Disappointment -- No soul? LO11994

John Constantine (RAINBIRD@TRAIL.COM)
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 09:49:58 -0800

Replying to LO11944 --

Mnr A de Lange makes a most interesting point regarding the difficulties
in communication among and between peoples, and expresses a worry:

"But I also have this other worry nagging at me. The more English becomes
the super lingua franca of all the cultures in the world in order to
communicate information on the lower levels of complexity, the more
difficult it becomes for people of the English culture to steer its power
to open up dialogue in the higher levels of complexity. In other words,
the price to be paid for having English spoken all over the world by all
its peoples, mostly as their second language, is not to be able any more
to speak to English people on all that matters, especially the soul."

When speaking of English as the super lingua franca, which it someday
might be (note the word might), are we seeing the variety inherent in the
english language itself? So much has come down to us from earlier cultures
who themselves proclaimed universal sovereignty. In the western world, the
Greeks, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Turks...all had their own mastery
over the world they occupied, or at least thought they did. All had, and
still have, great influence on what was and is being spoken as language
today. The languages of europe came from the latin, which was influenced
by the greek and other languages. Hence the term Romance languages. Each
of these, not to mention the languages of the East, is continually being
shaped, added to, and adjusted for use by the "main" culture as it meets
with, integrates, collides with, and is refined by those cultures who are
touched by it.

Is English (UK) to be the lingua franca? Or is it American english?
American english now contains so many references to other cultures that
enrich its use, that the citizens of this multicultured rainbow society
would be hard pressed to part with, assuming it had to be done, in order
to retain the essence or the germ of soulful expression. IMO, this is as
it should be, with no great harm done by using the beauty of those other
languages to form new expressions and new ways of being soulful. This
would not IMO create a Tower of Babel situation, but rather one which
retains the beauty of the various cultures, and still allows for
meaningful discussion between cultures. We are all humans on this planet
after all. We should be able to find ways to effectively communicate.

Some expressions cannot be translated, such as many common to spanish,
portuguese, native americans and other citizens. Yet they carry a great
deal of soulful expression. Certain musical elements express great meaning
without the need for explanation; witness samba, northern mexican, gaelic,
welsh, russian, german, Indian, Japanese and so on and on. This often is
the basis for the soulful expression...the essential "sound" that is
heard. The words use the same sound elements in different languages to
accomplish the same end...soulful expression.

I'm not worried about the potential impact of a super lingua franca...we
have plenty of protection against the ruination of soulful expressions
within all cultures. What we may need though is more openness to learning
at some depth the languages of others, to "feel" what they feel when they
converse. That is possible now. What do others think? (And...sorry for the


Regards, John Constantine rainbird@trail.com Rainbird Management Consulting PO Box 23554 Santa Fe, NM 87502 http://www.trail.com/~rainbird "Dealing in Essentials"

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