Friday, June 26, 2009

Haugesunds Avis - 1 Story

In this story the Norwegian journalist writes "universitetsdirektør Inger Østensjø (51) kommer fra studier i amerikansk språk og kultur i Vancouver til ferie i hjemfylket." This is insulting to Canadians, and doesn't reflect an understanding of Canada at all. In Vancouver, and all of Canada, Canadians don't speak any such language called "American." Not all of Canada even speaks English; 1/3 of the country is French speaking. If they live in the English speaking parts of Canada (like in Vancouver), they speak English, more specifically Canadian-English, just as the Australians speak Australian-English, the Brits speaking British-English, and the Americans speak American-English. There's no such language called "American" and the culture of Canada is Canadian, not American. To be correct should be: "kommer fra studier i kanadisk-engelsk språk og Kanadisk kultur i Vancouver til ferie i hjemfylket." Why would a Norwegian journalist write "American language" and "culture" about the second largest English speaking Canadian city in Canada? This story is an excellent of how a Norwegian coming to Canada to study Canadian-English, living in Canada, interacting with Canadians, learning about Canadian culture, has been made to look as through she is studying American culture and the "American" language. Why is it so hard for so many Norwegian journalist to look beyond the USA in North America, and give credit to Canada and Canadians where credit is due? If Inger was going to New Zealand to study English and New Zealand culture, would Gaute-Håkon Bleivik write "Australian language and culture"? How insulting to Canada and Canadians to refer to one of our two official languages as "American" and our Canadian culture in Vancouver as "American." The nationality of Canada is Canadian, not American. How many Canadians are writing about the Swedish language and Swedish culture when a Canadian is studying Norwegian and Norwegian culture in Norway? This story is an excellent example of how many Norwegian journalists don't understand Canada, and when possible try to make or change the context of the story to look American, or certainly not Canadian. For the record, Canada has two official languages - French and English. French speaking Canadians are approximately 1/3 of the population of Canada and speak Canadian-French, and have been in Canada for over 400 years. English speaking Canadians speak Canadian-English and they are approximately the other two thirds of Canada. With a single line in this journalist's story he has changed the Canadian context and culture of the story, replaced it with American. Even after pointing out the error of the content in this story, the journalist would not correct the errors. So convinced he is about what he has written, he sees no point in correcting the errors pointed out to him. This sums up the attitude by many Norwegian journalists about Canada. Many seem so convinced in what they write about regarding Canada, Canadians, and Canadian culture they can't possible be wrong. In this Rogalands Avis story (Null i inntekt – tjener 890.000 15.10.2008 from Rogalands Avis) it states: "I 2006 jobbet jeg ikke. Da var jeg i Canada med min mann, sier Østensjø til Rogalands Avis. Hun studerte engelsk språk og kanadisk kultur ved Simon Fraser University." It seems they understood better. It is uncertain what it will take for so many Norwegian journalists to give proper credit to Canada, Canadians, and Canadian culture and to stop trying to make Canada look American. And to recognise that Canada is an independent country, unique in North America, and not some part of the USA.

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