10/18/2008

English is supplanting French as the favorite second language of the Bernese

In sacred-destinations.com:


Bern (or Berne, the official English spelling) is the capital of Switzerland. It is a smallish city with a population of about 130,000, surrounded on three sides by the meandering River Aare. Bern has long been a firmly Protestant city. The main language spoken is Swiss-German. English is supplanting French as the favorite second language of the Bernese (...).

21 comments:

bluesky said...

A great site for ESL students is AIDtoCHILDREN.com.

AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a dual-purpose site for building an English
vocabulary and raising money for under privileged children in the most
impoverished places around the world.

Check it out at http://www.aidtochildren.com

Ronduck said...

God bless the Protestants in Berne.

I believe that France has a religious choice to make: either back to the Catholic monarchy, a Protestant democracy or secular oblivion. Living north of Mexico I believe that if they do choose Catholicism it will be a short road to poverty.

I could be wrong though, I have read that Protestants in France are actually very left wing.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

As an American Catholic, I take offense at ronduck's comments. Berne may be a Protestant city, but why does he assume that the rising use of English has anything to do with religion? The French Swiss are also turning to English to use as lingua franca to converse with their German-speaking countrymen. The real story behind this article is that although the Swiss are reluctant to promote English to the status of official language, it is becoming as important a language in Switzerland as German, French, and Italian.

One last thing, ronduck---before you make any more cracks at my religion, might I point out the Vice-President-elect is also Catholic?

Unfrench Frenchman said...

Indeed it is important not to confuse issues. Economics, religion, culture, language correlate with each other, but they are never totally interdependent either, which is why I take care to focus this blog on language and tend to leave aside related issued such as the decline of religion in France and even the decline of French culture. For it is probable that the French language would continue declining as a global lingua franca even if French culture were flourishing, simply because the worldwide adoption of English in the role of a language of common understanding answers practical needs rather than cultural ones.

This is but one example of the necessity to separate issues, in this case culture and language.

Ronduck said...

I didn't vote for Obama or his Catholic vice president, and I think that they both will bring this country down. Obama has been unwilling to release his long form Birth Certificate showing he is qualified under the constitution to be president as a native born citizen. It's worth noting that White Catholics favored Obama by a slight margin even though he is a supporter of abortion, which if I remember correctly is a violation of Catholic doctrine. The only group to oppose him by a large margin were White Evangelical Protestants. If you go to my blog at ronduck.blogspot.com you will see a post breaking down the vote by religion.

Ronduck said...

Sorry for the off topic post!

Unfrench Frenchman said...

Don't be sorry, this is an interesting topic and you're an valuable contributor to TWDOF. I am happy to see that your blog finally got started.
My take on this is that if you're supporting abortion you can't be a Catholic. Saying you are a Catholic doesn't make you one. Real Catholics didn't vote Obama.

Ronduck said...

Thanks for the compliment, but I never intended to write anything until this election. In all likelyhood the evangelicals will get blamed for the Republican defeat even though they were the only group to vote for him, although I hope I am wrong.

Here in the States the Catholic church usually supports or turns a blind eye to pro-abortion Catholics, instead of excommunicating them. As a practical matter the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is an arm of the US Democratic party, which is rabidly pro-abortion. The most egregious example of this support for the left is the church's refusal to excommunicate the leading supporter of abortion in the United States: Senator Ted Kennedy. Ted has been in office since 1963 and during his time as a warhorse of the left, he has had numerous affairs, supported abortion, stem cell research, and illegal (Catholic) immigration from Mexico. Ted was the main sponsor of the 1965 immigration act that got the United states into its' current dilemma with mass legal immigration. He continues to work to expand the 1965 act and keep it from being repealed. Ted is able to pull this off both because he has constant support from the leftist US media and because the church has squandered any chance to throw him out. As far as I know Ted still receives communion, and he now has a whole flock of imitators.

If you look at my blogpost you'll notice that there is a 27 point gap in support for the right-wing candidate between White Catholics and Evangelicals, which highlights the long term leftism of US Catholics.

The only group that went for McCain was the one most vilified by the US media.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Real Catholics didn't vote Obama.

I did. Don't you DARE call me an unreal Catholic!

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I would like to give a back-handed compliment to ronduck, who acknowledges in his last post who acknowledges the American Catholic Church is diverse, and not every one is going to necessarily vote against a candidate because he's pro-choice. The Church avoids excommunicating pro-choice politicians probably because to do so would invite Congress to reconsider its tax-exempt status.

That being said, I am probably a minority among Catholics who regularly go to Mass each week including Holy Days of Obligation. The Sunday before the election, our associate pastor gave a homily which came as closely as possible to saying "Vote for McCain or go to hell---abortion is the only issue that matters."

