__/ [ Geico Caveman ] on Tuesday 09 May 2006 00:15 \__
> The Ghost In The Machine wrote:
>> But while the rest of Europe embraces the variety of
>> European languages, Britain seems bent on becoming
>> determinedly monolingual. A recent survey for the
>> European Commission revealed that two out of three
>> Britons are unable to speak a language other than
>> English. The number of students studying A-level French
>> has dropped by two thirds over the past 10 years.
>> Britons believe that there is really no need for them
>> to learn any other European language, when in the end
>> everyone aspires to speak theirs.
>> The parallels with Linux should be obvious -- and, to me at least,
>> slightly worrisome.
Intersting analogy, but much as in programming languages, only the syntax
varies. Once you know the priciples, all you ever need to do is memorise.
That is the observation made by many schools and colleges (or so I hope)
where priciples are embraced. Languages to be taught would not be Java or
.NET. Instead, a 'harder' langauge like C is needed. By incoprorating
certain 'barriers' such as pointers and recursions, it forces its user to
/understand/ computing and, thereafter, make rerasonable programming
Also see: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ThePerilsofJavaSchools.html
Turning to operating systems, the same rules apply. The look-and-feel
across platforms is fairly uniform, yet the better users (analogy for C
programmers) will get things done quicker by using utlities as such the
command-line and tailoring some handy scripts. Show me *one* Windows users
who need to wrestle with Ubuntu and Synaptic. It's just about knowing
application names (brands) and learning the new menu layouts (intra-O/S
Mind you, even the most experienced travel agents are using command-based
querying languages. It is not due to old habits. It is just more
expressive -- thus an effective way to working. It has an entry barrier
which is worth the investment and tells apart mediocres from
Returning to lanuguges, I have known people whose spoekn English was
splendid. As soon as they had to write an E-mail, boy O' boy. I hope you
can see how this relates to the issue of multi-liguistics. English, by the
way, is my second language.
> Hardly. English is the language of science, international finance,
> diplomacy, etc.
> Of all the European languages, if one had to pick one other than English,
> it would be Russian which would perhaps be worth learning because of the
> economic boom in Russia. French is little more than a hobbyist's language
> these days and unless you were travelling in certain parts of France,
> Africa or south east Asia, you wouldn't need it at all. German's golden age
> is past, thanks to Hitler, who kicked out the brightest scientific minds of
> the 20th century.
> It makes even more sense to learn an Asian language - maybe Chinese or a
> major Indian language. No, it is to no demerit of the British that its
> people refuse to learn other European languages - as a famous European once
> said, Europe is but a molehill, and these days, a very small one at that.
> There are no parallels with Linux other than refusing to implement some
> obscure protocol that users of a very rarely used operating system use.
> Linux is more like a British expat in America, who knows enough Chinese to
> get a meal in China, enough Kannada / Hindi to get a meal in India, enough
> Russian to get by in Russia and does not lose sleep over learning the finer
> points of French grammar.
Good post. I suppose the analogy for obscure 'protocols' (if it can at all
be called that) is street talk. You can't find it in the dictionary and
the only way to learn that is to get absorbed within the local society.
Then, there are also accents, dialects *and* behavioural subtleties or even
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