The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Language classes in schools should be allowed to use dialects.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,423 times Debate No: 24829
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (22)
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In most places, language classes are taught in the standard variety of a language. In this debate, I will be arguing for the notion that dialects can be used in language classes in schools; in other words, schools should be allowed to teach non-standard dialects.

Definitions (so no semantic arguments):
Dialect - a non-standard variety of a language (regardless of mutual intelligibility). Therefore, Wu, Cantonese, Min Nan, Hakka, etc., are dialects even though they are not mutually intelligible with Putonghua, the standard variety of Chinese; Serbian, Croation and Bosnian are not dialects. For the purpose of this debate, the standard variety is considered a 'standard' and not a 'dialect'.
Language class - a course which teaches students a certain language
School - institutions which provide courses for preschool, primary and secondary education (excluding tertiary education)

First round: Acceptance
Second through fourth round: Arguments and rebuttals
Fifth round: Conclusion
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

I shall now go on with my constructive arguments. I shall present two of them in this round, and save another two for Round Three.

Firstly, not all students are gifted with the ability to learn several their native dialect and the standard language at an early age. Many a child has been deprived of her language abilities because she needs to learn her native dialect, the standard variety of her native dialect, and the international lingua franca, English. In one case, a child who had to learn Cantonese, Putonghua, English and Japanese ended up speaking only baby-talk. (1)

Learning their dialect and the standard simulataneously can confuse children. For example, the characters 隨 and 垂 are pronounced 'sui' and 'chui' in Putonghua, but the consonants are reversed in Cantonese: the two characters are pronounced 'ceoi' and 'seoi' (jyutping) respectively. Influenced by Putonghua, many Cantonese pronounce 隋 as 'seoi' and 垂 as 'ceoi'. (2)

My city was returned to Chinese rule 15 years ago, and unlike the Mainland and Taiwan, no efforts have been made to replace Cantonese with Putonghua completely. Schools are encouraged, but not obliged, to use Putonghua during language lessons. There is certainly more Putonghua than during the colonial era, but calls for complete replacement are not loud. This is because many schools which teach Putonghua in Chinese lessons have less time to teach written Chinese because of the extra burden to teach pinyin. (3) This is not good for weaker students as their learning may be hindered, not enhanced, by Putonghua.

Secondly, the language skills of teachers and teaching resources for the standard variety may not be up to scratch. For example, one author wrote that when he was in school, some teachers spoke incomprehensible Putonghua during the lessons. (1) In Hong Kong, in the years following the handover, Putonghua teachers were trained, but some teachers were so weak in Putonghua that they had to rely on recordings to teach. (4) If children are taught an incomprehensible version of the standard variety since they were little children, how would they truly master the language when they grow up?



I thank my opponent for opening his case.

My opponent claim that learning to many languages while at the same time having to discern between your native and the standard dialect can be mentally straining upon small children. If this was true then he would have made a great argument for my chase, which is that there is no room for none-standard dialects in language classes. Alas this is not true and to prove it I shall take you from China to Greenland.

Greenland is separated into three very different areas. Eastern, western and northern Greenland. Each area have a dialect and none of the dialects are mutually intelligible with each other. Western Greenland is much more populated, urbanized and in all ways richer than the rest of the country and so western Greenlandic, also known as Kalaallisoorneq, have become the standard dialect of Greenland.
One of the great problems in north and eastern Greenland is schooling. It is hard to get teachers to move out there and it is even harder to keep them. It is often impossible to get to the nearest school during winter and many teachers who work there do so only as part of a rotation. Now one would expect the people of northern and eastern Greenland to be worse of in school than their western counterparts and that is also what the yearly test results points to. North and eastern greenlanders are slightly below average in most subjects, two exceptions being oral Greenlandic and English. In the average oral English test north and eastern greenlandics score almost a grade more than their western counter parts. When it comes to Greenlandic the difference is smaller, but this is an examination in Kalaallisoorneq, the native dialect of the western and still they get outperformed by the more rural north and east greenlanders.(1) Having worked as a teacher in Greenland it is also my experience that people from eastern Greenland is far better in linguistics than their western counter parts. This may seem counter intuitive, but American and international studies show that there are great benefits from learning secondary languages in an early age(2) and I will argue that learning a standard dialect that is not mutually intelligible with your native dialect is the same as learning a new language.

