AHC: Banning Regional Dialects

IOTL, numerous states have practiced linguicide, the systematic and deliberate destruction and banning of languages, particularly of those of racial/ethnic minorities.
In countries with one main language but multiple dialects/topolects like the US with General American, AAVE, Chicano English and in the Arab world with MSA and local dialect~languages, is it possible for governments to penalize people for speaking dialects say, Cairene Arabic as a form of “separatist localism”?
 
Colonialism right?
More specifically internal colonialism against populations considered contiguous/assimilable to the state e.g Darija speakers in a Pan-Arab state, with the usual rhetoric of “facilitating communication by illegalizing separatist localisms”
 
That's one way to break up the UK!
Yeah...all others can't do shit and they knew it.

IOTL, numerous states have practiced linguicide, the systematic and deliberate destruction and banning of languages, particularly of those of racial/ethnic minorities.
In countries with one main language but multiple dialects/topolects like the US with General American, AAVE, Chicano English and in the Arab world with MSA and local dialect~languages, is it possible for governments to penalize people for speaking dialects say, Cairene Arabic as a form of “separatist localism”?
You need Nazi Level of control to pull it.
 
This was put into place in France. Allegedly after the 1870 War when it was found that only about 1/3 of the troops could speak French in a universally understandable form. Being a very centralised state the education system was used to promote ‘proper’ French (ie Isle de France) and local patois banned in the schools. Essentially it was very successful in at least giving a common received language across the country. Even if the patois was the local alternative in rural every day speech. In more modern times it aligned with national media in writing, radio, film and television to make one ‘proper’ French the norm.

Someone will doubtless pick on a suppression of Welsh in schools in the past but a search of old records actually showed it was often driven by the parents who saw learning English as a route to social and economic progress for their children.

Without a state campaign what we see across the world is a reduction in local language in favour of the principal language. By changes in society rather than government suppression. Nothing new though. This is why English is universal across England as the Britons both came to use German instead of their own language and then adulterate it with French grammar and vocabulary. It took 400 years to teach the newly arrived French to speak English.
 
This was put into place in France. Allegedly after the 1870 War when it was found that only about 1/3 of the troops could speak French in a universally understandable form. Being a very centralised state the education system was used to promote ‘proper’ French (ie Isle de France) and local patois banned in the schools. Essentially it was very successful in at least giving a common received language across the country. Even if the patois was the local alternative in rural every day speech. In more modern times it aligned with national media in writing, radio, film and television to make one ‘proper’ French the norm.

Someone will doubtless pick on a suppression of Welsh in schools in the past but a search of old records actually showed it was often driven by the parents who saw learning English as a route to social and economic progress for their children.

Without a state campaign what we see across the world is a reduction in local language in favour of the principal language. By changes in society rather than government suppression. Nothing new though. This is why English is universal across England as the Britons both came to use German instead of their own language and then adulterate it with French grammar and vocabulary. It took 400 years to teach the newly arrived French to speak English.
It could be argued that it was almost 900 years before they learned English, as the upper classes across Europe used French as their common language into the early 20th century.
Certainly local variations in speech are less varied than they were when people still went to school locally, worked locally, socialised locally so that not only would regions have dialects, but often towns would too and there would sometimes be local variations within different parts of the same town. People with a good ear for language could distinguish more finely, but even ordinary folk could usually tell roughly which part of town people were from through differences in pronunciation and word use.
Clearly wider availability of TV and radio tends to promote homogeneity, but greater mixing outside your area also has an effect and these are both driven by peer pressure and the need to fit in rather than by compulsion. So maybe TV is king after all.
 
Wasn’t that the intention with the creation of Standard English/ Public School Pronunciation/Received Pronunciation in Britain? To create a single alternative to the regional dialects of English? I don’t think it was truly enforced outside of upper class schools, but it was required in media broadcast for many years.
 
