Organised comrades in non-Anglophone countries, how common is it for events and assemblies to happen in English or another lingua franca?

Submitted by md_ in AskRaddle

You don't have to mention regions and languages if you don't want to give this info out, but it would be interesting to hear.

Where I am, English is a non-native lingua franca among the Greek and Turkish linguistic communities, so a lot of progressive political organising, if it doesn't want to be ethnicity-specific, happens in English. As a bonus, people who just moved to the region and want to be involved, can do it before spending years to learn at least one of the two main local languages to a high enough level to be able to join political activities.

So lately I have been wondering, if I ever have to be abroad for a non-trivial amount of time, how different the language barriers are there going to be. Hence the question.


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AudibleAnarchist wrote

Usually when there is supposed to be cooperation between two ethnic groups which do not want to use the other's language.


md_ OP wrote

So in your region, you see that people don't want to use one or the other language, and it's not just because bilingual education wasn't available to them?


AudibleAnarchist wrote

They have bilingual education, it's just that holding the assembly in one of the languages is seen as a concession and neither side wants to concede. English sidesteps this issue.


md_ OP wrote

Thanks for elaborating. That's one way circumstances can be different. Over here, practically everyone in the milieu wishes to be bilingual, but the opportunities to do that early in life didn't exist, and using the "other" language is something they desire to be able do.

How common is participation in assemblies/organising by people who recently arrived in the region and don't speak the local languages?


AudibleAnarchist wrote (edited )

In my region in particular there is very little participation by the local population. Most assemblies/organizations are started by international/foreign parties. Locals not see them as legitimate and don't try to participate.

An example would be a friend of mine from the US and local nonprofit tried to set up a meeting with teachers and people from the Ministry of Education. The intention was to improve English education with a focus on education economically vulnerable people. None of the teachers who were invited showed up and the ministry sent a single secretary. In the few occasions where a meeting is set up there are only a few speeches made in broken english or broken other language. And then the different groups go to their own corners.

Something that is very apparent is that the willingness to learn a new language is greater in groups that are not dominant. The majority group is much less likely to know the other languages that members of the various minorities.