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aries1988 : czech   2

被遗忘的冷战铁幕:苏台德
匈牙利的马扎尔人把自己塑造成来自中亚草原的民族。每一个匈牙利教师都在向学生描绘着马扎尔人的迁徙史和他们的故乡。当学生被这种浪漫的乡愁所打动,他们当中的很多人真的踏上了走向亚洲的道路,比如布达佩斯的犹太人斯泰因,他一直走到了敦煌。

1938年曾在慕尼黑被迫向希特勒妥协的捷克总统爱德华·贝奈斯决心从根本上解决捷克斯洛伐克的民族问题,他的选择就是《贝奈斯法》。根据二战后的《贝奈斯法》,捷克斯洛伐克共和国把国内第二大民族的德意志人全部没收财产、驱逐出境。两百多万德意志人被赶出捷克来到德国后,捷克真的成了一个民族国家。也正是在他们离去的背影里,铁幕无声地降下。横亘在这些被驱逐者和故乡之间的就是这条被遗忘的“冷战的静谧边界”。

捷克和德国之间的这条边界北到瓦尔德萨森、南到帕绍。在很多时候,这条边界看起来和东西德国之间、东西柏林之间的分界线没什么两样。

对一个美国知识分子来说,即使是在中欧这样的多民族地区,民族国家依然被看作是最理想的选择。希特勒固然令人厌恶,但他们也不反对《贝奈斯法》,况且《贝奈斯法》还是以“反纳粹”这个名义下制定出来的。

即使西方的经济起飞让他们当中的很多人改善了自己的处境,但故乡依然是难以忘却的。“在柏林看不到一座像家乡的山”,他们开着汽车或租用大巴回到这条遍布山峦和森林的边界,目的只是看一看自己的家。他们甚至靠捐款在边界的西侧修建了眺望塔,那里站得更高,像是登上了蒂伦高耸的山峰。

在这条边界上,铁幕战胜了他们,等待着他们的只能是忘记自己的过往,也最终被别人遗忘。
ww2  nation  state  ethnic  deutschland  coldwar  nostalgia  population  czech  book 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
The Strange Persistence of First Languages - Issue 30: Identity - Nautilus
I was mortally offended when my first-grade teacher asked me on the first day of school if I knew a little English—I don’t know a little English, was my indignant and heavily accented retort. I know a lot of English. In the schoolyard, I quickly learned that my Czech was seen as having little value by my friends, aside from the possibility of swearing in another language—a value I was unable to deliver, given that my parents were cursing teetotalers.

I watched as my father grew more and more frustrated at his powerlessness to pass on to his children the legacy he most longed to leave: a burning religious piety, the nurturing of family ties, pleasure in the music and traditions of his region, and an abiding respect for ancestors. All of these became diluted by the steady flow of new memories narrated in English, laced with Anglophone aspiration and individualism. As we entered adulthood and dispersed all over North America into our self-reliant lives, my father gave up. He moved back home.

Losing your native tongue unmoors you not only from your own early life but from the entire culture that shaped you. You lose access to the books, films, stories, and songs that articulate the values and norms that you’ve absorbed. You lose the embrace of an entire community or nation for whom your family’s odd quirks are not quirks all. You lose your context.

Why is a heritage language so conducive to well-being? Michael Chandler, one of the authors of the suicide study, emphasizes that a sense of cultural continuity makes people resilient by providing them with a cohesive self-concept.

The complicated inflections of Czech, described as character-building by an acquaintance who’d learned the language in college, began to assemble into somewhat orderly rows in my mind, and I quickly ventured onto more and more adventurous grammatical terrain. Just a few weeks into my visit, I briefly passed as a real Czech speaker in a conversation with a stranger. Relearning Czech so quickly felt like having linguistic superpowers.

When Mandarin speakers hear nonsense syllables that are identical except for their tones, they show heightened activity in the left hemisphere of the brain, where people normally process sounds that signal differences in meaning—like the difference between the syllables pa and ba. But speakers of non-tonal languages like English have more activity in the right hemisphere, showing that the brain doesn’t treat tone as relevant for distinguishing words. A recent study found that Chinese-born babies adopted into French homes showed brain activity that matched Chinese speakers and was clearly distinct from monolingual French speakers—even after being separated from their birth language for more than 12 years.

For me, the English phrase pork with cabbage and dumplings refers to a concept, the national dish of the Czechs. But hearing the Czech phrase vepřo-knedlo-zelo evokes the fragrance of roasting meat, pillowy dumpling loaves being pulled steaming out of a tall pot and sliced with sewing thread, and the clink of the nice china as the table is dressed for Sunday dinner, the fulcrum of every week.

English was the language in which I forged my independence, the language of my individuation—but it was in Czech that I was nurtured, comforted, and sung to.
language  story  motherland  east-europe  czech  parents 
november 2015 by aries1988

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