Saturday Commentary and Review #73
#BLM's Murky Finances, Syria's Devastated Christians, Chinese Overtures to the Kurds?, Whoopi Fucks Up Big Time, New Multicultural English Dialect Being Born in London
In the not-too-distant past, ordinary people could be forgiven for assuming that NGOs were grassroots organizations that worked for the interests of the common people, wholly separate from the powers-that-be. Think along the lines of community initiatives to block the building of a nuclear reactor too close to suburban neighbourhoods, or movements to stop the expansion of airports that seek to add additional runways. Like any real issues, there are two sides to them, and the question becomes one of vested interests vs. community pushback, where the latter are forced to organize from the ground up and act as a pressure group as they are not in a position of power. Grassroots NGOs are how the powerless organize to either defend themselves or to seek perceived positive change. Those were much more innocent times.
In only three short decades, the concept of the NGO has been completely flipped onto its head. The best known, and most effective, NGOs today are little more than end runs around democracy, in that they are financed and controlled by governments, corporations, and billionaires, and reflect their interests instead of the traditional grassroots NGO. No one elects these NGOs, yet they are granted a power that is far out of proportion to their physical numbers of staff. Corporate media has teamed up with these very same powerful NGOs to create a closed loop in which they are the default go-to people to speak on issues that matter to corporate or government (or billionaires’) interests. By appealing to these NGOs, a pre-arranged narrative is put into place by the corporate media, completely sidestepping citizens and the democratic process. As many on the left have pointed out, they are a burgeoning class all their own. Besides promoting and protecting the interests of the elites, they also serve to offset the overproduction of elites in the West today.
When reading reporting on NGOs, one will always come across the description “independent”. The first question that should pop into anyone’s mind is “independent of what?” This descriptor is used to psychologically separate the NGO from the powers-that-be in the minds of readers; to create the impression that government or corporate positions are not held only by the powers-that-be, but that they have been arrived at independently by others as well. These independents are from NGOs, and NGOs are staffed and run by ‘the people’. Therefore the narrative is one of collective agreement to manufacture consent for the idea or policy or actions being pursued.
The quickest way to figure out what the actual intentions of an NGO are is to find their list of donors and research what their interests are. Case in point: the very influential Atlantic Council. This NGO is currently engaged in trying to stoke conflict with Russia on several fronts, particularly Ukraine. It has an out-sized presence in western media, serving as the ‘go-to translators’ of events in places like that country. Check out their ‘Honor roll of contributors’:
This is only a snapshot of their overall donor list. You have actual arms producers donating to them, which will explain quite a lot as to why this NGO is full of foreign policy hawks. Does this list of donors suggest altruism to you? Or self-interest? Either way, the people are not represented.
To reiterate: NGOs that have a prominent place in western media reporting represent the very same interests that own that same media. What I want to implant into your heads today is to automatically ask yourself this question any and every single time an NGO representative appears on TV or in print in mainstream media: who funds their NGO, and how do their interests align with the narrative that it is pushing? In short: to whom are they responsible?
They are not accountable to the people, that is for sure. And that brings us to this week’s first piece which takes a deep dive into the murky waters of #BLM’s financing.
By now, everyone knows that billionaire financier George Soros funds #BLM. Many know that corporate behemoths like Facebook, Nike, and Walmart have also donated to their organizations. This means that #BLM and its decentralized branches are supported by the elites, contrary to the original spirit of the traditional grassroots NGO.
To be concise: #BLM is a decentralized effort, and there were some grassroots organizations in the beginning that sprang from the Black community in the USA to draw attention to perceived police brutality, but it was quickly co-opted by activist donors such as George Soros to destabilize the Trump Administration in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election. Now that the objective of the (wealthy) donor class has been achieved, the media is finally waking up (read: now permitted) and asking questions about #BLM’s finances, long after the damage has been done.
