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Can we ever communicate effectively?

The log of an online event held by the Globewide Network Academy
at Lingua MOO on Tuesday, 15th September 1998, 5 PM New York, 10 PM London

Sue Thomas, Director of trAce, introduced the work of trAce and discussed the implications of creating an international cybercommunity of writers and readers based around the 'English' language. English speakers claim to share a common tongue, but it is used differently by Australians, Americans, Canadians and the British - not to mention those for whom it is a second or third language.

Can we ever communicate effectively?

The talk took place at the trAce room at LinguaMOO

Sue says, "Hello everyone and welcome to the trace meeting room at LinguaMOO."

Sue says, "I'd like to especially welcome those who have not attended a meeting like this before, and take a moment to explain the way we do things at this kind of event."

Sue says, "Sometimes online meetings are held to discuss work which has already been posted to the web, but others are like this one. In this case, the formal sections of my talk have been prepared beforehand and I will paste them to the screen in small paragraphs as if I were speaking to you direct. "

Sue says, "As you may know, it's wise to be short and snappy in virtuality, so I intend to introduce an issue, get some discussion going, and then move on to the next one. I will try to be clear where each section begins and ends, but please do feel free to ask questions whenever you like. I hope you don't find this process too slow."

Sue says, "I intend to break my talk on SHARING A COMMON LANGUAGE into 3 sections: 1/ an introduction to trAce and some words about what we are trying to achieve; 2/ a reference to some of the theoretical problems and issues around the idea of international community; and 3/ a real-life example of the kind of dilemmas we face in this new world. I am hoping that this last section will take the debate beyond theory and focus on practical solutions for some of the new problems caused by this new interface."

Rogerg arrives.

Sue says, "So before I start Section 1, does anyone have any questions?"

Sue listens for questions

Susan asks you to go just a little slower.

Sue says, "ok!"

Sue gives you time to scroll back - sorry

Rogerg goes up.

Helen nods. Ed is ready

Ian says, "is ready."

Sue looks around -- ok

Sue says, "I will paste a bit slower now!"

Sue says, "The trAce Online Writing Community brings together writers and readers from around the world to collaborate, exchange and discuss work, and share thoughts and ideas. The room you are inside at this moment is our virtual home, courtesy of LinguaMOO, and you will find here a tutorial designed to teach you the basic skills you need in order to be a MOOer, plus a series of virtual landscapes constructed for my lecture at Ensemble Logic and Choragraphy last month. After this meeting is over, please feel free to stay and wander around the trAce rooms and also the MOO as a whole. There are quite a few people here who can help you if you need it."

Carolyn arrives.

Rogerg arrives from Tutorial.

Sue says, "trAce is funded by the Arts Council of England but we have members in 18 countries around the world. Our principal language is English although for many of our members that is their second or third tongue. In the publicity for this talk I made the point that although we claim to use the 'English' language in trAce, and indeed in cyberspace, this does not necessarily mean that we actually understand each other. English speakers

claim to share a common tongue, but it is used differently by Australians,


Jan lost his connection and had to reconnect

Jan sits down quietly and listens to Sue

Sue says, "Just to make my point, I would be grateful if everyone here would speak up and tell us which is your FIRST language. And if it is English, please tell us which country it comes from - eg US ENGLISH - UK ENGLISH - AUS ENGLISH - CAN ENGLISH etc You don't need to wait for other people to speak, just type it in right now! If you're new, let me tell you that all you need to do is use a double speechmark " before your sentence, for example, I would type "UK English. So tell me, what is your FIRST language?"

Sue says, "UK english"

Ed says, "US English"

Jan says, "mine is Norwegian"

Ian US English

TinaS US English

Stan says, "Uk English."

Susan says, "us english"

Helen says, "UK English"

SamK says, "US ENGLISH"

Carolyn says, "uk u english"

olaf says, "Swedish"

Sue smiles.

Sue says, "no ozzies? that's a shame but I expect they are all tucked up in bed!"

