Language and JWN

It was my youngest, Lorna Quandt, calling home from college a couple of weeks ago. “Hey, Mom, did you know that the dates on your blog are coming up in, um, Spanish or something?”
“Well, ye-es. They’ve been like that for about a month now. But it’s not Spanish, it’s Portuguese. Don’t you like it? I thought it would give the blog a suitably international flavor.”
“H’mmm. Okay. Whatever.”
As you can see, the experiment was a resounding success.
(Actually, along the way there, a journo from Brazil called to interview me about Lebanon. I said, hey, you can take any quotes you want off my blog and use them. He, at least, was suitably impressed when I told him about my adventure in calendar-based multi-culturalism.)
So today I looked through the rather interesting list of language options that the MT software offers under “Language for date display”. I couldn’t make up my mind. When I’d chosen Portuguese I was trying to get my mind back into writing about Mozambique. This time, I just wanted a change.
Well, heck, maybe I’ll just click one further down in the list, I concluded after staring at the list for a while. Then, over time, I’ll have gotten through the whole list.
So, I started six weeks ago with Portuguese. Today I clicked one down from there and am happy to bring you– dates in Slovak!

7 thoughts on “Language and JWN”

  1. No, it’s a good topic. Maybe Helena could tell us just how multi-cultural that list of alternetive languages is.
    I bet there is not a single indigenous African language there with the possible exception of Afrikaans, if you want to count Afrikaans. There will be English, French, Arabic, Protuguese, Spanish, Italian and Greek, all spoken in Africa but none of them indigenous. There will be no Kiswahili, Yoruba, Xhosa, Shona, et cetera.
    See if I’m not right about that.

  2. If you want some serious multiculturalism, try using an Ecclesiastical calendar. Date your posts by the feast days of the Saints, e.g. First Tuesday after Michaelmas, or Septuagesima. If you really want to challenge your readers, use Orthodox feast days declined in the Julian calendar.
    I did this once when I was in the Army and suspected nobody read my reports. I discovered many people read my reports, including some with significantly higher pay grades than mine, and not all possessed a sense of humor.

  3. yankeedoodle thinks that serious multiculturalism involves a return to the Romans or the Greeks.
    Some people might think yankeedoodle’s point of view a little counter-intuitive.

  4. I bet there is not a single indigenous African language there with the possible exception of Afrikaans, if you want to count Afrikaans.
    The thing that gets me is that Google Lesotho gives you the option to search in isiZulu, but not in Sesotho.

  5. I don’t know what it is, but this was a very enjoyable post to read. I think because it opened with a very candid anecdote and then went on to touch, just so lightly, on the very interesting topic that, at least to me, is how we perceive meaning in the global, international, multicultural world in which we live.
    Great post. Thanks!

  6. There’s an article in spiked! right now that contains the following:
    “For all the sound and fury, there is actually no debate in the education establishment about the pros or cons of multiculturalism. They all agree about the promotion of difference, and that people from different cultures should be treated according to their own special values and needs. The argument is over the often-unpalatable consequence, which is to divide people from one another.”
    This is about “multiculturalism” and/or segregation for black boys in British schools.
    yankeedoodle could have made a better point by arguing that the humanist tradition, descending from the ancients, is the way out of this dilemma.
    Humanism is not opposed to diversity in reality. Rather, “diversity”, the concept, has been invented as a sub-set of anti-humanist “post-modernism”.
    The “confessional” constitution of Lebanon was being put together by the French at the same time as French intellectuals were beginning to invent post-modernism. I don’t believe this was a simple coincidence.
    Post-modernism was created as an intellectual counterpart to post-colonial imperialism. It remains up to now the dominant ideology of capitalist imperialism, in spite of occasional false genuflections to the God of “Freemanamocracy”.
    The true flavour of imperialist thinking is found in the enthusiasm for sectarian analysis, exhibited by all the instant experts on Iraq, and by all the new instant experts on Lebanon. The US is closer to France than it likes to think.
    In South Africa we are lucky to have our Freedom Charter, rooted as it is in universal human values and our common possession of the ascent of human thought.

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