i hope to use my posting space on KDU to expand the dialog on universal communication. some of the major obstacles to truly moving forward with technology and our future as a planet is communication. it is unfortunate that the dialog on this issue becomes an emotional one for many individuals. i find even educated people regress to emotional arguments as to why one must preserve language as intrinsic to individual cultures – which is valid to a point – but to them i always ask ‘how can you argue that the range of emotions or intellect is limited by any one language?’
these arguments get in the way of truly analyzing the economic and ecological impact of maintaining so many world languages when we can do so much more when resources are pooled; look how india has benefitted from outsourcing simply by having a large english speaking population. how many man-hours, ecological resources and electricity are used in translating documents, books, entertainment in the most basic of international interactions and what is the carbon footprint of this activity?
now, i know i am not the first person to obsess over this issue and i know i won’t be the last. my argument is only more difficult by being an english speaking american with english [and america] being viewed as some kind of imperial force by many. to my own defense, i am bilingual in japanese and not a huge fan of english grammar. that said, japanese [and chinese] are have too complex a writing system to be a truly universal language and we all know what joke esperanto is. this does not mean the discussion on how important this issue is over, and i have many ideas on these themes which i will share here in future posts. i believe we can be respectful of all languages and cultures and still see that the need to choose one language for the planet is both logical and imperative.
not to contradict myself but there is a wonderful word in japanese for “universality” and it is this i made into an image to illustrate this post. the definition translates as: things that are common to everything. example: universal human rights. universally accepted ideas/concepts.
why let language get in the way?