My opponents second argument is that if you have been exposed to an incomprehensible version of the standard variety at an early age, then you can never hope to master it. Here my opponent and I agree on one thing. The importance of mastering the standard dialect and studies shows that the earlier your exposed to a new language the better you well become in it(2). That the teachers in this example are very bad at the standard dialect, because they where exposed to it late in life just shows my point. Instead of changing what languages the kids are taught the schools should instead get better teachers.

A problem many nations have is that citizens don't always identify them self with each other or the country. This can in extreme situations lead to civil war or that a country break up in smaller units. There is a number of ways to create a common identity, such as public debat and common stories. A good example is America where many people partly identify them self with their ancestors and where you have certain areas where people of certain backgrounds band together. Many Asians live in Chinatown and many people are able to tell what country their ancestors came from before they moved to America. The reason America isn't more split than it is, is because they all aspire to the same common goal "The American Dream", all people see the same television, all people see the same Hollywood movies, but this can only happen because all people speak the same language(3). So as a nation it is important that all students are taught the same standard dialect, so that they can build a common identity no matter how diverse the country is.

The full data set can be found on


Debate Round No. 2


Firstly, I do not believe the teaching of dialects in language classes conflicts with the implementation of a standard. In Hong Kong, most schools teach Chinese in Cantonese, but have a separate Putonghua subject. Although the quality of the Putonghua lessons is debatable because of the weight, or lack thereof, allocated, it shows that dialects and the standard can be taught simultaneously.

My opponent mentioned that children who were raised to speak both the standard and their native dialect have a linguistic edge over those who don't. I agree with my opponent that there is no doubt as to the benefits which learning the standard variety of a language can bring to many or perhaps most children. However, let us not forget that not all children are gifted with the ability to learn their native dialect and the standard simultaneously. What may be a blessing for some, or most, children can be a curse to others. Many less able children and children with learning problems cannot express themselves in their native dialect, let alone the standard variety.

It is necessary to bear in mind that not all children are successful in their learning of the standard variety of their language. In primary school, I learnt Chinese in Putonghua. I had no problems with it, nor did many other students; however, some were incapable even of basic pinyin after six years of constant immersion.

It is also important to remember that one's language proficiency in her native dialect deteriorates if she does not formally study her native dialect. A Swedish study shows that bilingual children in Iran did better at school in the beginning, but as they aged, monolingual children overtook the bilingual ones. One of the reasons suggested was that the language which the bilingual children used at home was not used in school, leading to imbalance between the two languages. The children get worse in their native language. (1) If schools cannot teach non-standard dialects, the same situation would occur.

I concede the invalidity of my second argument.

My opponent also mentioned that the standard language can help build national identity in their citizens. However, the bonds between different people of a country are usually tied ethnically rather than linguistically. For example, the USSR relocated some Koreans in the Russian Far East to Kazakhstan in 1937 and banned the Korean language. Most of these Koreans still identify themselves as Korean even though they do not speak the language. (2) Before the Communist revolution, most non-Northern people in China did not speak the standard variety of Chinese (known by the obsolete term of 'Guoyu' at the time). For example, Liang Qichao's Putonghua was notoriously Cantonese-like. However, this did nothing to prevent the nationalism that arose in China from 1842-1942, which had roots from anti-imperialism.

The United States differ from most countries in that the population is composed of people from Europe; they are not natives of America, but European settlers, at the beginning, leading to a greater ethnic diversity, hence the need of a common language to unify them.

In fact, pushing the standard language too much can divide the people of a country instead of unifying them. For example, when false rumours spread of the Guangzhou government's intention to abolish Cantonese television channels, many complained that the government was attempting to oppress the Cantonese dialect. This did little to increase harmony in society. Since then, every pro-Putonghua move in Hong Kong has been labelled as anti-Cantonese. (3) This has had, and continues to have, a very negative impact on the relationships between the people of Hong Kong and the Mainland.

That also brings me to my third argument: that it is important that the dialects be preserved for the sake of cultural diversity and the preservation of culture. In the above and in Round 2, I have explained how the lack of education about non-standard dialects can have a negative effect on the language proficiency of such dialects. If fewer and fewer people are proficient in a non-standard dialect and the overall level of proficiency among the speakers of that dialect drops, it is only a matter of time before the dialect becomes threatened or even extinct. (4) How would that affect the cultural diversity of a country? Moreover, the preservation of a dialect can assist the study of linguistics and history. Many Southern Chinese dialects are more phonetically conservative than Putonghua is. If they are lost, the reconstruction of older varieties of Chinese would be more difficult. The common phonetic radicals between certain characters would lose their meaning. Some poetry would stop rhyming.