There are, broadly speaking, two branches of activism. There are on-the-ground, grassroots organizers like Johnson, who work locally, passionately, with little money, often risking their lives and livelihood through their protests. And then there are the larger, more professionalized national groups with corporate donations and fund-raising power, whose high-profile leaders can garner lucrative speaking gigs and book deals. Tensions between the two paths have existed at least since the American civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. But social justice and modern civil rights have become increasingly fashionable in the ten years since Trayvon Martin’s death, and more money than ever has flowed to the most visible groups. They have reaped tens of millions of dollars, while some local organizers stretched themselves to the brink of homelessness. Even as national groups have made overtures to work more closely with community organizers, activists in the latter camp have become concerned that their work is being co-opted by profiteers. This decades-old divide now exists in extreme form within Black Lives Matter. It is simultaneously a decentralized coalition of local organizers who eke out progress city by city, dollar by dollar, and an opaque nonprofit entity, well capitalized and friendly with corporations, founded by three mediagenic figures — Cullors and her co-founders Alicia Garza and Opal (now Ayo) Tometi.
Criticism from within:
Some local activists contend that little of the money raised at the national level makes its way to their organizations or to the families of Black people killed by police. In November 2020, ten chapters of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation issued a public call for greater financial accountability. “For years there has been inquiry regarding the financial operations of BLMGNF and no acceptable process of either public or internal transparency about the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGNF, which has certainly increased during this time of pandemic and rebellion,” the chapters’ statement read.
The beginning of the co-opting:
From the beginning, Yates says, local activists raised concerns that national groups like the one Cullors, Garza, and Tometi were forming might take credit for their work. The issue came to a head in July 2015, when hundreds of activists traveled to Cleveland State University for a conference to discuss the future of the movement. According to Yates and another person familiar with the incident, at a closed-door gathering of about 30 people, organizers confronted Cullors, saying she and her co-founders needed to do more to correct media reports that their organization was orchestrating the movement.
Yates says she later pressed Cullors, Garza, and Tometi on the matter privately. “They said, ‘It’s not really us; the media’s doing it, and we can’t help what they do.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, but it came out of your mouth.’ ” Yates has since broken with Black Lives Matter at the national level over what she sees as a deeply troubling lack of financial transparency. (She also had a personal dispute with another high-ranking member of the organization, a girlfriend she accused of abuse.) “I funneled so much money to BLM,” Yates says. “Silly me.”
The proliferation of multiple organizations acts like the super-wealthy who create shell companies to move (and hide) money, opening themselves to all sort of schemes:
BLMGNF has never been a model of fiscal clarity, and even people close to the organization find its arrangement confusing. Over the years, there have been nonprofit and for-profit arms. The BLM Global Network Foundation is distinct from the dissolved BLM Global Network, which is distinct from the BLM Action Fund, BLM Grassroots, and the BLM Political Action Committee. Tides sponsored an effort called the BLM Global Network Project and replaced it with the BLM Support Fund. BuzzFeed News reported in 2020 that Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other corporations nearly donated $4 million to an entity called the Black Lives Matter Foundation before realizing it had no connection to the group started by Cullors. (The look-alike charity, in fact, advocated “bringing the community and police closer together.”) Thousand Currents later acknowledged to BuzzFeed that it had made similar errors in its tax records. “On the face of it, it does not necessarily sound nefarious,” says Jacob Harold, a former CEO of GuideStar and the co-founder of Candid. “It definitely sounds messy, on multiple levels.”
This is a very good piece of investigative journalism which mentions the main fear in many quarters: the questionable financial activities of some of these organizations will be used to discredit #BLM as a whole. This is a valid question, but it does not address the larger one: how can NGOs be considered independent and grassroots if they are funded by governments, big corporations, and billionaires who influence the objectives that they pursue?
What they really are is another tool of elite power that circumvents the democratic process in western liberal democracies, leaving the people once again, powerless.
It is often said that the American public has the memory of a goldfish. This is a stereotype, of course, and doesn’t hold true for all of them, but there is some truth to it. Who would have thought that Americans would support removing by force a secular dictator who stood up to al-Qaida a mere 18 months after 9/11? It is little wonder that many Americans were all to happy to support their country’s efforts in trying to effect regime change in Syria less than a decade later.
The Arab Spring was marketed as the ushering of long-awaited democracy in the Middle East, whereby the old forms of tyrannical rule would give way to the mass adoption of western liberal democracy. Many of us knew it was bullshit, but we had no voice. It was easy to predict what would happen: the wildly popular Islamists in the region, of the mild or extremist kind, would run rampant in this open political bazaar.
