Here is a map with London and Istanbul on it. In between them are many countries with at least six majority languages (and that's a low count, where some people would lynch me for saying that their language is the same as the one their neighbor speaks). Los Angeles and Tijuana on the other hand are two cities right by a border, and the only languages commonly spoken between them is English, the language of the USA, and Spanish, the language of Mexico.

I understood solipsist's argument to mean that Americans can be excused for being ignorant of other languages because most of them live too far from other linguistic communities, and pointed at the mutual closeness of European countries for contrast, implying that it's likelier to find a Turkish-speaking Brit than a Spanish-speaking American.

What I tried to say was that there was no need to artificially inflate the comparison distance by choosing Istanbul. Londoners can find speakers of a completely different language by merely driving to Cardiff. But the U.S. is not a monolingual bloc of homogeneity either: ironically, solipsist chose New York for his example, a multilingual smorgasbord if ever there was one.

Open thread, Nov. 23 - Nov. 29, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read23rd Nov 2015258 comments

5


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