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#20223 02/26/01 07:28 PM
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curmudg Offline OP
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In the academic world, scholarly publications are intended for worldwide scrutiny. For this to happen, the language of publication must be one that is generally known to the discipline. Time was, every learned person knew Latin. But that time is gone. Time was, most scientific publication was in French. German had its heyday. It helps to know Russian. Knowledge of French and German remains valuable. But more and more, most of what is written appears in English, either immediately, or in translation. Scientific English is robust: authors whose native language is not English can get away with all sorts of grammatical errors without much harm to the intelligibility of their message. It is accessible, since so many people know English in any case. In no language is scientific expression particularly rich in wordplay, so little is lost in the shift to English.

The languages of the world are a treasure trove of ways of seeing and savoring. But science is already its own language and nothing much is lost if most scientific publication is in English. Convenience is gained. Thus I welcome this part of a trend which, taken as a whole, has minuses as well as pluses.


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But science is already its own language and nothing much is lost if most scientific publication is in English. Convenience is gained.

I agree. However, there is one major drawback. As many scientists publish in English only, even if it is not their mother tongue, scientific languages other than English do not develop further. This may result in problems in teaching science. More and more english words are used untranslated in other scientific languages.

Therefore, I prefer those journals which are bilingual. However, there are only a few of those.



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