Sue says, "Interesting! Quite a variety! Well, first of all let me say that even though the internet spreads across the world it is still quite unusual to have this kind of spread in an online gathering. It's ironic in many ways that even though the net is global, people still seem to prefer to be local. In Europe, for example, each country is busy creating its own online communities using its own first language - and this is wonderful and how it should be. But there is a downside. The human proclivity for xenophobia and stranger danger is as much in evidence on the internet as anywhere else. As fast as new virtual lands open up, people are fencing them off. And on the net the quickest and easiest way to do that is with language."

Sue says, "Pone come unica regola il rispetto dell'altro, mentre non pone vincoli tematici. "

Jan nods at Sue.

Sue says, "Si pu parlare di tutto, come in una piazza cittadina."

SamK says, "molto simpatico ;-)"

Sue says, "That's a description of Clarence WebChat - available in Italian, it seems. I could log on and chat - if only I could understand a damn word they are saying!"

Carolyn is impressed with sue's language ability!

Sue smiles at SamK.

Carolyn smiles at Sue.

Sue [to Carolyn]: cut and paste is a wonderful thing!

Sue says, "My point is that it's important we use the internet not just to strengthen our own local identities, but also to nourish and develop a sense of collaborative global culture. And this leads me to my second section, which is about how this is actually happening right now, and what it means. But first, does anyone have any points they'd like to raise from what I have said so far?"

Carolyn grins.

debbiegaunt arrives.

olaf says, "I guess I smile too"

Ed is set

Sue says, "carolyn asks how we overcome the language differences"

Carolyn says, "how can we overcome these differences in a text based medium?"

Ian says, "Interpretation programs?."

Gloria arrives.

Sue says, "maybe it is text that is the problem?"

olaf says, "look gloria"

Carolyn says, "but then we would have to resort to imagery and signs"

debbiegaunt says, "We need to develop a common language which is native to the medium "

Gloria says, "Hi, all!"

Sue says, "ok i will continue - hi gloria!"

SamK waves at debbiegaunt.

Sue says, "ah i missed the point about a common language - is that possible?"

debbiegaunt says, "Well, we all know what :-) means! "

Sue smiles at debbiegaunt.

Sue says, "you anticipate me!"

Ed says, "Esperanto has not been a wild success"

Carolyn says, "but :-) is somehwat limiting!"

Sue says, "i wonder why esperanto did not work?"

debbiegaunt says, "No, what we need to do is build on what we have. So far we're just at the primeval grunt stage!! "

Carolyn says, "can someone explain esperanto please?"

Stan says, "Esperanto was artificial. Language is naturally divisive, I'm afraid."

Ian says, "Quite honestly, Ian't say i've ever heard esperanto, other than it being the butt of jokes on Saturday night live"

Gloria says, "it's (Esperanto's) linguistic roots were not evenhandedly international. I am not sure but think it drew mainly from European languages."

Sue says, "has anyone here ever heard it? I haven't"

Ed says, "Esperanto is an attempt at a universally acceptable language"

Jan thinks perhaps Esperanto didn't become a success because people really want language diversity

debbiegaunt says, "I can put anyone interested in touch with an esperanto specialist..."

Susan says, "how about pigens and creoles?"

Gloria says, "Yes, I know an active Esperantist. I've heard it. It used words from Latinate roots and Slavic, among others."

Sue [to Susan]: ah- let me go onto the next part of my talk then!

Sue says, "I'd like to look now at some of the theoretical discussion which arises from this new international mingling of languages and cultures."

Sue says, "Gregory Ulmer, Professor of English at the University of Florida, has coined the term 'cyberpidgin'. I would like to look at this and think about whether it is a useful idea. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes pidgin as "a simplified speech used for communication between people with different languages." Ulmer takes this one step further - and uses much longer words! - to define cyberpidgin as: "a new vernacular syncretic discourse supportive of collective organization across the boundaries of different civilizations ."

debbiegaunt says, "Pidjin and creole are interesting examples of a common language evolving from diverse languages"

Sue smiles at debbiegaunt.