“What if the people elect authoritarians?”, quickly became the question in the Middle East. Egypt put into power the Muslim Brotherhood with the backing of the Obama regime. Regret quickly set in when expectations were not met, and a coup d’etat was effected, returning the country to status quo ante. Egypt was already firmly in the American sphere of influence, so the levels of violence in this swap/unswap were relatively low.
Syria did not fare as well. The Arab Spring arrived in that Russian-allied Ba’athist state, targeted by the USA and UK for regime change, and by Israel for land grabs and punishment for being allied to Iran and Hezbollah. The ‘flowering of democracy’ by way of protests and demonstrations quickly turned into a civil war, where the pro-democracy opposition was immediately supplanted by militant Islamists of various stripes, including the local al-Qaida franchise, al-Nusra (now HtS). The overwhelming majority of Syrians opposed to the Ba’athist government weren’t interested in adopting western liberal democracy. Instead, they were more interested in Sunni Islamist power and revenge against those communities that buttressed the Assad regime.
One of those communities that was targeted was Syria’s Christians. Middle Eastern Christians have fared horribly with the continuing American interventions in their lives. What was supposed to bring democracy and tolerance instead brought bombs and ethno-religious cleansing, devastating the Assyrian community in Iraq, and the Christians in Syria later on.
Christians in Syria (and in Iraq) have always known that real democracy in their countries threatened their own existence, so they either grudgingly or happily offered loyalty to authoritarian and tyrannical rulers that would protect them from those that sought to wipe them out. In this very good piece, Sam Sweeny lays out the contours of Syrian Christian support for Bashar Assad’s rule.
I hear it from Christians, Kurds, and Arabs. While I would posit that the nostalgia comes with a healthy dose of selective memory loss about the worst behaviors of the Syrian regime, it nonetheless also carries an obvious truth: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. “We were living in a dream, and now we’ve woken up,” an Assyrian Christian in his twenties told me. While there are obviously many who disagree, a large share of Syrians I talk to would rewind the clock to 2010 if they could and do everything possible to prevent the anti-Assad protests from starting. That sentiment is most pronounced among Christians, and much of that community never left the Assad government’s side throughout the conflict.
Most pronounced among the Christians. Let that sink in.
And let it sink in that the Americans and Brits (along with the non-Christian Israelis and Turks) were at the forefront of these efforts to remove Assad from power. In the American calculation, Middle Eastern Christians take a back seat to Israeli interests every time (think back to Ted Cruz berating them at an event a few years ago for not being enthusiastic enough for Israel).
The biggest crime towards Syria’s Christians was the CIA’s support of al-Qaida.
Catholic and Orthodox support at home and from abroad:
The Christian attachment to Bashar al-Assad and his regime is an oft-misunderstood aspect of the Syrian civil war. The Catholic and Orthodox churches in particular have been morally condemned, from many corners, over their ties to the Assad government. The journalist Idrees Ahmad tweeted, during the visit of a Vatican delegation to Damascus in July 2019, that “the two people disgracing themselves while Idlib is being decimated by Assad’s bombs are Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Vatican’s department for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Italian Cardinal Mario Zenari, the [pope’s] ambassador in Syria.” Charles Lister, a prominent Syria commentator at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., tweeted a photo of the same visit with the tongue-in-cheek comment, “The Catholic Church never disappoints, does it? All smiles in Damascus, visiting Assad today.” Middle Eastern churches have been even more closely associated with Assad and his regime. The patriarchs of the Syriac Orthodox, Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox, and Melkite (Greek) Catholic churches are all based in Damascus, and all regularly appear smiling in photo ops with Assad.
A specific conundrum besets the advance of democracy in the Middle East: Many people in the region don’t see democracy as viable in their society. That sentiment is particularly widespread in Syria’s Christian community, but it’s certainly not unique to Christians. Can you impose a system that is meant to give power to the people if they don’t want that power?
I’ve heard variations on this theme countless times. Most news coverage of protests against the Assad government missed this substantial segment of the population, the cautious supporters of the regime who feared the alternative more than they had ever feared the government. While this sentiment has grown during the last decade of civil war, it was certainly present leading up to the war as well. In June 2010, before the Arab Spring was even a thought, Reuters reported on Christians in Syria who were worried about developments in neighboring Arab countries. The article’s title summed up the sentiment: “Christians view Syria as haven in unstable region.” Their worst fear, that the chaos then beginning to take over the region would come to Syria, came true. The conflict probably ended the Christian presence for good in certain parts of Syria, particularly those that came under ISIS or opposition and Turkish control. Elsewhere, migration rates have skyrocketed, threatening the long-term viability of the Christian community.