Obviously, I disagree.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

One more thing about Switzerland. The Swiss don't have nearly the same problems that Canada and Belgium I believe because the canton system encourages a hands-off approach when it comes to language. The upshot is that German is not shoved down the French or Italians' throats. As a result, they do not feel nearly as threatened as the Quebecois do in Canada.

Although German is the majority language, French has been the lingua franca groups until recently. Now it's shifting to English.

Here are some links:

English in Switzerland: From Foreign Language to Lingua Franca?

English--Fifth Language of Switzerland?

English Language In Switzerland

English

English is the Neutral Language of Switzerland

Ronduck said...

thanks for the Swiss information.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

Edward, first off, thank you so much for the Switzerland links.

Now if you will allow me to return to the Obama topic, I don't know if you are aware that senator Hussain Obama supported letting live abortion victims die from lack of medical assistance in Michigan hospital wards.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I know about his opposition to a ban on partial-birth abortion. I still believe he will be a better President for the country. I do intend to write President-elect Obama about this, although I don't expect him to agree. Abortion is not the only prism through which I see politics.

Ronduck, we're going to have to agree to disagree on religion. I'd like to thank you for not escalating what could have become a bitter, incendiary thread on religion. I don't expect to convert you, nor you should expect to convert me, but I wish you well and hope to see you on these boards.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

"Abortion", "partial-birth abortion", my goodness, Edward, this is all very nicely put, a bit like saying "ethnic cleansing" for "genocide".

Ronduck said...

If you go back and look at my blogpost you will see that White Catholics & White Mainline Protestants voted for Obama. Essentially both groups are high-church, having hierarchies and some degree of ceremony. The low-church Evangelicals are often in churches that are not part of any denomination , or are part of newer denominations such as the Assemblies of God that take a very conservative view of the world. Both high-church groups end up going for liberal candidates, and many are currently ordaining women and homosexuals.

The RCC however takes every liberal position except abortion, leaving it morally exhausted in its' efforts to reconcile the two very different positions. This effort to merge two very different worldviews also causes confusion in the pews as church members take the next step and adopt one more liberal position and support abortion. This watered down faith causes many parishes to go empty as the laity either become Evangelicals or simply take the final step to becoming liberals and stop attending. A few linger on the way Edward does though.

In order to refill its' emptying pews the RCC has become a major cheerleader of open borders with Catholic Mexico, hoping the new illegal immigrants walking across our undefended southern border will either attend mass, or will simply make America culturally Catholic. Ted Kennedy and the rest of his clan have been the major force in the US Senate working towards open borders with Latin America, and the rest of the world - excluding Europe of course.

Here is a good source for a breakdown of the US by religion. The US census does not collect any data on religion, and as such all of the information has to be collected from polls.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

Excellent analysis, Ronduck, but let us not forget to mention groups such as the Society of Saint Pius X when talking about Catholics. Not all Catholics are liberal.

Ronduck said...

I hate to add more fuel to the fire, but if you go to the link I posted in my last comment you will see on the far right of the screen a link to a 143-page report on the religious makeup of the United States. I didn't read the 143 page report but I did download chapter 2 (PDF). Here is a quote from page 2 of chapter 2:

Groups that have experienced a net loss from changes in affiliation include Baptists (net loss of 3.7%) and Methodists (-2.1%). However, the group that has experienced the greatest net loss by far is the RCC. Overall, 31.4% of US adults say that they were raised Catholic. Today only 23.9% of adults identify with the Catholic church a net loss of 7.5%.

How can this decline in the percentage of Catholics be reconciled with the findings from the General Social Surveys discussed in chapter 1 that show that roughly the same proportion of the population is Catholic today as was Catholic in the early 1970's? Part of the answer is that the Catholic church has attracted a good number of converts. But the main answer is immigration. The many people who have left the Catholic church have been replaced, to a great extent, by the large number of Catholic immigrants coming to the US.


I'd like to add that many of those Catholic immigrants are illegal immigrants.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

"the group that has experienced the greatest net loss by far is the RCC."

This is the clear consequence of Vatican II.

Ronduck said...

This is the clear consequence of Vatican II.

I'll agree to that. But the US was from the first colonies to the Great Wave of Catholic immigration in the 1890's an almost 100% Protestant country. The temptation is there for the RCC to Catholicize America by immigration.

My view of the RCC has been shaped both by having an ex-Catholic mother and by living along the Main Invasion Route from Mexico. My personal fear is that the US may lose its border states to Mexico in the next few decades, which would make me a resident of Mexico. I recently read a book called Civil War 2 that predicts that the US will break up into three parts: one Hispanic, one Black and a White northern section. If another civil war breaks out in Mexico millions of Mexicans will probably flood north looking for safety, completing the Hispanicization of the Southwest where I live.

I'm drifting off-topic. If you want to discuss this more leave a comment on my blog, but I'll stick to comments related to France on your blog.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

OK.