Sue says, "I think what he is saying is that people of different nations are talking to each other using new words and phrases which they all understand. They are developing a new mutually-agreed vocabulary, shared by speakers who have invented it together. And although his definition here makes no reference to the internet, it is clearly what he means. Elsewhere in the same essay he says "The web has the potential to be to a global socio-political formation."

Sue says, "How can we not agree? We, gathered here in this virtual room, and sharing a virtual timezone which places us all somehow in the same time and place even though we KNOW we are not.. we are undoubtedly part of a new social-political formation. So how are we going to handle it? How can we capitalise on this wonderful opportunity? Well, seems to me that what we need to do is sit right down on our virtual chairs and start talking. But the problem is --- we keep misunderstanding each others' words. And right now in this virtual meeting place, the trAce room at LinguaMOO, words are pretty much all we have."

Carolyn says, "surely the commercial world, advertising, gives us universal language to a degree?"

SamK has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove SamK.

Sue says, "Well, I say 'words' - but what I really mean is the range of vocabulary available to us on the keyboard. We don't have to type just the letters of the alphabet, but we can use numbers and symbols and punctuation marks too. Those of you who have read Mez's writing on the trAce mailing list, and certainly anyone who has ever used a smiley emoticon, will understand what I mean. "

Sue smiles :)

Sue frowns :(

debbiegaunt says, "\o/ hallelujah!"

SamK arrives.

Stan says, "I think you hit the nail on the head when you say we have formed our own group. We may develop our own little idiolect, but it won't be universal."

Carolyn says, "I've seen mez's writing, but it still has an english base"

Sue says, "ok - last sentence of this section.."

SamK was disconnected just like that ...

Sue says, "So let me pause now before we go on to the last section, and discuss the idea of a hybrid new language arising out of our communications on the net. What do you think? Can you offer examples of cyberpidgin? Does it even exist?"

Helen says, "BTW and ROTFL?"

Ed says, "btw"

Sue smiles at Helen.

Ed says, "afk"

debbiegaunt says, "IIRC"

Sue smiles at Ed.

Jan says, "brb :)"

Ian says, "Would culture and profession be the differenciators between dialect and jargon?"

Stan says, "Brb. Lol. IMO. I see these acronyms all the time and it took me a while to work them out."

Sue [to Ian]: can you say more on that?

olaf says, "Esperanto is not connected to any specific culture which probably is a drawback. Would that not be the case for Cyberpidgin as well?"

debbiegaunt says, "But there IS a culture emerging in cyberspace - or a number of cultures "

Sue [to olaf]: i suspect cyberpidgin is very american simply by virtue of numbers

Helen smiles at debbiegaunt.

Stan says, "Pidgin is linked to a specific culture - a culture where communication is necessary. It comes from the lingua franca used in China in the nineteenth century - a corruption of the word 'business'."

Ian says, "Well, doesn't dialect stay connected to a culture, either geographically or otherwise, while jargon is based upon common words used in a job or an area of expertise?"

Sue [to debbiegaunt]: do you have evidence? i am curious

SamK says, "Cyberpidging mifhrt well be connected to an international group of intellectuals, investors, irc maniacs etc ;-)"

Sue [to Stan]: that is a very useful point

debbiegaunt says, "How long a list of references do you want, Sue? ;)"

Sue smiles at debbiegaunt.

Sue says, "so we are agreed... cyberpidgin is real... and growing"

Sue says, "ok i will go on to the last section and then open up for discussion..."

Helen says, "does it include behaviours: like when to type in this situation and when to be quiet?"

Ed says, "at least parts of cyberpidgin are real"

Sue says, "i did not intend to do more than spark off the discussion.. so.."

Carolyn says, "but it's still not multilingual, doesn't allow for varying -ways- of writing text, like chinese and japanese, and arabic etc"

Sue [to Carolyn]: are you sure?

Sue [to Carolyn]: it uses the whole keyboard

Susan isn't sure i agree, but go on.

Carolyn nods at Sue.

Sue says, "Now we come on to the last section of my talk. This is an invitation to you to engage in a debate I sorely wished I could have had two years ago, but to hold it now is still better than nothing. I want to end by describing a dilemma we had at trAce, one which we agonised over for a long time, and one which still bugs me. It goes back to our early days when we had no funding and no huge international list, but were just a handful of Americans and Australians and a scattering of British."

