War Against 'The War On English'

Following up on the post Zero Translation - If you will allow; my thoughts on the recent over-the-top Bloomberg's China's War on English - by Dexter Roberts:


"Chinese authorities are waging a war on American culture and the use of English." --Dexter Roberts

The Empire Strikes Back

If there's a war on language, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is the English one against all others (I am a German native speaker, so take some from me):

It has been shown -over and over again- how European translations of all things Asian have directly misinterpreted those other civilizations, and robbed the Asians of their originality, their inventiveness, and their intellectual property rights. This great destruction of foreign words follows the history of the Europeans like genocide, colonialism, and orientalism.

For years, established scholars try to reach Western media outlets like Bloomberg, NYT, WSJ, Science, The Economist, and what not to inform people like Mr. Roberts of this systematic, relentless US-Anglophone language imperialism.

RELATED Zero Translation - As Chinese Are Madly In Love With English Words, Abandon The Archaic Habit

But he, like all others, tries to play it safe in life and instead accuses China of a war of resistance against Anglicism. But this resistance has a precursor. I'll suggest, for the sake of a balanced argument, to write about the war on non-Western words some time in your distinguished publication.

Give and Take - The Law of Reciprocity

To be sure, English may be the international language, but it is NOT the global language. The future of global language would require tens of thousands of non-European vocabularies on top of it. China knows it, Japan knows it, India knows it, Iran knows it... you won't print it, so their ideas do not exist.

RELATED The Resurrection of Non-Western Civilizations

Europeans and Americans have been particularly cruel to the Chinese tradition. Very few words entered the English parlance (as compared to Sanskrit words, or Japanese ones).

China has basically sucked up the knowledge of the Western world; yet what it had to offer back in return had been categorically censored, rejected, omitted, obliterated, or translated into convenient (often biblical and philosophical) European vocabularies.

We all know, America takes great pride in having "liberated" the races, the genders, and entire countries from foreign oppression. But you forgot to liberate the words.

China, in all fairness, is closer to the truth than America ... that knowledge is a polyglot.

Image credit: ChrisDorney/Shutterstock.com

Crossposted at You've Heard About It

To keep up to date with this blog you can follow me on TwitterRSS, my Website, or my other Blog.

Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to make decisions with the clarity of a World Series Poker Champion.
  • Liv Boeree teaches analytical thinking for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Are you an overbuyer or an underbuyer?

One way to limit clutter is by being mindful of your spending.

Videos
  • Overbuyers are people who love to buy — they stockpile things as a result. These are individuals who are prone to run out of space in trying to store their stuff and they may even lose track of what — and how much of what — they have.
  • One way overbuyers can limit their waste, both money and space wise, is by storing items at the store, and then buy them when they really need them.
  • Underbuyers tend to go to extraordinary lengths to not buy things. They save money and do fewer errands, however, they often make do with shabby personal items. They may also, when they finally decide to go out to buy a product, go without entirely because the item may no longer be available.

Here's when machines will take your job, as predicted by A.I. gurus

An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.

Photo credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP / Getty Images
Surprising Science

While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.

Keep reading Show less

A new study has investigated who watched the ISIS beheading videos, why, and what effect it had on them

This is the first study to explore not only what percentage of people in the general population choose to watch videos of graphic real-life violence, but also why.

Mind & Brain

In the summer of 2014, two videos were released that shocked the world. They showed the beheadings, by ISIS, of two American journalists – first, James Foley and then Steven Sotloff. Though the videos were widely discussed on TV, print and online news, most outlets did not show the full footage. However, it was not difficult to find links to the videos online.

Keep reading Show less