The reduction in the number of speakers and the overall level of proficiency also discourages the regulation of dialects. The lack of regulation leads to excessive evolution, and the standard variety may influence the dialects excessively. This may cause the rise of even more dialects.

Moreover, while the 'Cantonese oppression' mentioned above was no more than paranoia, what if a standard were really used to oppress the speakers of dialects? What if Hitler had invaded all the Germanic countries, declared the Germanic languages dialects of German, and banned the teaching of Germanic languages (except German) in schools?

Finally, I would like to ask my opponent a question. Do northern and eastern Greenlanders do better or worse in written Greenlandic?



My opponent ask me how well North and Eastern Greenlanders do in written Greenlandic and English, compared to their counterparts, so I repeat what I said in my first argument. Because of the problems conserning teachers and schools in Eastern and Northen Greenland, they underperform in almost all tests except oral English and Greenlandic. Written languages being no exeption.

My opponent argues that most countries are tied together ethnically and I agree, because an ethnical group is a group of people who are tied together by language, religion, race or other common values, such as living in the same country.(1)
My opponent will have you belive that language is of little importance compared to the other elements and that America is just an abonormality, but I can find many other countries, such as Brazil where people have different race and religion, but is united by a common language.
I would instead argue that it is much easier to unit a country by common language than by religion or race. You can get a common language by simple education where to get a common religion or race you will more often than not have to take more radical actions.

My opponent then and points to German and Germany. What if Germany had conquered all germanic countries and made German the only legally taught germanic dialect? Well that was pretty much what happened, just without all the conquering. What we know today as German was earlier known as Hochdeutch or Standardgerman. Germany used to be a very splinttered nation with many different kingdoms, dukedoms and free cities, each with its regional dialects of which many where not mutually intelligible to each other. At the end of the 19th century Standardgerman was invented. Standardgerman was then first taught as a second language, but latter you would no longer learned your regional dialect in school and only Standardgerman was taught.(2) Giving us the Germany of today where all people understand each other. My opponent argues that pushing a standard language to much can divide a nation. I do not disagree. It just shows the power of language. The goal should still be to have only the standard dialect in language classes. How fast you can reach that goal, of course, depends on more pragmatic things such as the number of teachers able to teach the language and the mode of the people, but countries such as Germany and America have shown that it can be done and that it is something to aim for.

Now my opponent point to the people with learning disabilities. People who for different reasons have problem learning one let alone multiple languages. Of course people with learning disabilities should get extra help, but if they can only hope to learn a single language then it should be that countries standard dialect. What would be better to learn for a swede in Germany? Swedish or German? Would you preffere a child who grew up in Chinatown in New York learned Mandarin over American? No, because a regional dialect or language is less usefull than a countries standard dialect or language. So if a person can only learn one dialect, then it should be the standard dialect and there for you should not have local dialects in language classes.

My opponent point to a swedish study that counter acts the studies I have brought up about the positiv effects of being bilingual and we could now start to argue about quantity and quality of the studies, but I will instead point to my arguments above. Being able to talk the standard language is more important than the local language and our long term goal should be that the local language and standard language become the same, so the bilingual situation is only temporary.

Now my opponents last argument for keeping the local dialect in the schools is that they may else die out, leaving only the standard dialect, and that this would be a cultural and scientific lose.
The scientific lose may be very true if the local dialect disappeared from one day to another, but as said before it is a slow procces and it will be easy for scientists and linguistics to record and preserve the language for thousands of years. Helping not only research today, but also help latter researches to understand our current time. Like latin still helps us to understand the classic age.
The cultural loses should be taken much more seriuse, but I will here argue that truely great works surviev and transend their language. We still read Cicero and Platon even though their original languages have been dead for quit a long time. Now neither of them where poets, but the Poetic Edda, one of my favorit books, is still around and have inspirede many writters up through history even though few people today speaks Norr��nt M��l. Shakespear also seems like a good example even though the dialect of English he spoke is old, his works still lives on or Goethe who wrote his books before the introduction of Standard German. It doesn't matter what language a great tinker writtes in, his work will surviev his language and as such we should not fear a lose of cultur or cultural diversity.


Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for answering my question. Now, please allow me to ask another question: Do you think that if the less capable students from Eastern and Northern Greenland were to learn their own dialect instead of the standard dialect in school, they would have done better in written Greenlandic?

My opponent mentioned that it is easier to create a common identity by language than by religion or race. I agree with that. However, when unity is very difficult to accomplish, is it worth accomplishing at all? When two groups of people simply cannot blend, why forcefully and artificially unify them with a common language? Why not instead let them each mind their own business?

If unity is so important, why not unify the world? Why not abolish all the current languages and replace them with Esperanto? That would certainly unify the Global Village and enable communication.

From another perspective, if a race is to unite, the people can do so with minimal interference. The Chinese civilisation (Zhonghua Minzu) is composed of fifty-six races, including the Han Chinese and the other fifty-five, such as the Manchu, the Mongolians, the Weiwu'er (Uyghur), the Hui, the Zang, the Zhuang... The Qing Dynasty deliberately divided the Chinese in various ways, including through language policies. For example, Mongolians in China were not allowed to learn Chinese. However, all fifty-six races are now unified as the Zhonghua Minzu. Despite the differences in language and religion, the descendants of Huangdi and Yandi do not fight each other; every man and woman works together towards a peaceful, unified, modern China.

My opponent has told the story of the German language and showed how it has unified the people of Germany. This is not what I meant. The introduction of Standardgerman was to unify a country, but a standard language can also be used for less benevolent purposes. Let us imagine that Hitler conquers the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Iceland and Britain. He then declares English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Luxembourgish, Icelandic and other Germanic languages to be dialects of German and bans their teaching in schools. His purpose is, of course, to stifle the national consciousness of the people of these countries. Would that be a good thing?

My opponent has refuted my argument that children with learning disabilities cannot learn the standard language by arguing that they should learn the standard language because it is more important than their native dialect. However, is it more important that they are able to talk to their parents and grandparents, who may not have received enough education to understand the standard?

My opponent also argued that culture can be preserved through great works which survive despite the extinction of that dialect. However, culture is more than that. Culture is 'the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations'. (1) Even within a country, values and customs can vary greatly. A language or dialect reflects, if you will, exactly that.

Chinese, for example, differs from Indo-European languages in that morphology is almost absent in the language. In fact, that which one calls 'grammar' in an IE language is nearly non-existent in Chinese. This reflects the key differences between Chinese and Greco-Roman philosophy. Ancient Chinese philosophy focused on morals, what is right and what is not. The systematic way of thinking for which Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato are famed is not found in ancient Chinese philosophy (with the exception of the School of Names, which, unfortunately, never gained much attention). Similarly, the systematic grammar which Indo-European languages share is not found in Chinese.

The way by which culture is reflected by a language's vocabulary and idioms is even more obvious. An oft-cited example is that it is common in Chinese to greet someone by asking the person if she has eaten rice. This not only shows the dominance of rice in China, but also how Chinese people prefer asking personal questions to show that they care, while speakers of English prefer to keep such information private. (2)

While the examples I mentioned above are clearly about languages, this type of reflection also occurs in dialects, albeit more subtly and in a smaller scale. For example, the humongous number of English loanwords in Hong Kong Cantonese (which is otherwise almost identical to Guangzhou Cantonese) shows the impact left behind by the colonists.

I am sure that my opponent, as a speaker of at least two languages, understands how it is sometimes difficult to express an idea in one language, while it is easy to do so in another. The extinction of a dialect removes the culture engraved and encoded in it. When a dialect is gone, it loses its vibrancy; documentation by linguists merely creates a specimen of the dialect like a museum exhibit which shows the reconstruction of a dodo.

That brings us again to diversity. History shows us that diversity, not uniformity, accelerates social progression. During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, China was divided into many states, each ruled by a powerful lord that often did not listen to the commands of the king in Luoyi. It was during this time that China was the most separated, yet it was also at this time that philosophy was at its peak. The next two thousand years was built upon this foundation. Speakers of each language and dialect have something from which others can learn. It would be most unfortunate if we lost these dialects for the implementation of a standard.

In fact, it is often anticonstitutional to wipe out a dialect in order to promote the standard. The Chinese Constitution, for example states that 'the people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own ways and customs.'

