bakuna dahil sa mga ‘di pa napatutunayang salaysalay tungkol sa Dengvaxia.

    Mula sa dating 93 porsyento noong 2015, bumulusok daw ang vaccine confidence patungo sa 32 noong 2018.

    Ayon naman kay DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo, bagama’t may kinalaman ang Dengvaxia sa pagbaba ng immunization rate, may mga iba pa raw na mga factors kung bakit bumagsak ang mga numero.

    Umapela naman si Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na ipaghiwalay ang isyu ng Dengvaxia sa gamot sa tigdas.

    Dati nang sinabi ni Duque na humingi sila ng tulong noon sa PAO kaugnay ng Dengvaxia controversy ngunit tumagi raw ito.

    Giit ni Acosta, ‘di tamanang isisi ito sa PAO dahil hindi naman trabao ng kanilang tanggapan ang pag-eendoso at pagbibigay ng gamot.

    “We did not cause that. We are not the ones who administered the mass vaccination,” sabi ng abogada.

    (Hindi kami ang may gawa niyan. Hindi kami ang nagbibigay ng malakihang pagpapabakuna.)

    “Those getting measles now should have been vaccinated in 2015, 2016 or 2017. Why wasn’t there a better campaign by the DOH for it and why didn’t they go house-to-house?”

    (Yung mga nakakuha ng tigas dapat nabakunahan na noong 201, 2016, o 2017 pa lang. Bakit hindi mas maayos ang kampanya ng DOH para rito at bakit hindi sila nagbahay-bahay?)

    Nanindigan si Acosta na walang kinalaman ang tigdas sa pagkakaso niya sa mga diumano’y namatay sa tukok ng Dengvaxia.

    “We did not create the scare. It was Sanofi who organized a press conference on Nov. 29, 2017, saying that Dengvaxia cannot be administered to those without history of the disease. The vaccine was already given. So did PAO create the scare?”

    (Hindi kami ang lumikha ng takot. Sanofi ang nag-organisa ng press conference noong ika-29 ng Nobyembre 2017 nang aminin nilang hindi pwedeng ibigay ang Dengvaxia sa mga hindi pa nakakukuha ng dengue. Ibinigay na ang bakuna. So sino ang tinakot ng PAO?)

    Dagdag ng PAO chief, hindi sila naglunsad ng kampanya laban sa measles immunization.

    DOJ kinampihan si Acosta
    Sinang-ayunan naman ni Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra si Acosta at sinabing hindi siya ang dapat sisihin ukol dito.

    Nanindigan si Guevara na ginagawa lang ng PAO ang kanilang trabaho. Inatasan daw kasi sila ng departamento na maglunsad ng fact-finding investigation at asikasuhin ang mga kaso sa Dengvaxia controversy.

    “PAO chief Acosta is just doing her job and certainly does not intend to scare the public about the possible negative effects of vaccination in general,” wika ni Guevarra sa text.

    (Ginagawa lang ni PAO chief Acosta ang tungkulin niya at ‘di niya layong takutin ang publiko sa posibleng masamang epekto ng bakuna sa pangkalahatan.)

    Pagbabahagi niya, masosolusyunan ito ng mas agresibong information drive tungkol sa mga bakuna.

    Siniguro naman ni Guevarra na malapit nang maresolba ang mga kasong isinampa kakabit ng unang batch ng Dengvaxia cases na inihain sa DOJ.

    “I have directed the Dengvaxia investigating panel to resolve the cases this month,” wika ni Guevarra.

    (Inutusan ko na ang Dengvaxia investigating panel na resolbahin ang mga kaso ngayong buwan.)

  39. John Cowan says:

    t’s never going to make sense for Ghana (say) to have a medical school where Kusaal is the medium of instruction – or even Twi.

    I grant that. But does it make sense for people who are not doctors to have to learn an entirely different language in order to so much as discuss their own diseases (as seen in modern scientific perspective)? Modernity isn’t confined to islands in a sea of premodern culture any more.

  40. January First-of-May says:

    I don’t actually know any Tagalog, so it was hard for me to follow the article, but my favorite part is that the Tagalog for “concern” is apparently problema.

