Path Toward Peace – Step Nine

Resolving the impediments induced by the multiplicity of languages


Ever been in a foreign country, not knowing their language?

Ever fallen in love with someone and couldn’t use words to express that love in their native tongue?

Ever wondered if translations really get the meaning across?

From MarketWatch: Across Systems to Demonstrate New Language Portal Solution

From the Korea Times: Book Reviews Loss of Native Languages

From the Kansas City Star: Learning a new language: It’s a small world after all

From WikiAnswers: “Scientists have counted approx. 6500 languages, half of which are, however, threatened to die off soon, as they are no longer passed on. Not counted in above figure are pure sign-languages or computer-languages.”

Also not counted are the multitude of business, political, religious, and neighborhood jargons and slangs.

Is a global language necessary?

Would having to learn your native language and a global language be too hard for people?

Again, is translation a guarantee that understanding has occurred?

What are some of the difficulties you’ve  experienced because of different languages?

Have a look at a slide presentation about the difficulties of learning another language.

Bottom line: Understanding each other is a major contributor to being at peace with each other…

Spiritual Quotes:

“The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 249

“The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.

“A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 155

“A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolving this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

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Language That Deceives

No particular news focus today except the language it uses. I scanned Google News at 11:50 p.m. GMT. Bold/Underlines are the language in question.

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes:
From the Daily Times of Pakistan: Musharraf’s impeachment dominates PA session “PML-Q’s Amir Sultan Cheema said the president had the right to defend himself against the impeachment motion. He praised Nawaz Sharif as a humble man, but added that Nawaz seemed to be under the influence of Asif Zardari.”

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes/facts:
From the Telegraph of the United Kingdom: John Edwards admits to lying about affairHe stated he had not been in love with Ms Hunter, an obscure film-maker”

Words commonly used to make unsubstantiated statements sound true while not referencing sources:
From the Associated Press: Security tightens more as Olympics get under way “On Thursday, a videotape purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a militant group seeking independence for Xinjiang, was released with threats of attacks during the Olympics. The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.”

An example of the right way to attribute statements:
From Agence France-Presse: Hundreds attend anti-coup rally in Mauritania “Abdahalli’s daughter said Friday she was concerned about her father’s safety and security.
“I am worried about my father’s health and safety given that he has not been freed,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.”

I’m not trying to say these stories are completely devoid of truth. I’m pointing out that, even in a story with a lot of research behind it, there can be subtle (or not so subtle) traps for an unwary reader. Politics has taken this twisted art to unbelievably unrefined heights !

Today’s spiritual quote, concerning newspapers and written in the 19 Century, is completely valid for the swift transmission of news on the Internet:

“The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 39

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