[SLED] Message for NON-ENGLISH SLED MEMBERS

Kristin Scott kscott65 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 18 06:39:22 PST 2009


Yes, but might we need to also consider the possibility that such
comments/thoughts/motivations might indeed be one of the underlying
issues relevant to this discussion? While this comment came from one
individual, the larger question is, might this attitude be one of the
motivating factors for those promoting an English-only list and/or
exclusivity? If so, to address the surface issue only would be the
equivalent of slapping a band aid on an much deeper (and more
significant) problem. I'm sure most are aware of the fact that English
is the dominant language and why/how it came to be that way.

But the question raised by our colleagues isn't just a practical one,
I think, but also a pedagogical, cultural, political, and sociological
one. If it were a purely practical issue, what would be the problem
with having a multi-lingual listserve? I'm sure many of you delete
SLED list discussions that don't fall into the purview of your
specific field or research interests, but we don't discuss whether
cultural studies, gaming, literature, history, or fine arts studies
should dominate the conversation; we don't have discussions about how
we should consider splitting up the list into field-specific areas of
discussion. If the discussion doesn't fall within our
interests/research, we simply delete and move on. Why would this not
be the case for those who cannot or do not want to read posts in other
languages? Furthermore, there are many English-speaking natives who DO
read/write in other languages and might gain some considerable insight
by a discussion held by others in another language.

On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Waters, Thomas C <waterstc at pitt.edu> wrote:
> I share Kristin's views to some degree, however I'd rather move away from
> focusing on a single comment made to looking at the underlying issue.  This
> IS a big deal in today's "modern" world physical as well as virtual.  One
> reason that English is a common language across the globe grows from the
> time when the English were colonizers and America was (past tense) the world
> leader.  Our modern world however is changing, and all people are or need to
> be treated in a more egalitarian way.
>
>
> On 2/18/09 8:55 AM, "Kristin Scott" <kscott65 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Bruce - this has got to be one of the most racist, ignorant comments
> I've heard in a long time. Where is this glorified, nostalgic Rome you
> speak of? This is the Second Life Educators list, not the Western or
> North American educator's list. While Linden Labs resides in
> California, the virtual environment of which we speak is
> multi-national / multi-lingual and cannot be situated within any
> physical, geographical space. So to proclaim a "local" language and to
> insist that all who reside, and more importantly, work, within this
> virtual space should speak only one language is to also advocate some
> sort of twisted, virtual colonialist takeover.
>
> As a citizen of the United States, your comment is an embarrassment to
> me, and I'm sure many other English-speaking people, and reinforces
> the (obviously well-deserved) stereotype of North Americans who
> believe the entire earth should revolve around them.
>
> --
> Kristin Scott
> Instructor, New Century College
> & Department of English
> PhD student, Cultural Studies
> George Mason University
> Fairfax, VA 22030
>
> kscotta at gmu.edu
> http://www.kristinscott.net
>
> On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 5:43 AM, Bruce Sommerville <sledevents at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I agree that the right to speak in a language of choice is a basic human
>> right. But I don't think this issue is a matter of 'rights'. It's a matter
>> of effective communication and courtesy. As an analogy, if your native
>> language is English, and you travel to a foreign country with a different
>> culture and language than your own, of course you have the right to speak
>> in
>> your own language while you are there, and very few (least of all me) will
>> deny you that right. However, will it promote understanding and
>> communication? Will it endear you to the local population? Almost
>> certainly
>> not. When in Rome, you do as the Romans do, and speak the local language
>> to
>> the extent that you can - even if it only the most basic phrases.
>>    Now, there is a new Rome, and it is called 'Earth', and its de facto
>> language is English. And the vast majority of educated people speak, read,
>> and write that language. So as a matter of common sense, it is helpful,
>> progressive, and polite to use the global language in the global context -
>> and the local language in the local context.
>> Regards,
>> Bruce Sommerville.
>>
>> On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 9:09 PM, CHRIS PIM <chris.pim at btinternet.com>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> To my mind, the right to speak in a language of choice is pretty much a
>>> basic human right...I would therefore support the notion that
>>> contributors
>>> be encouraged to use any language that suits them best and that this
>>> 'right'
>>> be made explicit by LL on the entry page.
>>>
>>> Chris
>>>
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: Frederic Emam-Zade <femamzade at mac.com>
>>> To: SL Educators <educators at lists.secondlife.com>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, 18 February, 2009 9:24:02 AM
>>> Subject: [SLED] Message for NON-ENGLISH SLED MEMBERS
>>>
>>> The ongoing debate in spanish and english about whether the SLED list
>>> should be only in english or multilingual is an interesting and very
>>> important debate, for the future of this list.
>>> My particular inclination is toward contributing to the maintenance of
>>> ONE
>>> SLED list, inclusive of all languages and respectful of the freedom of
>>> each
>>> member to communicate in the language of their choice.
>>> I believe the pros outweigh the cons.
>>> However, if Linden Labs want this to happen, someone (Pathfinder Linden?)
>>> will have to lower the main barrier to entry into this list and modify
>>> the
>>> entry page which is ONLY in english and the first barrier/challenge that
>>> any
>>> non english speaker/reader has to overcome to enter here. There is also a
>>> question in the entry page that asks: Which language do you prefer to
>>> display your messages? and only leaves one option: English (USA). Both
>>> facts, the language of the entry page and the question without options,
>>> seems to imply that only english is spoken here.
>>> It would be helpful to get the opinion of other english only or
>>> non-english speaking SLED members that would like to have the option of
>>> not
>>> having or having several entry pages in several languages and exercizing
>>> or
>>> not exercizing their freedom to express themselves in the language of
>>> their
>>> choice in this list.
>>> Zage Farman in SL
>>> Atentamente,
>>> F r e d e r i c   E m a m - Z a d e  G e r a r d i n o
>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
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-- 
Kristin Scott
Instructor, New Century College
& Department of English
PhD student, Cultural Studies
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

kscotta at gmu.edu
http://www.kristinscott.net


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