Finally, let me repeat a point I have mentioned before: the preservation of dialects does not conflict with the implementation of a standard. Linguistic diversity and a common language are not mutually exclusive.



I thank my opponent for his many questions and I shall try to give him a satisfying answer to each and every one of them.

My opponent ask if I believe that the students from North and East Greenland would have done better if they where taught their own dialect instead of Kalaallisoorneq. I can honestly say that I do not. With all the problems facing the students in North and East Greenland, I find it amazing that they are ahead of the rest of Greenland in oral Kalaallisoorneq and, on a scale from 0 to 13, is only 0.07 point behind in written Kalaallisoorneq.(1)

My opponent also ask why we don't unify the world and get a world language. I would here like to point out that he is from China, I am from Denmark and we are having a discussion on a public forum in English. The language he have already admitted is the international lingua franca.

My opponents third, but not last question goes to Hitler. If Hitler had conquered all Germanic countries and tried to unit them through a single language, would that have been good or bad? The problem here is that this is a very vague and historical contradicting question. Hitler did conquered many Germanic nations, but instead of uniting mainly through linguistic unity, he tried to unit them through racial purity. This leads to holocaust and is the entire basis for why Hitler is still so hated. Personally I would have preferred if Hitler had tried to force Danes to speak German instead of killing Jews.

My opponents last question is why we artificial try to keep and blend people together. I believe that there is a large number of reasons for this, but the most important is size and war.
It is hard to run a small country. Let me bring up East Greenland as an example. It is a huge area, bigger than Germany, Italy and French combined, but they have only 3500 citizens.(2) 3500 citizens that need medicare, standard, high school and college education. It would be hard to run a college that small if it had to offer more than only a handful of courses.
The other reason as I said before is war. When different people in the same nation starts to feel alienated to each other, they rarely separated peacefully. Just look at what happened when the southern states tried to leave USA, Chechnya tried to leave Russia and Tibet tried to leave China. Alienation within a nation all to often end in bloodshed or civil war.

My opponent argues that learning disabled, who can for some reason only learn one language, should primarily learn their local dialect. How else can they talk with their parents or grandparents who might not have learned the standard dialect, but here he is missing two important things.
First. I argue that all should first and foremost learn the standard dialect. It doesn't matter if they are sons, daughters, wife, husband, mother or grandfather. All should learn it so you can always expect everybody to speak it.
Two. What if the grandparents live in a region where they speak a local dialect not mutually intelligible with the local dialect where the student in question live. The grandparents also speaks the standard dialect, as everybody else, but it doesn't help them as the student in question only learned his own dialect. People move from area to area and unless the entire family speak the same standard language they will always be at risk of not understanding each other.

Now my opponent tells us how united across race and language all the different people of China is, but remember his 'Cantonese oppression' from round 3 where a small rumor about possible linguistic oppression have an extremely negative impact on society. In my opponents own word: "This has had, and continues to have, a very negative impact on the relationships between the people of Hong Kong and the Mainland." If China is as united as my opponent say, then this just show why a common language is so important to keep good internal relationship.

My very insightful opponent is right when he presume that I speak at least a couple of languages and I also agree when he say that different concepts are more easily explained in one language than in others. Danish have some very unique words to describe social structures and positive feelings, while Kalaallisoorneq is very good at explaining where and how big a lake is. This also shows that one can access and use the special properties of a language even though it is your secondary language. That is one of the reasons Latin live on vibrantly for 1400 years after the fall of the Latin empire, with works being publicised hundreds, if no thousand years after it became a dead language(3). Hardly what I would call a museums Dodo.

The standard dialect should, in the name of unity, replace the local dialect as first language. That doesn't mean that the current dialect will just disappear. People in north and eastern Greenland still talk their own dialect. Even though Scotland was conquered by England hundred years ago, some people there still speaks Gaelic. The local dialect will disappear in a natural procces that can take hundred of years, much in the same way that old English, became middle English and latter modern English. There is no sudden shift that makes it impossible to transmit the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior to succeeding generations, which, by my opponents definition, is culture and as such there should be no lose in culture.

Now my opponent wants us to believe that diversity accelerate social progression, but how does he then explain that the very uniform Scandinavian countries are in the top of social progression(4). Iceland is number five on the list. It is a small country where most people can track their ancestors back to the first settlers who arrived in the 9th century, extremely uniform and still in the top five. I would go as far as to say that it seems like uniformity and unity accelerate social progression.

