Friday, September 24, 2010

multilingualism

Humans are essentially the same the world over, so what are the barriers to understanding and empathizing with one another?  Physical appearance and cultural differences are one, and among the cultural differences a big one is the use of different languages.  Without a translator, dictionary, or translation program to refer to, if you don't know the language you are helpless.  The less foreign languages become a barrier, the more we will understand what makes the human experience unique for each of the six billion plus people on this planet, our only home.  Foreign languages and literature is an interesting field.  I can never know every one of us, but I should know more nonetheless.  I'd like to be fluent in all forms of communication basic to human society and familiar with the information [for which] they were created to represent.  Then I can call myself literate, a scholar, and an expert in any field I work in.  I must admit I don't read enough English literature as it is. 

3 comments:

Aratina Cage said...

ひさしぶり!

So, how many foreign languages do you know at this point? I'm afraid I'm only fluent in one but I have an elementary level of knowledge in two others. I also think you are in the wrong country for wanting to learn foreign languages, which seems to be heavily discouraged in the USA and in some cases legally discriminated against for inhumane political purposes.

Keir said...

Let's see. What is the level below elementary? Superficial? Passing acquaintance? Whatever you'd call it, that is my level of understanding with a few other languages besides English. Yes, we don't express much positive interest in other cultures or the rest of the world in general here.

Aratina Cage said...

I think there actually is a word for it: Basic proficiency. :) Like counting to 10 and knowing some key phrases and possibly how to write a few letters/kana (at least in Romaji) or even words, and certainly the ability to speak them if not write them. Underlying basic proficiency is probably the willingness or motivation to learn.