Re: Appalling English

Subject: Re: Appalling English
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 10:08:50 -0800

Tim Altom wrote:
> That may be so, but I think there's a good counterargument that Japanese is
> spoken by only a tiny percentage of the population of the industrialized
> world, while English is spoken by a much bigger number of educated people in
> the developed world.

True, but I wonder if we'd feel so accepting if most of us weren't
native English-speakers in unilingual North America? While a
universal language is often convenient, and English's dominance has
obvious historical reasons, the domination of English causes
considerable resentment in some circles.

If I remember correctly (I don't pretend to be current on the
subject), the European Union requires documentation in two or three
languages on imported goods. I do know that an increasing number of
products from everywhere come with instructions in as many languages
as possible. Also, in free software projects, which involve people
from around the world, although the working language is usually
English, translation in other languages is a high priority.

I'm a very poor linguist myself - I can understand a lot of French,
and read a little German - but I feel my lack of ability something
to be ashamed of, rather than to accept. On the whole, Europeans and
Japanese put North Americans to shame in linguistic abilities.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7189 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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