Christians in Syria viewed Assad as a protector, and they overwhelmingly either happily or pragmatically supported him. For Christians in Syria, democracy equals genocide.
Pity the poor Kurds. Losers in the the great partitioning of the Middle East, they are scattered throughout the region, having self-rule in varying degrees only in Iraq and now Syria.
Despite being championed at times by the USA (and Israel), Kurdish interests will always take a back seat for these two when compared to those of the Turks. The Turks have shown a ruthless unwillingness to allow Kurdish self-rule to blossom out of fear that it would result in the amptuation of their own state due to its very, very large Kurdish population in the southeast of the country. This explains much of their efforts in neighbouring Syria, where they even gave support to ISIS to tackle the Kurds of Rojava, and al-Qaida, to quell Kurdish autonomy in Afrin to the west. To the Turks, every Kurdish Question is a question of Turkish existence. Due to the size, strength, and geostrategic importance of the Turks, this means that the desire for a Kurdish state is rendered horribly difficult to achieve on the ground.
I am friendly with some Kurds and have explained to them my opinion that their overarching goal cannot be achieved unless the importance of Turkey is reduced, and a situation arises in which a Kurdish state (used as pressure against Ankara) becomes more beneficial than that of the Turkish one for great powers.
The Turks have created a new opening for the Kurds these past few years, as they have begun openly bringing up the issue of Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang Province. This brings into question China’s territorial integrity. To make matters worse, Turkey has actively collaborated with the Islamist extremists of the Turkistan Islamist Movement, a force present in Syria on the side of the Islamist radicals there. The Chinese figure that two can play that game.
The Uyghur issue has triggered political tensions between the two countries many times. There is a large Uyghur diaspora population residing in Turkey, and Turkic nationalist sentiments extend to the Uyghur ethnic group. China, meanwhile, is extremely sensitive to any hint of separatist sentiment stemming from the Uyghurs, including appeals to transnational ethnic identity.
China-Turkey relations came to a halt between 1990 and 2000 following the anti-Chinese activities of the Uyghurs in the 1980s. Bilateral relations gained momentum when the AK Party came to power, but ties were seriously weakened again with the Urumqi riots that broke out in 2009. Turkey reacted very harshly to the ensuing crackdown, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing the events as genocide. As Chinese authorities were displeased with Erdogan’s rhetoric, they cut off relations with Turkey.
New souring of relations:
The relations between China and Turkey became tense again in 2019. Reports emerged that a famous Uyghur poet, Abdurrehim Heyit, had died in a Chinese detention camp on February 9, 2019. The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned China by making a harsh statement, assuaging the anger of the Turkish public. But the Turkish Foreign Ministry found itself in a difficult situation when China released a video that showed that the Muslim poet was still alive the next day.
However, what happened in the last months of 2021 caused China to take a different attitude. For first time, China is now touching on issues that Turkey might be uncomfortable with – particularly the Kurd issue.
Beijing’s new approach comes as Turkey has been taking steps to criticize China lately. On October 22, 43 countries, including Turkey, urged China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” concerning the Muslim Uyghur community in Xinjiang. It was the first time Turkey had supported such a call. This move provoked China.
Then, on November 12, the Turkic Council convened in Istanbul and changed its name to the Organization of Turkic States. This convention stirred political tensions in China, where approximately 10 million Uyghurs live. The date of the establishment of the Organization of Turkish States was critical – perhaps this was the main issue that bothered China. The first East Turkistan Republic, including part of today’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, was established on November 12, 1933; the second was created on November 12, 1944. As a result, the announcement of the Organization of Turkic States on the same date drew many questions about the motives of the Turkish authorities. Was it a coincidence, or was this date intentionally chosen?
It is a pure coincide that the desire to bring Turkic countries closer together helps not only drive a geographic wedge between China and Russia, but also assists in disrupting the Chinese One Belt One Road project.