Carolyn says, "but it's based on the english keyboard!"

Sue says, "The debate arose when we were establishing our online journal of culture and technology. It took us - that is, Simon Mills and myself - months and months to come up with a title for it. Eventually we chose one. But no sooner had we announced it than an American contributor threatened to withdraw his piece unless we changed the name. His particular area of work is with children's writing and he felt our journal title gave out the wrong message, and that users doing a search for it would come up with undesirable urls."

debbiegaunt says, "What was the name?"

Sue says, "We were uncertain. There didn't seem to us to be a problem with the title. We checked around, and found that a number of Americans (though not all) found the name rather inappropriate. And several were indeed worried by it for the reason quoted above."

Sue says, "We asked some Australians. Most recognized it in the same way as the Americans, but few were as worried. There was even some belligerence about keeping it so as to 'not allow Americans to dominate net culture'."

Sue says, "We asked around in England, only to receive wild guesses as to the meaning of the word, most of which were amusing but way wrong. Very few people, if any, saw the meaning the Americans and Australians saw."

Carolyn laughs.

Sue says, "At this point we were reminded of how so many English visitors to Spain had been amused but also rather repulsed by a brand of Spanish crisps (potato chips) called BUM and thought this must be a similar kind of cultural thing."

Sue laughs.

Sue says, "In the end we decided to go ahead with our choice of name, and the afore-mentioned contributor duly removed his article. But for the second issue, after much agonizing, we decided to change it. The pressure to try to create something internationally acceptable was just too much. We changed the title to frAme - which in fact we much prefer now. But the original name still bugs me, not because I thought it was especially good, but because of the dilemma it gave rise to."

Gloria says, "What was the name?"

SamK laughs.

Sue [to Gloria]: i am coming to that!

Sue says, "We thought we had chosen a title which portrayed the riff of technology running through the pieces we published; the underlying jazz rhythm of a culture in transition; the variations on a theme of virtual life."

Sue says, "But in America, they thought we were talking about hard drug abuse. We had called the journal FREEBASE. Not to them a playful music session, but a potentially lethal and illegal practise."

Sue says, "So I would like to end this talk by reminding you of where we began - the notion of SHARING A COMMON LANGUAGE - and then throwing open the debate: my question is, if you were in our position two years ago, what would you have done? Thanks for listening and I look forward to the discussion. Over to you"

Sue smiles.

Carolyn isn't surprised -at all-

Sue gets off her soapbox and sits down.

Carolyn hands sue a coffee

Jan claps at Sue.

Gloria Claps for Sue, too

Sue thanks carolyn - just what i needed.

Ed adds to the applause

Rogerg goes up.

Sue bows gracefully.

Ian thanks Sue

Sue says, "i want to leave plenty of time for discussion"

debbiegaunt says, "Interesting, Sue! Seems to me that part of the prob was lack of communication between all of you when the name was being chosen?"

Rogerg arrives from Tutorial.

Sue says, "so waht do you think?"

TinaS pats Sue on the back

SamK says, "I can see why FREEBASE created such a problem"

Helen says, "if the Spaniards wanted to sell their crisps in the UK/US they would have to change the name"

Stan says, "Caroline talked about this world being based on an English keyboard. In China and Japan, they all use English keyboards to input Chinese and Japanese characters. I suppose it is similar to the Europeans adopting Arabic numbers."

Carolyn says, "well, I think that story reflects why so much money is poured into corporate identity, why reseach and study is so important"

Carolyn says, "thanks stan, didn't realise that"

Sue [to debbiegaunt]: i see your point but naming things is often part of an intimate creative process

Susan doesn't see how this problem is substantially different than if you started an in-print journal that was meant for an international audience. cyberspace aside.

Ed says, "there are companies who do nothing but design interview with them might be informative"

Ian says, "Well, the Asians I think place a greater value upon understanding other cultures, especially American culture and english language. America DID help rebuild japan after WWII...."

Carolyn nods at Susan.

