amendment #2

with a firm grasp on the dogma’s tail
you continue to trip and flail

withering on the vine
your temperament is anything but fine

keep losing another day after week
your horrid morals are so painfully bleak

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The recent immigration debate

I tend to steer clear of the more divisive political debates, because, who needs the aggravation of it. Right? Well, I was listening to a program on NPR recently and they played a clip of someone saying something like ‘there is a cultural shift in this country, we used to speak English, and we’re becoming bilingual…’ This irked me. As someone who loves linguistics and languages in general, it struck me as odd that language would be such a motivating factor for anti-immigration. I quickly realized that the language issue was likely just a huge fig leaf for what amounts to racism and bigotry. I was right. I decided to investigate. How language dominance has changed in the US over the years. If all we compare is German and Spanish speakers, we get a clearer picture of the debate as being racist fodder that ignores facts.

1910 German Speakers 3,962,624 > 1970 German Speakers 1,201,535
1910 Spanish Speakers 258,131 > 1970 Spanish Speakers 1,696,240

from: census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/tab06.html

What this very basic comparison shows us is that German immigration fell by well more than half, and that Spanish speakers have increased by almost 7 times. What these numbers gloss over is that much of the nineteenth century was spent bringing in new states to the Union which had previously belonged to Spain, and, you guessed it, were predominantly Spanish-speaking. As late as 1850 California had an official government translator for translating all state laws, decrees, documents, or orders into Spanish.1

This image, from WWII era, is warning against speaking German, Japanese, and Italian. Nothing on there about the horrors of Spanish speakers, or how the country is experiencing a cultural shift. In fact, until WWI, German was the second most widely spoken language in the United States. Its decline is directly related to the War, and a backlash against immigrants. 2 So, those numbers above were not the result of fewer Germans wanting to immigrate, or more Spanish speakers wanting to, they were the result of geopolitical shifts that were happening at a macro level and are consistent with trends throughout history.

I’m not concerned with people who want to have a healthy debate about what immigration policy should be, or how it should be enforced, in fact, the debate is good for democracy, and can strengthen our institutions, but when the debate is had, let it be on facts, not some clearly misinformed nonsense that seems to hint that the US was hatched on July 4th 1776 as some fully-formed White, Christian nation of 50 gun-toting, god-fearing, fried turkey-eating states, because it simply wasn’t so.

Of course, all of this quietly ignores the uncomfortable truth that indigenous languages which once were spoken from coast-to-coast are now either dead, dying, or relegated to a few small communities that live in poverty and/or cultural obscurity. The debate will continue, with or without my contribution, but clarity is key if we are to accept that the changes we are seeing as inevitable and simply another chapter of our collective history.

1) Martin, Daniel W. (2006). Henke’s California Law Guide (8th ed.). Newark: Matthew Bender & Co. pp. 45–46. ISBN 08205-7595-X

2) “The War on German Language and Culture, 1917-1925 by Paul Finkelman

Omyatloko

I have begun a revision of omyatloko. It’s not ambitious, but I’m simplifying the majority of glyphs and using a new radical schema to order and keep track of them.

Stay tuned for updates.

Moya Calligraphy

omyatloko written in moya

UDHR in Amal

Intun hurum ta yinum songiyimha atebimha. Aklu ta korebwa daqeshbum ta peniyak deshiyu neshum edegurum.

AG-all be.free-3pl CONJ be.equal-3pl dignity-ADJ-PL-COM right-PL-COM | reason-ACC CONJ conscience-ACC give-PP-3pl CONJ thought-ADJ-COM brother-ADJ-ACC should-3pl do-REFL-TENT-3pl

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Amal grammar link.

Kamiya

Been working on this for Amal:

The full alphabet

vowels and vowel marks


Vowels are not usually written within words. /e/ has no mark and is only written when it begins or ends words. /o/ has no full form and is written over /u/ when it begins or ends words.

ligatures

Comparison with Semitic abjads.

sample

amaha

I have reached a point.

Not a point of no return, but rather one of contemplation. I have realized that my efforts with Kala are sporadic and ill-organized. I will be greatly reducing my posts on this blog. In fact, it may be a long while between any posts henceforth. I am somewhat unsure that Kala is becoming (or has become) what I’d intended when I started. In fact, conlanging has, for me, lost much of its wonder and joy and has instead begun to feel somewhat like a chore.

I thank anyone that reads this for your companionship on this journey.

That being said, I do intend to post, albeit much less frequently.