The Kurds come into play:
After Turkey’s remarks on the Uyghur situation, China retaliated by focusing on the regions where Kurds live and accusing Turkey of human rights abuses in these regions. The Chinese actions sent a clear message to Turkey that China will retaliate if Ankara continues to meddle in the Uyghur issue. China’s playbook is simple: If Ankara continues to criticize China over the Uyghur issue, then Beijing will bring Turkey’s actions in Iraq and Syria to the international agenda.
The Kurds are forced to watch as they might be possibly used again to bludgeon the Turks, only to be left to dangle in the wind should a rapproachment occur. Pity the poor Kurds.
There are two central historical elements that form the foundation of the new religion in the USA. The first is that slavery is the Original Sin of America. The second is that the Holocaust is the greatest evil ever committed by man. The genocide of the Native Americans is the third element, but does not yet have the potency of these other two to become central.
What happens when people begin to ask which of these two elements is more important? Whoopi Goldberg did just that recently, and has found out that the Holocaust is higher on the totem pole than the enslavement of Blacks. She not only issued an apology for daring to question the ‘uniqueness’ of the Holocaust’s evil by clumsily suggesting that it was a white on white affair, but was suspended from work for her fumble as well. When it comes down to it, ethno/racial concerns and grievances always trump the purported universal value, as my friend Second City Bureaucrat cleverly explains:
I interpret Goldberg’s position to be consistent with what I would loosely call the old American civil religion. Goldberg believes that all men are created equal and that, by extension, all men have the potential to do what other men have done in history, like perpetrating, and being victimized by, genocide.
According to this view, the pretext for genocidal behavior is minimized, and every human being regardless of race, color, or creed can learn from specific instances of inhumanity justified on racial or creedal grounds. If this weren’t the case, then non-German and non-Jewish children wouldn’t be able to learn from the Holocaust and there would be no universal moral justification for teaching it in America’s diverse schools.
While many would agree that the Holocaust was morally significant for the reason Goldberg stated, her statements provoked outrage among certain Jewish groups and their supporters, resulting in Goldberg issuing an apology and getting sent to timeout from “The View” for two weeks.
Univeral vs. specific:
Goldberg’s statement that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white because “everybody eats each other” demonstrates that she was equally comfortable with emphasizing that white-on-black racial persecution was ultimately about man’s inhumanity to man. Goldberg’s comment that the Holocaust was about whites persecuting other whites was an attempt to argue that the Nazis’ racial beliefs were erroneous, reinforcing her claim that the Holocaust’s ultimate moral significance was universal.
The ADL and other outraged commentators, however, felt it necessary to fact check Goldberg by pointing to Nazi racial beliefs about Jews. Why? I find the answer to this question in the incomplete scope of the ADL’s response and Whoopi’s subsequent apology.
The centrality of the Jews in the Holocaust:
Recall that one of Goldberg’s interlocutors, Ana Navarro, responded to her that the Holocaust was about the persecution of Jews and Gypsies and some other unknown category of people. Because the ADL did not correct this statement, and because this interlocutor was not admonished, we can assume that the ADL concedes the Holocaust encompassed all racially motivated Nazi persecution policies. Neither the ADL’s statement nor Goldberg’s apology, however, mention the other groups targeted by Nazi racial policy. The importance of this omission is magnified by Goldberg’s inclusion of a direct apology to Jewish people in her statement:
“The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.”
Back of the bus for you, Whoopi.
While most of the responses to Goldberg were likely not motivated by religious convictions, the old American civil religion requires us to treat them as being so motivated, because there is no other public, non-institutional normative framework for addressing competing ethnic claims in American life. Under the old American civil religion—and most Americans would probably accept this today—we have an obligation to tolerate, even respect, each other’s religious beliefs, including the belief that historical events have special religious significance.
But this obligation carries with it a corollary obligation to refrain from affirming the universality of a specific religious belief, because doing so would violate the obligation to tolerate the beliefs of those who do not accept such universality. Accordingly non-Jews like Goldberg have an obligation to respect the belief that the moral significance of the Holocaust is that it victimized Jews. Goldberg also, however, has an obligation to not affirm this interpretation for all Americans. The old civil religion requires us to find a shared moral significance that translates into something intelligible to all Americans, and this is the function performed by the concepts of humanity and inhumanity in Goldberg’s statements.
