Darren Bolden wrote:
> There is anxiety upon some developing nations that the Internet is
>intrusive and that netizens are forced to learn English and subject themselves
>to a barrage of Western-oriented information. So there are many initiatives
>(strongly supported by Japan) to produce multilingual and multicultural
>Internet services. Perhaps this is a start.
Interesting that Japan is so involved. Why do you think this is so?
There will come a day, I suppose, when everyone will be able to communicate
on the internet using their choice of language, and the messages will be
translated automatically by software into the recipient's choice of
language. I can imagine the misunderstandings that will arise, since it's
difficult to translate precise meanings. We have enough misunderstandings
communicating only in English.
>While I understand your point very clearly and have read literature eluding to
>your "techno-imperialism" hypothesis, there is definitely an opportunity for
>Africans and those of other developing countries to begin to make a presence on
>the Net. When you say Western educated, you REALLY mean Western 'trained'.
>There is a big difference between education and training. Most Africans are
>'educated' at home long before venturing outside of their villages and have a
>deeply-rooted value system that they never relinquish. There is a saying the
>the fruit never falls far from its branches.
Good points. I would suggest that being trained in the West results in being
influenced by Western values, at least to some degree.
>Saying this, I believe that most Africans would jump at the opportunity to
>exhibit the pride of their culture the the world's 5 billion citizens. Of
>course you and I know that Africa has quite a way to go in terms of mere
>awareness of the importance of this type of technology. However, I am in total
>agreement with Mr. Nduma and the reverse effect of Internet information
You haven't convinced me. People talk to each other over an extended period
of time because (1) they have business to conduct with each other (2)
they have similar values and interests.
Usually, we are considerably more comfortable doing this with someone from
our own culture. We understand other people in our own culture much better
than anyone from a different culture. Much of our communication is
nonverbal - partly body language, partly it's just the way we use our own
mother tongue. Each culture has its own communication shortcuts.
We may talk to people of other cultures because we're curious about them and
we want to learn about them; but over an extended period of time we choose
to socialize primarily with people of our own culture, because we truly
understand one another. It has nothing to do with prejudice, racism,
elitism, or anything else. It's being able to communicate with one another,
and really understand one another.
Because of the language problem, and the probable difficulties in
translating real meanings through translation software, I wonder if this
scenario will develop:
- the Western dominated area of the internet will continue to explode in
- web sites/newsgroups, or whatever will develop in many different languages
- there is little communication flowing between the peoples of the different
languages , eg. Mandarin-speaking people communciating only with other
- global business will continue to be conducted primarily in English (maybe
Mandarin, in 100 years?)
- so whoever wants to do global business, or who works in engineering, etc.
etc. etc. needs to learn English, and use the English area of the internet
for professional reasons.
Thoughts on this?
> We all know that the English language and
>Western orientation of the Internet will exist for a long time.
Wish I could see 50 - 100 years into the future.
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