Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

…that you could only read 7% of the internet.

Imagine if you couldn’t understand most of what was posted on youtube.

Imagine if you were cut off from most global news.  Or worse, cut off from even understanding news about your own country or community from an outside (let’s say for the sake of argument, less biased) source.

Imagine if you couldn’t take free online college courses because you couldn’t read the lessons or communicate with the teacher?

How much knowledge would you be denied…

…if you didn’t speak English?


I don’t think it’s enough to have one common language to bring us all together.  I think we need to all understand and strive to communicate in multiple languages.

Language isn’t just a set of words and grammar rules; it’s a reflection of culture, belief, ideology, philosophy, history, and modern influences.

There is a reason that some phrases, some ideas, can’t be translated from one language to another, there is no common frame to draw from.  There is no common belief to relate to.  There is no common philosophy which binds these two languages together.

When we attempt to distill human language down to common denominators, when we try to make all other languages subordinate to one, we lose more than we could ever realize.  We lose phrases that can not be expressed, we lose understandings which can not be shared, we lose cultures which see the world differently.

It’s a shame that the US does not teach second or third languages from birth.  It’s a shame we live in such an overwhelmingly mono-linguistic society.

If you are multi-lingual, I would beg that you teach that to your children.  If you have a chance to learn another language, jump at it!  If you could preserve the diversity of language in the world, you can help preserve the diversity of cultures, too.

Imagine if you couldn’t read this post…


The painful irony is that I wouldn’t be able to.  I know less than the most basic Spanish, I know a few smattering words in Swedish and Hebrew.

And when I come across pages written in other languages, even other writing systems, I always wonder what it says, what I’m missing by being unable to understand.  I wonder if perhaps some beautiful wisdom or humorous anecdote  is lost to me because I know only one language.

Of course, I speak English, 95% (if not more) of the internet is open to me.

But what if it wasn’t?

I can’t help but imagine if I was denied the vastness of this body of human work because I couldn’t understand it.  Because I wonder if, in that 5% that is closed, there may hide some marvelous revelation that I have missed.

Or maybe it’s just more cat pictures.

I don’t know.


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