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Re: Multiligualism as the norm?

> But before leaping to speculation about causes: Can we agree on some
> factual base. Do most of the earth's 6 billion today live in bi- or
> multi-lingual situations? I'm not sure they do.

> dear Houston Wood,

When I researched for my project (the sentence: 'Please, teach me ...'.  - 50
languages of coutries not represented at the Venice Biennial)  I was surprised
about the fact that most (non European) people I asked did speak several
languages. One of the surprising effect was that not everybody admitted right
away to the fact of their multi-lingualism: only when I explained my project did
they come forward with their other /mother/ tongues.... I had the impression as
if they felt that it wouldn't be the right thing to know... some kind of hidden
embarassement for this vernacular language...
of course, the more prestigious the language they knew the less there was a
problem with admitting to know it....

also, Jean Calvet's book -- Language Wars ... : see also my biography:
www.ganahl.org -- gives some really interesting examples of people that were
hiding their 'other' language : for example: Arabic in France for reasons of

but there is also another thing to point out: namely the fact that people do
speak even in monolingual contexts a range of different 'languages' according to
whether it is professional, intimate and so on....