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I just doubt: will there still exist the so-called indigenous knowledge in 100 years? Globalization is everywhere.

Anyway it is time for me to imagine.
The most significant knowledge I want to pass on is our dialect. You know in China there are thousands kinds of Chinese.

Though we write the same way, our pronunciation is totally different from place to place. For example , in Wenzhou, people who live 10 miles away from each other will have no sense of what the other talk about.

Since mandarin is the only official language, more and more children have no idea how to talk with dialect. That is a disaster for the diversity of language.

I will be more than happy to teach dialect when I am 100. Our beautiful local dialect is the first idea I want to pass on.

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Comment by Benjamin Michael Jones on April 23, 2010 at 1:00pm
A nice idea, but would you not say that things like 'Dialect' simply increase the gap between humans. In reality a more global language would be far more unifying and then dialects of historic languages would be something novel to learn, much like a hobby?
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 23, 2010 at 1:20pm
Oh, I disagree entirely, Benjamin-- it's great to have a language in common with other people, but it's awful to lose a language and all the unique things you can express with it. A language carries with it an entire way of looking at the world. It carries its history and its special forms of creative expression. Consider all the thousands of years of wisdom in Eskimo languages about arctic weather and snow types-- or the way how you express yourself in Aborigine languages depends on how you're oriented with respect to the compass.

I know only English and Czech, two languages belonging to the same language group, so fairly closely related-- and yet there are so many things that I can say in one language and not the other. There is so much literature and both languages which can never be adequately translated.

I may not be able to learn many more languages before I die, but I truly believe the adage of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk: Kolik jazyků umíš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.
My loose translation: Your humanity is multiplied by the number of languages you know.
Comment by Benjamin Michael Jones on April 23, 2010 at 10:26pm
Wow - that is a superb thought! Thanks for providing me a new perspective. Enjoyed that one!
Comment by Meira Datiya on April 26, 2010 at 7:37pm
I agree Sarah, your humanity is multiplied by the number of languages you know. Because each and every language provides you a connection with the people, the land, their culture, religion and more. If you are connected to people in this way then you can relate to them in everything. And if you know more languages you relate to others in everything they know as well.
Comment by ninmah on May 13, 2010 at 9:03pm
I support you, Miaomiao, for wanting to preserve something as cherished as your language. Sarah, I like the way you expressed your point of view (I also happen to agree) and I very much like the saying "Your humanity is multiplied by the number of languages you know."

Props to Benjamin, too, for being open to new perspectives!

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