IOTL, numerous states have practiced linguicide, the systematic and deliberate destruction and banning of languages, particularly of those of racial/ethnic minorities.
In countries with one main language but multiple dialects/topolects like the US with General American, AAVE, Chicano English and in the Arab world with MSA and local dialect~languages, is it possible for governments to penalize people for speaking dialects say, Cairene Arabic as a form of “separatist localism”?
I feel the several Arab countries will see their own dialects as being the better ones. Also, you got France, who have managed (partially thanks to a century of the centralized government pushing for one version of French) to basically swallow up the French of Belgium and Switzerland, as well as some parts of French Canada. Quebec still takes pride in their own tongue, though. Really, banning languages is one thing, but for dialects and accents, you simply standardize everything, give people low school grades if they don’t do what you desire, and mock those who don’t use the standardized forms as hicks. I am sure there are equivalent slurs in different languages for those deemed to rural or independent. I wonder if you could get something in Italy with Mussolini, or if that would be seen as an insult to the long histories of each region.
 
The truth is that it's really easy to destroy dialects if they don't have prestige. Just don't teach them in school or use them in official business/the media, and people will think of them as provincial and embarrassing. They won't teach them to their kids and the tongue will die out.
 
Punish and ridicule kids speaking "improperly" in schools-that was quite common in various countries. Add radio and TV and dialects are screwed.
 
I feel the several Arab countries will see their own dialects as being the better ones. Also, you got France, who have managed (partially thanks to a century of the centralized government pushing for one version of French) to basically swallow up the French of Belgium and Switzerland, as well as some parts of French Canada. Quebec still takes pride in their own tongue, though. Really, banning languages is one thing, but for dialects and accents, you simply standardize everything, give people low school grades if they don’t do what you desire, and mock those who don’t use the standardized forms as hicks. I am sure there are equivalent slurs in different languages for those deemed to rural or independent. I wonder if you could get something in Italy with Mussolini, or if that would be seen as an insult to the long histories of each region.
The problem with Italy is that Standard Italian is young. Like, really young. Mid-19th Century young. Most scholars estimate that in 1860 fewer than 10% of Italians could speak or understand it. Even now, in the last census in 2018, ISTAT reported that less than half of all households speak it as the only or primary language of the home. For most of its early history, modern Italy was forced to allow primary teaching in regional languages because even the teachers couldn't speak Standard Italian. Mussolini did try to stamp out regional languages and make everyone speak the national standard, and he did see some success, but the biggest factor in the rise of Standard Italian was actually the mass migration of southerners and north-easterners to the cities of the Industrial Triangle (Milan-Turin-Genoa), which really picked up post war, and the consequent use of Italian as a lingua franca. Consequently, the weakest regional languages in modern Italy are those of the North-West (Lombard, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilian, Romagnol etc.), while the strongest are those of the South and North-East (Sicilian, Neapolitan, Venetan, Friulian etc.)

Meanwhile, what little reading I've done suggests that Arpitan dialects remain reasonably strong in Switzerland, and Québécois French is divergent enough from Parisian that it often gets subtitled on French TV.
This is why English is universal across England as the Britons both came to use German instead of their own language and then adulterate it with French grammar and vocabulary. It took 400 years to teach the newly arrived French to speak English.
That is really not what happened. Old Anglo-Frisian was brought over to what would become England, where it was adopted by local peoples together with much of the culture for reasons we're still not entirely sure of, and this process of being learned by Brythonic speakers who then became the majority had a significant impact on the language (one of the more distinctive features of English grammar, do-support, is characteristic of Celtic languages and likely from a Brythonic substrate). On top of this West Germanic language, there were several strata of loan words, first from Old Norse, then from Norman French, and finally a Latinate-Greek layer from the Renaissance onwards. The grammar did shift, from a synthetic one with a developed system of 4 noun cases and 3 grammatical genders to a more analytical - but still synthetic - grammar with only 3 vestigial cases marked primarily on pronouns, and a system of 3 'natural' genders (meaning that instead of assigning gender to all nouns for grammatical reasons, things are instead assigned masc/fem if they are identifiable as such, while everything else gets neuter or the neutral singular they).
 