    (From Spanish, presumably. There are a few other words that looks Spanish, but in most of those cases I couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t English.)

    But does it make sense for people who are not doctors to have to learn an entirely different language in order to so much as discuss their own diseases (as seen in modern scientific perspective)?

    We kind of already have to in English – most of the disease names are Latin and/or Greek…

  41. Speaking of Spanish influence, I find it interesting that “responsible for” is “responsable para.” Is the preposition borrowed as part of the whole phrase?

  42. Well, it seems sa alone is too vague:

    https://www.tagaloglang.com/sa/

  43. South American Indian languages also borrow Spanish prepositions.

  44. David Eddyshaw says:

    But does it make sense for people who are not doctors to have to learn an entirely different language in order to so much as discuss their own diseases (as seen in modern scientific perspective)?

    I think to an extent this happens with English speakers. “Pseudohypoparathyroidism” (for example) is really only an English word by courtesy. Sort of a linguistic Gastarbeiter. Admittedly it’s embedded in English syntax, though.

    I once made the error of volunteering to translate a Japanese medical article for a colleague. It was a highly educational experience (to which I am indebted for the discovery that the Japanese word for “eosinophil” is literally “love acid ball”, which made it all worthwhile), but it took me ages, because I hadn’t appreciated what a linguistic gulf there is between technical Japanese of the sort considered appropriate for medicalese and even quite arty modern literary style. It trails clouds of Kanbun. I would guess for Japanese speakers it’s no trivial language-learning exercise. Hatters will know.

    Similar things are true of Arabic, and indeed of Welsh, even.

  45. A relative of mine had hyponatremia. I only learnt this from the nurses.

    Everyone else thought she had low sodium.

    I had to look up eosinophil, too.

    Wikipedia tells us that “eosinophilic” (Greek suffix -phil-, meaning loves eosin) refers to the staining of certain tissues, cells, or organelles after they have been washed with eosin, a dye. Eosin is an acidic dye; thus, the structure being stained is basic and as a corollary, is acidophilic.

    The thing with Japanese, of course, is that much of the terminology is calqued from Western languages. 好酸球 kōsankyū means literally ‘like acid ball’, and is the Japanese name for “Eosinophil granulocyte”. I didn’t bother looking that one up, but I assume that a granulocyte is a “grain-like cell”…

    Don’t ask me why, but the name Eosin comes from Eos, the Ancient Greek word for ‘dawn’ and the name of the Ancient Greek goddess of the dawn. We are lucky that the Japanese didn’t go one further and call the eosonophil 好曙球 kōshokyū ‘love dawn balls’.

    The Chinese, by the way, is 嗜酸性粒细胞 shìsuān-xìng lì-xìbāo ‘fondness-for-acid-type grain-cell’.

    While this is obviously pretty confusing for the ordinary patient, it is not particularly confusing once you know the origin of the naming, which you will if you know anything about the subject (to wit, why they are named eosonophils in the first place).

  46. David Eddyshaw says:

    In fact this overlaps with something I was spouting about in another thread: what in the English or French linguistic ecosystems are simply different registers are in other ecologies actually separate languages by any normal criterion. I don’t think that is ipso facto necessarily a bad thing, and it seems to me that an untroubled assumption that it inevitably must be is part of the very concept of modernity I was objecting too: the sort that leads French government ministers to say pour l’unité linguistique de la France, la langue bretonne doit disparaître.

    (Now that I think of it, the matter also touches on the debate about AAVE in education.)

  47. David Marjanović says:

    The following news article from a Tagalog-language newspaper is fairly typical of what happens with code-switching, even in writing. There are individual words as well as whole sentences in English.

    The only sentences in English I can see are the quotes.

    Speaking of Spanish influence, I find it interesting that “responsible for” is “responsable para.” Is the preposition borrowed as part of the whole phrase?

    There are two other occurrences of para, and the explanation of sa shows it’s often doubled up with sa.

    Don’t ask me why, but the name Eosin comes from Eos

    Because Eosin Y is beautifully orange (especially when dissolved in water, which isn’t shown there). Eosin B is brownish-green, though.

Speak Your Mind

*