21 August 2010

Trapped in the Anglosphere

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Martin Kettle thinks the UK has lost sight of next door Europe, trapped as Brits are in their Anglo-centric internet.

“It is hard to recall a time when the national, not just the London, mind was less informed about or engaged with Europe than it is today. Europe may still be this country’s major export market. Millions may still take holidays there. Our football teams may still battle for the glamour of being “in Europe”. In the larger sense, though, being in Europe has never impinged less.” […]

The online information age, which should, in theory, have been expected to facilitate greater mental and cultural pluralism and thus, among other things, greater familiarity with European languages and cultures, has, in practice, had the reverse effect. The power of the English language, at once our global gift and our great curse, discourages us from engaging with those – the 93% of the world who speak some other first language than English and the 75% who have no English of any kind – outside the all-conquering online Anglosphere.”

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