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Even though I speak nine languages I am quite opposed to multiculturalism, or at least the ideology of multicultualism. The ideology of multiculturalism in Western countries promotes the position that immigrants should hold on to their ancestral culture rather than integrate or assimilate to the culture of the country to which they have emigrated. I think that promoting separation over integration is wrong.

People should be allowed to choose what they want to do. There should be no forced integration but there should also be no official encouragement to stay separate based on ancestry. The premise of multiculturalism is that ancestry, or assumed ancestry, should dictate your culture. This idea has many serious disadvantages.

First of all it works against the development of an inclusive sense of community within the host country. It encourages people to only see their original ethnic community as “their community”. This weakens solidarity in the host society.

Second, multiculturalism suggests that someone of a particular ethnic origin has an obligation to learn his/her ancestral language and culture, even in the second generation. There should be no such obligation. If I want to learn a language not related to my ancestry in preference to the language of my ancestors, that should be a matter of free choice.

There is an inherent contradiction in multiculturalism since the cultures that are promoted as being worthy of preserving are usually themselves the result of cultural blending. If French or Chinese or Moroccan culture is already the results of various cultures blending together, why should this blending process or assimilation in a new country be considered undesirable.

As a linguist I consider that I am free to learn any language and to enjoy any culture. I oppose the bureaucratic imposition of the parents cultural identity on a new generation of citizens. What is the connection to language learning? I will cover that in another post where I will point out that tying ancestry to language is a major obstacle to language learning.

Logic and rhetoric

People who come from a non-Western language background, have a much tougher time learning English. They do not have the Latin and Greek based vocabulary that is common to so many European languages.They have also not been exposed to the Western way of thinking that is behind much of the reading that we all do in school. The origin of the Western way of expressing ideas lies in the classics of ancient Greece and Rome, which have inspired centuries of Western literature and influenced how we express ourselves.

I have found a web site which I would recommend to any person of non-European background as an excellent place to become familiar with the theories of classical rhetoric. Here‘s the link. Spend some time studying this content and the different techniques of conveying ideas and persuading others. I think it will be quite helpful. It is recommended for advanced learners.

Ski trip

I just finished a wonderful week of skiing at Big White near Kelowna in the BC Interior. The climate is a little colder than the coastal range near Vancouver. The snow is light and plentiful. The runs were long and varied. There were steep bowls with fresh powder snow, moguls, long giant slalom type of runs, and skiing through the trees.

I went with my son, daughter-in-law, her mother and our three grandchildren. We stayed in a chalet we rented right on the hill. In fact all the accommodation at Big White is “ski in ski out.”

The temperature varied between minus 5 and 0 Centigrade. We had two days of blue sunshine and three days of variable visibility and snow. But we need the snow so that was all right.

In the evenings my son and I played a high quality of outdoor pick-up hockey on an outdoor rink. We also took the whole family including grandchildren and grandparents for night-time tubing down a groomed tubing hill.

The grandparents had time to spoil their grandchildren and we had lovely meals at our chalet every evening, with plenty of help from all. New Year’s eve we had our champagne and went to bed early in order to be first on the slopes the next day.

I did not have time to think about language learning except when I sat beside some snowboarders from Korea who were studying English in Kelowna.

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