Expect more occurrances like this in the near future, as victim groups continue to jockey for their place in the Hierarchy of Oppression.
I have previously recommended to you all to watch the ten-part 1986 documentary “The Story of English”. It details the history of the development of the English language, from the days of the Angles and Saxons through to the then present.
The New Yorker (which still can put out good journalism from time to time, despite its nose dive during the Trump Era), has published a fascinating piece about the rise of MLE: Multicultural London English. What makes it fascinating is how the children attending these schools are forming this language dialect all on their own, as it draws from dozens and dozens of other languages spoken at home. What makes it most unique is that it is being driven at an earlier age than usual in terms of childhood speaking development.
London itself belongs to these students, whose parents and grandparents have come from all over. More than three hundred different languages are spoken by the children who attend London’s schools, but, as I listened to their voices at the Tate, I was struck by how similar to one another they sound. Sociolinguists who study the way that Londoners speak have identified the emergence, since the late nineteen-nineties, of a new variant of English among the younger generations: M.L.E., or Multicultural London English.
In recent decades, large-scale studies have been undertaken of language use in Hackney, in East London. Historically, Hackney was occupied by white working-class residents, or Cockneys, whose basic elements of speech are familiar not just to Londoners who grew up with them but to anyone who has watched Dick Van Dyke effortfully twist his tongue in “Mary Poppins”—saying wiv for “with” and ’ouse for “house.” The years after the Second World War brought an influx of immigration that resulted in Hackney becoming one of London’s most decisively multiethnic neighborhoods. In one cohort of Hackney five-year-olds, who were studied between 2004 and 2010, there were Cockneys, but there were many more children with parents from Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Albania, Turkey, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and various African countries. Friendship groups were multiethnic, the researchers noted, and often included children who spoke a language other than English at home, or children whose first language was English of a postcolonial variety, such as Ghanaian or Indian English. In this diverse milieu, the children found their way to a new common language.
Speakers of M.L.E. use notably different pronunciations from speakers of Cockney: “face,” which in Cockney sounds like fay-eece, for example, slides closer to fess. (In linguistic terms, the Cockney diphthong is replaced by a near-monophthong.) Some of M.L.E.’s features are lexical, with vocabulary especially influenced by the language spoken by people with Jamaican backgrounds—one of the first postwar immigrant groups to arrive in the East End. But the shifts in the language of London amount to more than the borrowing of vocabulary or changes in pronunciation: there are structural changes, too. David Hall, a linguist at Queen Mary University of London, has written of the organic emergence of a new pronoun, “man,” which, depending on its context, can mean “I” or “me” or “him” or “them.” As an example of generic-impersonal use, Hall gives the example “Man’s gotta work hard to do well these days.” To describe the second-person use, he cites a command that might be issued to an upset friend: “Man needs to calm down!” I asked Hall to meet me in a café in Mile End, in East London, not far from the university. Over coffee, Hall—who is young and bearded, and uses many features of M.L.E. in his speech—discussed other attributes of the linguistic variant, such as the dropping of prepositions with the verbs “go” and “come” in certain contexts.
“It has to be some sort of familiar or institutional goal, like ‘I went pub last night,’ or ‘I went chicken shop,’ ” he told me. “It can’t be ‘I went art gallery.’ ”
This is a feature that M.L.E. has in common with modern Greek, he said, but it’s hard to tell precisely in which foreign languages the novelties of M.L.E. are rooted, because it has emerged from such variegated and fertile ground. “It is difficult to say if there is a direct influence from Nigerian English, or Jamaican Creole, because they are all in the mix somewhere,” Hall explained. Moreover, the London children whom Hall and other scholars have studied are influenced more strongly by the phonologies of their peers than by those of their caregivers. Starting at four or five years old, they pool a set of languages and linguistic features, and settle on some subset of that pool as their common language. They begin to speak like one another instead of like their parents. “Normally, kids, until they are eight or nine, will copy their caregivers, and then they will match the community afterwards,” Hall told me. “But these kids are doing it very, very young. It is language change not from the outside but from the inside—they are building it themselves.”
Check out the rest here.
Note: I will be all over the continent the next few weeks, so I might miss next Saturday’s column, or it may be delayed. It all depends, really. If I do, apologies in advance.
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