Now my opponent claim that it is often unconstitutional to wipe out a dialect in order to promote the standard and he then points to the Chinese constitution, that say 'the people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own ways and customs.'
But nothing I propose goes against this. I'm not talking about banning a dialect or language. People will still have the freedom to chose to talk and write the language they want to. They will just not learn or use it in language classes in public schools.




Debate Round No. 4


I thank my opponent for answering my questions in Round 4. I will briefly respond to the responses, and then proceed to my conclusion.

My opponent has responded to my 'world unification' question by stating that English is already the international lingua franca. In fact, the international status of English and the replacement of dialects with a standard are not analogous. English is taught in schools as a second language in most non-Anglophone places. It does not replace any existing language. However, my opponent is arguing that, for unity's sake, a standard should replace the local dialect and the local dialects should not be taught in schools. My Esperanto analogy was that Esperanto replace all the current languages in schools for global unity.

My opponent also responded to my Hitler question by saying that Hitler perpetrated the Holocaust instead of forcing people to learn German, and the latter would have been preferable to the former. I would like to clarify that this is only a what-if situation and I was only using Hitler to represent a totalitarian and expansionist dictator. Therefore, my imaginary situation is not related to the actual historical events. Moreover, just because something is a lesser evil than another does not mean that it should be done, unless it is a necessary evil, which it isn't.

My opponent also responded to my doubts about the necessity of forceful unification by pointing to two reasons, size and war. I would like to say that I am not against unity; I am only against the forceful unification of people against their wishes.

My opponent argues that the size of a country limits its development, so unity is important, and cites East Greenland as an example.I would argue that even if the East Greenlanders, for some reason, would not identify themselves as Greenlandic for they were allowed to learn their dialect in school, the Danish government would still be able to aid Greenland financially.

My opponent also argues that the lack of unity could lead to war, and cites several examples. In the US's case, the secession was caused by the American Civil War, not dialects. In Xizang's case, the riots were caused by Zang extremists. Putonghua is also spoken in Xizang as a second language; most people in major Zang cities speak Putonghua well. (1) In Chechknya's case, I would like to point out that 73.4% of the Chechens spoke fluent Russian in 1989, a few years before the war. (2) Moreover, when one ethnic group of people go to war against another, the main reason is usually oppression and not alienation; South Sudan is an example. In fact, the Qing Dynasty was kind to all Chinese ethnic groups, even though they practised segregation, and that's how they managed to achieve stability up until 1839.

My opponent also argued that the learning disabled should first and foremost learn the standard variety of the language. I would argue that it is the inherent right of any person to learn the native tongue of her parents to inherit their heritage. The right to learn this dialect should be above any other dialects or languages, regardless of their importance. My opponent also argued that everyone should speak the standard anyway, so communication would not be a problem. I would like to remind my opponent that not all people could receive education in the past. If you travel around the rural parts of China, I'm sure you will find older people who do not speak Putonghua because education was not available during their childhood.

My opponent cited the 'Cantonese oppression' incident as an example of the importance of a common language. I would like to remind my opponent that this incident was caused by a rumour that the common language would replace the local dialect.

My opponent then mentioned that it was possible to access the special features of a language even after it has died. My opponent then cited Latin as an example. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin has only been used as a lingua franca and to study Ancient Rome. It is no longer a living language that is representative of a group of people and their culture. Furthermore, Latin is the language of an empire which has once conquered nearly all of the known world. In contrast, dialects are less influential and many lack documentation.

My opponent also mentioned that the local culture can be transmitted to the standard dialect because disappearance is a long process. However, endangered dialects do not have this luxury. Plus, a lot of things cannot be transferred to the standard. For example, how is it possible to transfer the different grammatical structure of Cantonese into Putonghua? How can the checked tone be transmitted to Putonghua? Even a dialect's vocabulary and idioms can be barred from entering the standard language. For example, it would be very awkward to assimilate the Cantonese phrase '識少少,扮代表' (to know little but pretend to be a representative) into Putonghua, in particular the 'representative' part. Even if a calque is invented, the resulting phrase probably wouldn't rhyme.