SamK says, "it is interesting on how they use the English language in Japan"

Sue [to Ian]: how does that work?

Stan says, "I had to write an article about international corporate identity. The phrase White Elephant, for instance, is a widely known brand name in China."

SamK says, "you can find magazines with names such as "With" ;-)"

Sue [to SamK]: the same question!

debbiegaunt says, "Isn't the key to look at how language is already being used in cyberspace where large numbers of people are communicating - usent, AOl etc?"

TinaS has disconnected.

Helen says, "the English language is rich enough that we can avoid problematic words, surely?"

Carolyn says, "how do I talk directly to someone here?"

Sue [to Carolyn]: type to carolyn

Carolyn says, "thanks"

Ed [to Helen]: you have to know what the words are before you can avoid them

SamK says, ""`name""

Ian says, "You're sort of right, It...America, in a way, gave itself eminent domain to rebuild Japan the way it saw fit, stripping it of its millitary power, etc. Thy tried to make it in their image."

Jan [to Carolyn]: type to jan and then the text

Sue [to debbiegaunt]: in that case.... are we dividing linguistically into net and non-net?

Helen says, "identifying such words is what the internet is brilliant at"

Susan says, "i saw a discussion about the name of a british journal that american objected to... it wasn't internet related at all."

debbiegaunt says, "to Sue yes, I think that is the case."

Helen says, "Identify the market and research it properly: basic business sense"

Sue [to Susan]: ours was net related, but it pointed up a growing problem

Stan says, "The information underclass - this seems to be a widely discussed theme."


| |

Jan holds up a BIG sign: | to person quote marks |


Ed says, "it seems that the general point is that the problem existed before but is amplified by the net!"

Helen nods at Ed.

debbiegaunt says, "Sorry, Jan - forgot I had Auto-say set :)"

Carolyn says, "as an artist myself, I feel the net tends to be very text based and could use more image-based comms if it were more accessible"

Sue says, "do you think it is true that..."

Jan smiles at debbiegaunt.

Sue says, "the net forces us to interact more with other cultures? or not?"

Tara unidles to say, "I've seen the net produce its own brand of language and communication. Community Jargon is quite common..."

Helen [to Carolyn]: as someone who came last in art I would hate to think I had to be able to draw to communicate!

debbiegaunt says, "The net *allows* us to interact with oother cultures"

Stan [to Sue]: I don't think we interact with other cultures - we have created our own.

Ed thinks that the net allows us to interact, but does not force us

Ed smiles at debbiegaunt.

Carolyn feels it is still very western and white (predominately) due to access and cost

Carolyn laughs at Helen.

Ed [to Carolyn]: how do you know it is white?

Tara [to Carolyn]: it is to some extent but its expanding.....

Carolyn nods at Stan.

Ian Wonders what Africa's place in the net will be, and agrees with Carolyn.

Sue [to Stan]: if we have created our own, will it expand until everyone knows it?

Tara [to Carolyn]: in terms of it being western

Sue says, "can i ask you all a question?"

Susan agrees that it is by default white if race is not represented... which it rarely is.

Ed listens to sue

Stan [to Sue]: I'm a pessimist as far as universalism is concerned. Language is naturally divisive.

Helen says, "different groups bring different jargon: one mailing list invents something, another picks it up..."

Carolyn [to Ed]: it's an assumption, but you only have to consider financial and socio-poloitcal statistics to make a guess

Susan says, "someone pointed out to me the other day that there is no one left-handed in moospace."

Sue says, "when you are talking together at times like this, are you conscious that you might be misunderstood?"

The housekeeper arrives to cart TinaS off to bed.

Sue says, "language/culture wise? do you guard against it?"

Helen says, "ever since the Ozzies queried autumn in the Ensemble discussion, yes!"

Carolyn says, "it's one of the few situations that being left handed is not a problem!"

Tara [to Sue]: Hrmmm..I don't ...but it would depend on what we were discussing?

Ed says, "yes, I attempt to pick my words carefully in a mixed group such as this"

Sue says, "ah! can you explain that to everyone helen?"

