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Each in Our Own Language

2 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    There are a few problems with this piece, but I shall remark on only three:

    “Universal Latin probably did not mean that everyone could participate equally well wherever they were, but rather everyone could participate equally badly wherever they were.” – This is a ridiculous statement and does not take the history of the West or the missions into account.

    Firstly Latin was the lingua franca of the West for a long time and even up to our parent’s day it was taught. The missionaries, though using the Tridentine Rite taught the truths of the Faith in the vernacular and some were given dispensation for Masses in the vernacular before the Second Vatican Council.

    Those in the West who are able use a missal with a side-by-side translation of the Mass would be fine. People are smarter than we think, and as one who has attended a Latin Mass, served and cantored have memorised enough to understand the flow and be able to worship with understanding without knowing the language intimately. Understanding the Mass is much more than the language used. I would like to remind readers that Latin is still the language of the Church and that the GIRM still calls for its use in Mass contrary to popular belief.

    “How can we as parishes and dioceses show that we are able to worship “each in their own language” but still worship together showing that there can be unity within diversity?” – Use Latin. It is the Language of the Roman Rite and there is a great deal of room for the vernacular i.e. the readings and the prayers of the faithful.

    “Debates have been raging on our university campuses about the colonisation of language. If there are lectures in Afrikaans, why can’t there be lectures in Xhosa?” – Afrikaans was consciously developed to become an academic language, which took time. Xhosa, as far as I know has not been afforded the same courtesy. Also there are materials available in Afrikaans. This is not a question of colonisation, but an excuse to create an opportunity to “other” a cultural group. We must remember that Afrikaans is the 3rd most spoken Language in South Africa while English only comes up 4th.

    I would say that there could (and should) be lectures in Xhosa, but who will volunteer to take that role and who will build these universities? There are currently lecturers that can teach in English and Afrikaans, let those of other language groups step up to the plate and also be sure that their students are able to express themselves in English, as education in Afrikaans has done. It is wrong to destroy the culture of an Afrikaans University because the people who enrol do not want to study in that language. Why not go to another university? There are plenty good ones.

    “Afrikaans in a university classroom is then just as inappropriate and wasteful as Xhosa.” – this is a sad conclusion and adds to the destructive spirit of racism in our country. Neither languages would be wasteful. It is ironic, but the perception that the English language is superior due to its imagined international preference seems to remain a problem.

    As one who has studied teaching I am grateful that I am not in the field because of this silliness. People have such hatred in their hearts that they want to destroy that which is “other”. It is time that we forge our own paths even if it means setting up new structures to fulfil this desire. I would think that a university for each language group would be a great boon – the more institutions of learning that are available the better things would be!

  2. Jonathan says:

    There are a few problems with this piece, but I shall remark on only three:

    “Universal Latin probably did not mean that everyone could participate equally well wherever they were, but rather everyone could participate equally badly wherever they were.” – This is a ridiculous statement and does not take the history of the West or the missions into account.

    Firstly Latin was the lingua franca of the West for a long time and even up to our parent’s day it was taught. The missionaries, though using the Tridentine Rite taught the truths of the Faith in the vernacular and some were given dispensation for Masses in the vernacular before the Second Vatican Council.

    Those in the West who are able use a missal with a side-by-side translation of the Mass would be fine. People are smarter than we think, and as one who has attended a Latin Mass, served and cantored have memorised enough to understand the flow and be able to worship with understanding without knowing the language intimately. Understanding the Mass is much more than the language used. I would like to remind readers that Latin is still the language of the Church and that the GIRM still calls for its use in Mass contrary to popular belief.

    “How can we as parishes and dioceses show that we are able to worship “each in their own language” but still worship together showing that there can be unity within diversity?” – Use Latin. It is the Language of the Roman Rite and there is a great deal of room for the vernacular i.e. the readings and the prayers of the faithful.

    “Debates have been raging on our university campuses about the colonisation of language. If there are lectures in Afrikaans, why can’t there be lectures in Xhosa?” – Afrikaans was consciously developed to become an academic language, which took time. Xhosa, as far as I know has not been afforded the same courtesy. Also there are materials available in Afrikaans. This is not a question of colonisation, but an excuse to create an opportunity to “other” a cultural group. We must remember that Afrikaans is the 3rd most spoken Language in South Africa while English only comes up 4th.

    I would say that there could (and should) be lectures in Xhosa, but who will volunteer to take that role and who will build these universities? There are currently lecturers that can teach in English and Afrikaans, let those of other language groups step up to the plate and also be sure that their students are able to express themselves in English, as education in Afrikaans has done. It is wrong to destroy the culture of an Afrikaans University because the people who enrol do not want to study in that language. Why not go to another university? There are plenty good ones.

    “Afrikaans in a university classroom is then just as inappropriate and wasteful as Xhosa.” – this is a sad conclusion and adds to the destructive spirit of racism in our country. Neither languages would be wasteful. It is ironic, but the perception that the English language is superior due to its imagined international preference seems to remain a problem.

    As one who has studied teaching I am grateful that I am not in the field because of this silliness. People have such hatred in their hearts that they want to destroy that which is “other”. It is time that we forge our own paths even if it means setting up new structures to fulfil this desire. I would think that a university for each language group would be a great boon – the more institutions of learning that are available the better things would be!