The problem with Italy is that Standard Italian is young. Like, really young. Mid-19th Century young. Most scholars estimate that in 1860 fewer than 10% of Italians could speak or understand it. Even now, in the last census in 2018, ISTAT reported that less than half of all households speak it as the only or primary language of the home. For most of its early history, modern Italy was forced to allow primary teaching in regional languages because even the teachers couldn't speak Standard Italian. Mussolini did try to stamp out regional languages and make everyone speak the national standard, and he did see some success, but the biggest factor in the rise of Standard Italian was actually the mass migration of southerners and north-easterners to the cities of the Industrial Triangle (Milan-Turin-Genoa), which really picked up post war, and the consequent use of Italian as a lingua franca. Consequently, the weakest regional languages in modern Italy are those of the North-West (Lombard, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilian, Romagnol etc.), while the strongest are those of the South and North-East (Sicilian, Neapolitan, Venetan, Friulian etc.)

Meanwhile, what little reading I've done suggests that Arpitan dialects remain reasonably strong in Switzerland, and Québécois French is divergent enough from Parisian that it often gets subtitled on French TV.

That is really not what happened. Old Anglo-Frisian was brought over to what would become England, where it was adopted by local peoples together with much of the culture for reasons we're still not entirely sure of, and this process of being learned by Brythonic speakers who then became the majority had a significant impact on the language (one of the more distinctive features of English grammar, do-support, is characteristic of Celtic languages and likely from a Brythonic substrate). On top of this West Germanic language, there were several strata of loan words, first from Old Norse, then from Norman French, and finally a Latinate-Greek layer from the Renaissance onwards. The grammar did shift, from a synthetic one with a developed system of 4 noun cases and 3 grammatical genders to a more analytical - but still synthetic - grammar with only 3 vestigial cases marked primarily on pronouns, and a system of 3 'natural' genders (meaning that instead of assigning gender to all nouns for grammatical reasons, things are instead assigned masc/fem if they are identifiable as such, while everything else gets neuter or the neutral singular they).
I think that is what I said, with less detail.
 
The French Third Republic says hello.
So do the Prussians: The children who were flogged to within an inch of their lives for refusing to pray in German

Perhaps a more modern effort may be Singaporean efforts to stop 'Singlish' getting out of hand.
Wiki:
Due in part to this perception of Singlish as "broken English", the use of Singlish is greatly frowned on by the government. In 2000, the government launched the Speak Good English Movement to eradicate Singlish, although more recent Speak Good English campaigns are conducted with tacit acceptance of Singlish as valid for informal usage. Several current and former Singaporean prime ministers have publicly spoken out against Singlish. However, the prevailing view among contemporary linguists is that, regardless of perceptions that a dialect or language is "better" or "worse" than its counterparts, when dialects and languages are assessed "on purely linguistic grounds, all languages—and all dialects—have equal merit".
 
Public schools have been used for this for generations. It has also been used one those speaking the wrong language. An example from the United States from the 20s or so.

I will not speak French in class. I will not speak French in class.
I will not speak French in class. I will not speak French in class.
I will not speak French in class. I will not speak French in class.
 
I actually experienced firsthand the last part of a cultural suppression of regional and/or city dialects in my native Flanders. Much has been said of Belgians push to establish standard French as the country's universal language, even at the detriment of the Dutch-speaking Population of Flanders and how eventually it misfired. However past WWII there was another wave of pan-Dutchism that aimed to unite all of Flanders (with all of the Netherlands) under a standard Dutch language.

