17.624 linguistic and cultural provincialism

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Feb 10 2004 - 03:57:27 EST

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 624.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

   [1] From: Elisabeth Burr <elisabeth.burr@uni-duisburg.de> (80)
         Subject: Re: 17.618 linguistic and cultural provincialism

   [2] From: DrWender@aol.com (15)
         Subject: Re: 17.622 linguistic and cultural provincialism

         Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 08:28:00 +0000
         From: Elisabeth Burr <elisabeth.burr@uni-duisburg.de>
         Subject: Re: 17.618 linguistic and cultural provincialism

We should be conscious that the problem Tito Orlandi raises has serious
consequences for the reviewing of proposals to our conferences, as well.
Even if we cannot overcome the plague of monolingualism in just a few
days, we need to do something very urgently about people in our field be-
coming more aware of these cultural and scholarly differences. At the sa-
me time, people who work in our field but whose native language is not the
present lingua franca need to get more involved in our scholarly organisations.

Elisabeth Burr

At 08:52 07.02.2004 +0000, you wrote:
> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 618.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
> www.princeton.edu/humanist/
> Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu
> Date: Sat, 07 Feb 2004 08:36:47 +0000
> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
> >
>Tito Orlandi, in Humanist 17.611, has rightly complained about a very old
>problem in our new field: that we whose native tongue is the current lingua
>franca (note that expression, please) remain largely trapped within the
>bounds defined by language. Referring to the ongoing debate about
>humanities computing science vs humanities computing, he asks, does "it
>sound reasonable that an HC(S) scholar should know the humanistic culture
>'at large', and not only one branch of it"? This is, of course, a
>rhetorical question, but one that needs asking, and asking again and again.
>But I wonder, in practical terms what can be done about it, given the
>academic resources we have? We can all imagine the alternatives and sort
>through them. What is utterly unacceptable, I would suppose, is a dismissal
>of the problem.
>One of the problems, that is. A more vexing consequence of Babel is the
>untranslatability of linguistic cultural idioms, including the academic. It
>is a possibility, is it not, that work done in one academic culture may
>simply not be relevant to work on the same topic in another because the
>assumptions, means and terminology are too different -- i.e. that there are
>really two topics, not one? In philosophy, for example, we know the
>difficulties of bridging Anglo-American and Continental European traditions
>-- take the case of Heidegger, for example. Yes, this is a special case,
>given Heidegger's intimate play with untranslatable aspects of the German
>language, but they are only the beginning of the problem, for which see
>George Steiner's masterful struggle to come to terms with Heidegger in his
>book of that name. (Note that Steiner is completely fluent in English,
>German and French at minimum.) More controversial, I suppose, are the
>difficulties posed by the many attempts to bridge Anglo-American and French
>literary critical traditions. The French mathematician and philosopher of
>science Pierre Duhem infamously distinguished between French and English
>ways of thought in La Théorie physique (1914) when he proposed two
>corresponding kinds of scientific mind and so two kinds of theory: abstract
>and systematic (French, clearly) vs. the sort that relies on mechanical
>models. Even if he was only pointing to the way people think they think,
>their persistence in thinking that way is strong.
>Furthermore, quite apart from the worthy question and constant source of
>guilt for a great many of us, how we cure the plague of monolingualism, the
>idea that knowledge is some sort of permanent stuff that one can
>accumulate, and that therefore topics can be "done" once and for all, needs
>a sharp look. If they cannot, then what are we doing?
>Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
>Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
>7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

PD Dr. Elisabeth Burr
Fachbereich 10
Frankoromanistik und Italoromanistik
Universität Bremen
28359 Bremen

Tel. +49 421 218-8236

         Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 08:28:56 +0000
         From: DrWender@aol.com
         Subject: Re: 17.622 linguistic and cultural provincialism

In einer eMail vom 09.02.04 23:55:27 (MEZ) Mitteleuropäische Zeit schreibt

>To eliminate the "plague" we might use a common language. In Science it is
>mathmatics. Physics and Engineering, widely used, are dialects of
>scientific language. These provide a known, world wide commonality for us
>to work with.

Yet I can't say in English "disjunkte Zerlegung" without the
help of a specialized dictionary, actually not knowing if
"disjunctive decomposition" - a combination of the 2 word to
word translations in my pocket dictionnary - means the same
as the german term (ein Begriff der Mengenlehre - a term
from set theory). After consultation of
I'm in doubt if not 'disjoint dissection' would be better?

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