Stan says, "I think a lot of arguments in trAce have been caused by misunderstanding - people firing off replies without really thinking about them, or polishing them."

Ian This is the nature of MOOO, I guess, Sue, A fault of the technology.

Helen says, "the trouble is we don't know what words are a problem until it happens"

Carolyn has noticed that moos ae are rife with anti-USa people, or anti-brit, racism exists there too

debbiegaunt says, "If you move into a new community - even one with another language - you eventually get a grasp of the current language of the place. I've spent a lot of time in Arabic speaking countries. You have to learn the language used most there. But you have to spend a while listening, and even longer making mistakes!"

Tara [to Stan]: ah e-mail is a medium all its own... its easy to fly off the handle in email...

Ed says, "I was misunderstood all the time when I was new to the net"

Rogerg has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Rogerg.

Sue [to Ian]: is it a fault? or an opportunity?

Stan smiles at Tara.

Sue [to Ed]: in what ways were you misunderstood?

Helen says, "In the Ensemble discussion there were several descriptions of landscapes in autumn and winter, and we had to agree these were at diffferent times of year: winter was cold and dark to the Ozzies who never got snow, but to me it's bright and crisp (because I think of snow)"

Stan [to Tara]: I find it very difficult to get angry while I'm writing. It has always had such a calming effect on me.

Ian [to Sue]: It's an opportunity for an enterprising person to improve the environment, and for a push to hurry up increases in voice technology over the internet.

Ed says, "the most common misunderstandings were apparantly simple words with multiple common meanings in various cultures"

barbarasteinberg arrives.

Tara [to Stan]: oh on email i can get real.....peeved.... *snickers*

Sue says, "hi barbara!"

SamK waves at barbarasteinberg.

Helen [to Stan]: that's a useful trait in the trAce list!

Stan smiles at Helen.

barbarasteinberg says, "nice to be here"

Sue says, "so, do we share a common language? which bits are not common? and what do the scandinavians here have to say about the discussion?"

Sue smiles at olaf.

Sue smiles at Jan.

Jan says, "English works fine for me :)"

Stan [to Helen]: I like to think of myself as a calming influence on the list...

barbarasteinberg says, "in New York, I hear so many different ways of speaking English that I think an effort has to be made to have a common language"

Helen [to Stan]: I'm glad someone is

Sue [to Jan]: i can't let you get away with such an easy answer!

debbiegaunt says, "I think we are still in the process of constructing a common language. We're learning as we go along what works and what does not"

Jan says, "I'm looking at it in practical terms :)..."

barbarasteinberg says, "people have to want to have a common language"

Sue says, "i undrstand that in the US, spanish is fast beocming the main language"

Jan says, "English is the one language (besides Chinese) that will let me talk to most people on this planet :)"

Carolyn says, "perhaps it will have to evolve on it's own"

barbarasteinberg says, "if I did not understand Spanish, I'd miss half of what goes on in NY"

Stan says, "(showing off) I speak Chinese as well as English."

Sue [to Carolyn]: it can *only* evolve - you cant force it

Sue [to Stan]: go on then, say something in chinese!

Carolyn [to Sue]: no, I will become a necessity

Ed says, "Spanish is only common in larger cities in the US, at this point"

Ian [to Sue]: It (spanish) is more popular in high schools than french, or german, wfrom what I've seen.

barbarasteinberg says, "Does a common language come when people have a will to communicate?"

Jan says, "However, that does not mean that it's more important to me than, say German, or's a practical thing, mostly"

olaf says, "Is the problem/possibilities with common language different online from offline?"

Carolyn [to Sue]: sorry, misread that...not isn't that strange?

Stan says, "Difficult to type with English operating system! This is a transliteration. Wo hen gaoxing.""

Carolyn smiles.

SamK says, "many people perceive the net as an attempt to international economic and cultural domination, so there are bound to be efforts to use language to separate and defend what is uis perceive as an identity"

Sue smiles at Stan.

Ed says, "Isn't it as simple as the fact that we will not have a common language until we all converse in a commonality...and the net has that potential...does it not?"

