Re: Saving the ethnosphere

From: William Benzon (
Date: Mon Apr 29 2002 - 19:12:18 BST

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    Subject: Re: Saving the ethnosphere  
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    on 4/28/02 11:44 PM, Philip Jonkers at wrote:

    > The less languages around the less potential confusion will be brought about
    > by people trying to communicate
    > as the probability increases that they speak the same language. Extinction
    > of redundant languages is a natural
    > process in an environment with progressive global communication.
    > Trying to intervene in this natural process, in the sense of trying to
    > preserve superfluous languages, to me seems to
    > be as artificial as genetic engineering is to biological evolution. A
    > difference between the two being that, unlike the latter, the former lacks
    > possible benefit other than one of sentimental and/or historic value.
    > Phil.
    I gather then, that you approve of these "natural" events:

    > It is not change that threatens the ethnosphere; it is power. Dynamic
    > living cultures are being destroyed because of political and economic
    > decisions made by outside entities. In the upper reaches of the Orinoco,
    > a gold rush brings disease to the Yanomami, killing a quarter of the
    > population in a decade. In Nigeria, pollutants from the oil industry so
    > saturate the floodplain of the Niger River, homeland of the Ogoni, that
    > the once fertile soils can no longer be farmed. That such conflicts
    > result from deliberate choices made by men is both discouraging and
    > empowering. If people are the agents of cultural loss, we can also be
    > the facilitators of cultural survival.

    The general problem is a deep and difficult one and I certainly don't know
    how to deal with it. But your comment indicates that you are a mindless


    William L. Benzon 708 Jersey Avenue, Apt. 2A Jersey City, NJ 07302 201 217-1010

    "you won't get a wild heroic ride to heaven on pretty little sounds"--george ives

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