If such elements do manage to be transmitted to the standard dialect, then I'm afraid that is establishing a new dialect based on the standard, just as Manchu phonetically shaped the Beijing dialect into a different dialect altogether.

My opponent also mentioned that Nordic countries, which are very uniform, come on top when it comes to social progression. Indeed, the Nordic countries rank among the top ten on nearly every positive attribute studied. However, I would argue that with the advent of globalisation and the Information Age, uniformity within a country can be compensated by communication with the outside world, lowering the importance of diversity. Yes, I am conceding that linguistic diversity is not necessary important for social progression. However, I would argue that social stability, not uniformity, is the main driving force behind Scandinavia's success. Nordic countries have mature political systems and the economic policies are neither too capitalist nor too communist. On the contrary, the United States are very uniform, but they are not very progressive. It is also worth noting that the death of a dialect leads to a decline of the cultural diversity on a global scale, which affect humanity's progression as a whole.

Finally, my opponent reminded me that he was not suggesting banning the dialects, merely banning their teaching in schools. However, I would argue that while the legal status of banning dialects in schools may be unchallenged, leaving them to die is against the spirit of the constitution, just as it was legal, but not moral, to leave Yue Yue to die.

I will now proceed to my conclusion.

In the haunting dystopic novel 1984, Orwell described a world in which language was replaced by 'Newspeak'. I am sure no one wants that to happen. Unfortunately, if we eradicate dialects to push the standard, this is what we'll get: complete homogeneity, only intralingually instead of interlingually.

I am not against standards. It is necessary for people within a country to be able to communicate, and a standard language is the best way to do that. However, it is enough for the standard to retain its lingua franca status. The promotion of the dialect should not conflict with the teaching and preservation of dialects, or a plethora consequences will follow. The dialects will decline in the number of speakers, the level of proficiency will drop, and eventually, the dialect will disappear.

The cultural diversity maintained by linguistic diversity is important, both for scientific research and society as a whole. The standard language should continue to be taught in schools to act a channel for communication, but the dialects should remain as well, or the consequences will be... doubleplusungood.

I thank my opponent for the interesting debate and I look forward to another if possible.

(2) Chechnya and Tatarstan by Valentin Mikhailov (P.53).


I thank my opponent for letting me end the debate, but I will also point out that by his own rules round 5 where only meant for conclusions.

My conclusion will be short.

I will point out that local dialects die naturally all the time. It is a natural process and I only argue that we don't keep local dialects artificial alive by teaching them in language classes. By taking the long view we will also be able to prevent all the short lived negative effects my opponent have brought into the case. Children who learn the standard dialect will still be able to talk to the parents and grandparents, because they should all have learned if as second language before we make it first language.

For the end I will point out that in round 3 we came to agreement that a common language helps unify a country.

In round 4 and 5 we agreed that when a nations lack unity it creates social instability, which may end in civil war or other tragedies.

In the last round my opponent point to social stability as the main reason behind Scandinavian success and their social progression.

This doesn't mean that a common language will bring social progression or prevent all civil wars, but it points to the fact that a common language is something to strive for.

I will also thank my opponent for the debate. It is always fun to debate people who come from a culture so unlike ones own.
Debate Round No. 5
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 4 years ago
I thought this was a troll debate. ^.^
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 6 years ago
For the purpose of fairness, I ask that the voters do not take my responses in Round 5 into account when voting. Thanks.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 6 years ago
For the purpose of fairness, I ask that the voters do not take my responses in Round 5 into account when voting. Thanks.
Posted by OllerupMand 6 years ago
A small source explanation. Inerisaavik is the only university in greenland and each year they gather all grades from the final tests in Greenland.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 6 years ago
It's actually a news report, but I couldn't find the original.
Posted by OllerupMand 6 years ago
Did you just a message board as a source?

Well as you have brought in non-English references I doubt you have a problem with me doing the same ^^
Posted by wiploc 6 years ago
Correction: @DC.
Posted by wiploc 6 years ago

I can't send you a PM, but thanks for the complement that you sent to me.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 6 years ago
My username means 'villager of the Global Village' in Chinese, The Orator. No, I don't think it's appropriate to introduce a new dialect for the SAT. I'll explain my opinions more clearly in the arguments. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but I'll have the first argument done by tomorrow.
Posted by TheOrator 6 years ago
The language that Americans use
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by igaryoak 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ultimately had the more convincing arguments.