The main force was a standardization of everything Flemish: national grocery supermarket chains replaced the local mom-and-pop stores. Local newspapers consolidated into just a handful of Brussels-based groups, local breweries one after the other were bought up by what is now ABB-Inbev and of course there was only one Flemish radio and TV-network (which was the Flemish subsidiarity of the state-run national Belgian one). Along this came a push to use one standard Dutch Language. THE standard Dutch language already in use in the Netherlands. After all, if Belgium and the Netherlands could only maintain their European presence by grouping up in the BENELUX Union, Flemish for sure must group up with Staaten-Bible Dutch to maintain a cultural significance.

And so it went for a good 25, 30, 35... Even almost 40 years: all major outlets used the standard Dutch, it was thought in schools as the only 'right' way of writing and therefore speaking and increasingly the regional dialects were seen as un-modern: a throwback to the times before supermarkets, plastics, cars or even indoor plumbing. Eventually, given 50 more years, like it had in France and Germany, regional dialects would simply go the way of the milkmen and donkey-carts. A victim of modern times no one really lamented.

Instead, we had the sixties and another aspect of the 1968 counter-culture was a rejection of the excesses of 'modernism' in favor of a more harmonious way of life. Harmonious with nature as well as harmonious with one's history and culture and eventually language. As with everything sixties, it took a slow change as the rebellious generation matured, moved into positions of power and although rejecting half of their previous radical ideas, kept adhering to the other half. But all through the seventies - which was my childhood- it kept growing and by 1980 environmentalism had become a thing, grocery chains reevaluated the idea of suburbian mega-shopping centers in favor of smaller inner-city stores and as far as the language was concerned, recording studios now actively signed singer-songwriters that brought their (literal) folk-songs in their local city dialects. Finally in 1985, when I was 18, the ministry of education dropped it's focus on teaching Netherlands Dutch as the only permittable language in favor of just teaching a common writing language. A development I personally would not even have noticed if not for the fact that at the same time as part of language theory and evolution, my Dutch class was given a two-month course on regional dialects and language research.

So looking back on my own experiences, I would say that suppression of regional language and dialects are cyclical thing: a constant pull between the forces of regionalism an uniformity. A pull between a strong centralized state and a federation of equal, but independent communities. A pull between the ideas of national duty and individual citizens right, between international superstars and local celebrities. Looking back at almost 200 years of Belgian history, it has always been there: first there was the nationalist culture celebrating shared Brussels greatness versus a bourgeoning romanticism celebrating local folklore, history and with it language Then an industrialism wanting to make language as uniform as standard railway gauges versus a rising working-folk movement -socialist as well as Catholic- going up against factory-owners that literally did not understand their worker's complaining. Then after WWI and WWII it was a movement of uniform national rebuilding -one style, one language- versus the 'voices' of the communities that bore most of the suffering and finally postwar, the forces were the 1950's international modernism going up against the 'sixties' emerging 'green' culture.


Currently the regionalists are on the upper hand. We see this in the decline of national megaproject versus the rise of citizens justice movements, declining megamall stores versus rising craft breweries, declining legacy TV channels versus YouTube and yes, more literature and music in local dialects. However not so long ago those shopping malls with their Sears and Macy's stores, those Walter Cronkites, highway city loops and World Trade Centers were seen as the sure way of telling times are good and will be getting only better. Who cares about dead rivers when you got city parks. And likewise who cares about a language no one speaks on TV. And I have the feeling that before too long these times will have a comeback and reginal languages once again will be silenced, if not suppressed. Some of them will even disappear, or just survive in some old sayings, rimes or concept words. But the other languages will find some way to change, adapt and survive,.. until the next cycle comes along.
 
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I saw an article today on an AI intended to remove regional accents from call centre staff. I'm hoping that's by processing their speech patterns on the way to the listener rather than by heavy-handed enforcement [1].
I'm simultaneously horrified at the imposed homogenisation and pleased that accent need not be used as a barrier to employment
I wonder how it handles cases where the dialect includes either dialect-specific words, or use of grammar that is non-standard.
It may be one of those cases where in attempting to please everyone, they end up offending everyone.

[1] tech companies are a bit too recent and a bit too litigious for me to express views on their behaviour in this forum.
 
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