Gloria says, "Gung hai fat choy."

Sue [to SamK]: that is a very good point

Tara says, "Where i live Portuguese is a big language."

Stan [to Sue]: But this transliteration is exactly what a Chinese person would type to get the Chinese characters on his computer screen.

Sue [to Ed]: how would you define a commonality?

Carolyn [to Ed]: yes, but surely there are some that don't even use it because it is so english dominated?

barbarasteinberg says, "we had an incident on my list when a german man wrote a long message about internet and depression and someone got nasty when the german man did not understand his reply"

Sue [to Stan]: do chinese people object to that or is it no problem to them?

Helen says, "some governments are resisting the English whether it is a good idea for their people or not"

barbarasteinberg says, "I laced into them about the fact that we cannot use technology to divide people based on native language"

Ed [to Sue]: a venue that is easy to use in which anyone and everyone is connected often

Stan [to Sue]: I think after fiddling around with the cumbersome Chinese typewriter for over a 1000 years, they are quite happy to find something which is much simpler.

debbiegaunt says, "Stan, that is not true of Arabic "

Sue says, "i was told recently something which depressed me a bit..."

Sue says, "that here i am, offering to connect english people to the world and..."

Carolyn thinks it is important to remember we here are in a minority, very people have never had access to the net, or the desire to do so

Sue says, "you know what? they don't really WANT to be connected to the world!"

Sue throws up her hands in despair

Jan grins at Sue.

Tara [to Sue]: What?

debbiegaunt says, "Some of us do, Sue!"

Sue says, "they accuse me of being 'too mid-atlantic'!"

barbarasteinberg says, "my husband is Irish, he would laugh at that :-)"

Sue args

Ian [to Sue]: Well, there is a stereotype here that English people are snooty, stuck-up and self-concerned.

Ed [to Sue]: but that will change immediately when it is an advantage to do so

Helen rolls around on the floor.

Susan says, "mid-atlantic?"

Gloria says, "I know, Sue. For two years I've been setting up world lit. discussion with people from the home city of the author/poet. Hardly anybody shows up."

barbarasteinberg says, "that's really interesting"

Carolyn [to Sue]: it's a free world! they can choose! and anyway, do we want such people here?

Carolyn grins.

Sue [to Ian]: too damn right sometimes!

Sue [to Gloria]: rthat sounds like a good idea

barbarasteinberg says, "do you think it is the fear of change?"

Gloria says, "I mean, a facilitator will sort of lead the talk about the writer and may have special insights, being from that city or region."

Helen says, "my family tell me to get a life: why aren't I watching the new vampire series..."

Ian [to Sue]: I can't speak for everyone in my country, but to me, prejudice is the dumbest thing in the world. Besides it's so much easier to hate people on an individual basis.

Carolyn nods at barbarasteinberg.

barbarasteinberg says, "if they opened themselves up to the outside world through online life, would they have to give up their way of thinking?"

SamK [to debbiegaunt]: how about Arabic countries?

Sue smiles at Ian.

Helen says, "as if that's any more social. Yet I get to talk to wonderful people from round the globe. perhaps things will change in the Uk soon but maybe not!"

Carolyn nods at Ian.

Gloria says, "We have done: haiku with Miyan from Japan leading (excellent job by Miyan), Dostoievsky with Andrzej, Celine with Michel from Paris..."

SamK [to debbiegaunt]: I remember reading about teenagers using the net for dating

debbiegaunt says, "I'm going to have to wish you all goodnight - had a long day at uni today. Sue, this has been really interesting - I'll look at the transcript when Sam posts it"

Jan waves at debbiegaunt.

Sue [to debbiegaunt]: thanks for coming

Carolyn [to SamK]: they do...

SamK waves at debbiegaunt.

Sue waves at debbiegaunt.

Gloria waves at debbieg, too

Sue [to Gloria]: that sounds like a marvellous idea

debbiegaunt has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove debbiegaunt.

Carolyn [to SamK]: and adults too!

