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By: Paul Cretu http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2487 Mon, 24 Jul 2006 07:38:55 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2487 Balkanization …. is this a pejorative term? At least sound like one.
Why didn’t you use “fragmentization”, “division” or any other word? This word sounds to me kind of xenophobic and racist.

Regards,
Paul

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By: Colin http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2486 Sun, 05 Sep 2004 20:18:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2486 The real coding and filtering problem, if you ask me, is language, and the ones building walls around ourselves are the Americans. Us, I mean.

The rest of the world, or at least the educated classes in the rest of the world, have a much higher rate of multilingualism than we do. Our ideas flow out and get reverse engineered and come in the form of Chinese brand-name knockoffs. We wring our hands about how to stop this process, but we have made only feeble attempts to establish a reciprocal flow.

There is multibillion-dollar industry that addresses that fact, too (LISA). People who are able to connect different linguistic spheres, whom I like to call “blogalizers,” are the intellectual property privateers who threatens to make of the English-speaking Internet an “island, entire of itself” within a few decades. If we don’t do something about this, our intelligence will continue to fail. As long as these dangerous people are around (traduttore traditore) to join forces with the global smartmob of privacy geeks, no technical balkanization of the kind enforced from a power center (e.g., the Great Firewall) can completely succeed.

To give a dramatic example: did you know that the Iraqi insurgency blogs? In Arabic, thanks to Unicode? Or at least one faction of the loosely tied groups that seem to be sharing tips on where those ammo dumps we never secured are located. And do you know who hosts its blog? They have a paid account at Blogspot, so presumably their data flows into a server farm somewhere near you. And they know who Larry Lessig is, too. Do we know what they are all about? And what might be happening right now if we did?

Or to give a more familiar example: Indian software engineers who made piles of hard currency with their H-1 visas — and deservedly so, as we could never have done all this without them — and then leveraging that hard currency into investments that created the IT outsourcing industry. And what are they doing now? They are back home figuring out ways to localize programming tools for Indian languages, and negotiating partnerships with the Chinese — in English, presumably. It’s called glocalization, the latest bit of consultant-speak.

I predict that the language of the future will be a second language. Any second language will be better than none. Those that lack linguistic resources will be imposing balkanization on themselves. But you know this already: You are working on International Commons, right?

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By: Anonymous http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2485 Fri, 20 Aug 2004 23:38:45 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2485 Sprint plans on offering cell phones that feature TV broadcasts sometime this week. Here’s the trick–no one is going to pay to see reruns of “Friends” on the two-inch screen of their cell phone, but Sprint is banking the investment on the fact that lots of people will pay to see their local weather, traffic reports, or watch their local sports team score almost in real time. Doesn’t this just show that technology will be utilized for interests and well, most interests are local?

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By: C�dric http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2484 Fri, 20 Aug 2004 19:59:51 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2484 If one assumes the process you describe is true, does balkanization drive out the cyberspace? I think twe two are superposed: OK we usually navigate in the same zones (balkans) but we still can go elsewhere!

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By: WJM http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2483 Thu, 19 Aug 2004 11:26:13 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2483 “Learning any language is difficult, even if it�s as easy as Esperanto.”

This is the biggest myth that has ever been foisted on the education system and popular culture.

Learning your first non-native language, esp. as an adult, can be challenging, but the right teacher should find what works for you. Especially if that teacher is you.

Learning your second is dead easy.

Learning your first non-native language is as much about learning how to learn language as it is about learning French/Arabic/Ibo. Once your language brain starts breaking out of the chains of unilingualism, it just wants more, more more.

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By: Chip Unicorn http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-balkanization-of-the-inter/#comment-2482 Thu, 19 Aug 2004 01:42:47 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_balkanization_of_the_inter.html#comment-2482 About Esperanto:

I agree that an easy-to-learn, international, non-national language would be extremely helpful to prevent the split-up of the Internet into national networks. I agree that Esperanto is the best choice for such a goal. (I should also note that I’m learning it through “http://www.lernu.net” and I have an Esperanto-language blog at “http://www.livejournal.com/users/chipuni_eo/”)

BUT…

Learning any language is difficult, even if it’s as easy as Esperanto. And since so much of the world’s money is controlled by English-speaking people, most of the world is drawn more to English than Esperanto. Whichever languages have the strongest economic incentives will get the most people learning them.

In short, I don’t expect an Esperanto-speaking world in our lifetime.

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