Why do people persist in predicting that text is on the way out? In a recent article in Packet called The Wordless Web Michael Schrage wrote "... language is going to play less and less of a role as the Web becomes more and more global ... we will slowly see a shift from language-centric to icon centric communication". Such is Schrage's answer to the fact that the network will never be truly global so long as several different languages co-exist. Rather than advocate the universalisation of one language to the detriment of all others, he imagines the fading out of language use. Schrage misses the point. The problem may well not be overcoming the barrier of multiple languages to global communication but rather in the belief that a global network, other than technically, can exist. Major advocates of the globalness of the Internet are those who seek to have what Schrage calls in the same article "global Web commerce". Maybe business can be done uniquely via icons, but commerce is not the only thing that is important in the world. The exchange of ideas will always need words. On a social level the Net will never be global ... so much the better. "Vive la diversité"
Alan McCluskey, Saint-BlaiseShare or comment
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