Ed reminds everyone that connecting to the web/net takes effort....and if there is not a clear return of some kind the effort will not be made

Ian waves at debbiegaunt

Sue [to Ed]: but the return is connectivity

Carolyn [to Ed]: what do you mean?

Ed [to Sue]: to some, that is not importatn

SamK says, "I did not mean teenagers in general I meant in Arabic countries where society is not supportive for that ... they will advance the Internet use in the next 5-10 yesr"

Gloria says, "But, as you were saying, if there's no $$ or school credit, they just won't do it. Miyan got a fairly good attendance but the others not so good."

Carolyn nods at SamK.

Ed [to Carolyn]: some people see the net as just a big bother....

Gloria says, "I even made distribution lists to Comp Lit departments and language groups. Zippo."

Carolyn [to Ed]: isn't that because the technology is presently so slow, and time consuming?

Helen nods at Ed.

Sue [to SamK]: you have a lot of knowledge oif this since you run the GNA-VC list - can you tell us the spread of languages on the list? and countries?

Helen commiserates with Gloria

Sue consoles gloria

Susan needs to slip away. thanks.

Carolyn wonders what the gna list is?

Susan goes home.

SamK says, "to be honest I have not actually counted but we are in every continent ..."

barbarasteinberg says, "my friend who is a network icon has a bumper sticker that says Question Reality. A hang gliding pilot friend of mine who is rarely on the net, has a bumper sticker that says Question Gravity. I thought this was a nice contrast between someone who lives a virtual life and someone who lives a real one."

Gloria says, "I have good notes made by Miyan on the haiku. He even had a big ascii map of Japan and showed "the wanderings of Basho"..."

SamK says, "the only language problem we had is the post in DUtch earlier this year"

Sue smiles at barbarasteinberg.

Gloria says, "Thanks, Sue!"

Gloria thanks everybody for commiserating

Ed [to Carolyn]: so many people just don't see why they should bother...people who know nothing of speed or any other problem

Sue [to SamK]: that was interesting - can you tell them about it?

Sue [to Gloria]: next time, maybe trAce can help

barbarasteinberg says, "I think the ultimate purpose of virtual communities is to stop war"

barbarasteinberg says, "when people start talking to each other, prejudices break down and it is harder to hate"

Gloria [to Sue]: I'm still willing to try more, believe me! They are wonderful!!

barbarasteinberg says, "and you stop war one person at a time"

Sue says, "stop war - now that would be good!"

Carolyn [to Ed]: I still think it's an access issue, and bad press by the media, tho that is changing slowly

SamK says, "I had posted a number of news items and someone in Holland replied in Dutch ... I never found out the content"

Ed [to barbarassteinberg]: until our language is misunderstood...then the war starts

Helen says, "In a way it's the assumptions and the language people use that makes the Net such a window on the world"

barbarasteinberg says, "yes, Ed, that's a good point"

Ian says, "Is it chinese or Japanese that has a character for every word?"

SamK says, "I then asjked the list members whether we should allow a language other than English"

Ed smiles at barbarasteinberg.

Tara says, "I have to go....thanks for having me Sue. Nice to see you all. especially Helen and Ed:) *snugs*"

Sue smiles at Tara.

Ed waves at Tara.

Tara hugs Sue in a warm and loving embrace.

Sue says, "thanks for coming tara"

Ian waves at tara

Helen [to Tara]: bye see you again?

SamK says, "we compromised to allow other languages but require translation ;-)"

Carolyn waves at Tara.

Stan [to Ian]: Chinese has a character for every word, almost. Characters are combined to make new words. Japanese has an advantage: it has both characters and something akin to an alphabet.

Sue says, "maybe we should wind up.. it's nearly the hour - but which hour?"

Sue laughs.

Sue laughs.

Tara [to Helen]: hep i'll try to be around more often.

Gloria waves at Tara and hopes to see her again.

Ed . o O ( relative hour :) )

Tara hugs Gloria in a warm and loving embrace.

Tara leaves for The Learning Hall.

SamK [to Sue]: great meeting!

olaf says, "Thanks Sue!"

Sue [to SamK]: thanks for organising it!

Gloria waves to all. I agree--great meeting!


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