The OF Blog: A quote to reflect on afterward

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A quote to reflect on afterward

Even though it is the demise of earthly forests that elicits our concern, we must bear in mind that as culture-dwellers we do not live so much in forests of trees as in forests of words.  And the source of the blight that afflicts the earth's forests must be sought in the word-forests - that is, in the world we articulate.

Neil Evernden, The Natural Alien 

This quote is the epigraph to Ch. 1 of K. David Harrison's The Last Speakers:  The Quest to Save the World's Most Endangered Languages.  Engrossing read right now.  More on it later.  Just thought it'd be something worth considering and perhaps responding to in terms of what you make of this quote.  I often put quotes like this (earlier this week, I used a Bruce Lee quote) to open as conversation starters for the daily writing journals that my students are required to write.


Walter Rhein said...

We could start by actually teaching foreign languages in American high schools. I was visiting one today and they were using "grammar diagrams" to illustrate the parts of speech. I asked, "well, if you'd studied a foreign language, they'd have told you all this stuff then!" The students and the teacher just gave me blank stares...pitiful.

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite reviewer habit: "Amazing book, like nothing I've read before! Beautifully written! Really made me think and stuck with me for days after! Three out of five stars."

Oh, and to Walter's comment, have also seen this one:
"Amazing book (etc.)! It was a little hard for me to read because English is my second language. Maybe if I spoke fluent English, I'd give it five stars. Three out of five stars."

Finally, I'd also love it if reviewers would realize how little control authors have over the cover and/or back-cover copy. It's fair to ding the PUBLISHER if there's a mismatch between the 'wrapper' and the contents, but remember, it's not the author's fault.

dacole said...

bleh sorry the idea that a language somehow has inate worth is crazy. Cultures come and go much like languages they don't need saving, forests of trees however which is what we dwell in not some "culture" those do need saving.

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