"Nouniness" LO24224 Arrrgggghhh!

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 03/21/00

Replying to LO24202 --

Dear Organlearners,

Eric Hatch <hocinc@earthlink.net> writes:

>My simple observations have prompted a flood of semantic
>erudition! Enough. This is about learning organizations, not
>the double-layer structure of Sanskrit. Not that it isn't fun
>to read such posts, because it is. Scholasticism still lives,
>and LO seems to be its natural home. But let's stay focused
>on our organizations.

Greetings Eric,

Every nation is for me an organisation -- people living together
inside a certain boundary. (It reminds me of a gigantic cell.)
Every nation have to live with all other nations -- humankind
living together on the globe.

Some nations are more heterogenous than others. The
diversity can be in many facets. One of these facets is
a diversity of languages. Ignoring the diversity of languages
in a nation is a sure recipe for clashes. I can cite from
history thousands of examples through many millenia
from all over the world.

Ignoring the diversity of languages in any organisation is a
sure recipe for confrontations. If an organisation wants to
emerge into a LO while wilfully ignoring an existing diversity
of languages in it, it can forget about emerging into a LO
because it will then never happen.

>In English, if you work with groups and insist that they use
>active verbs in their flipcharts and reports, their thinking
>processes will change for the better.

Will it be surely the case for other languages too?

Let me guide your thoughts.

In my own country we had extreme confrontations when
the Colonial Powers set up by the British Crown tried to
FORCE people having other languages (Xhosa, Zulu,
Khoi, Afrikaans) as mother tongue to rather use English
as their mother tongue. It caused fierce battles and wars.

Should we not try to avoid similar battles and wars in
cyberspace too?

Rick may avoid it in this list by moderation. But it is far
better when all of us avoid it.

We will not avoid it by making the list exclusive to the
English language. Yes, we all agree to contribute in
English even though the mother tongue of some fellow
learners is not English. But it is impossible to command
all fellow learners to think in terms of exclusively the
English language as if it is their mother tongue. Why?

The English language have certain patterns (called
grammer) imbedded in it and which we non-English
speakers have to adhere to make reasonable sense
in our our contributions. But our thoughts which gave
rise to these contributions follow different patterns as
a result of our different mother tongues. We ALL have
to become aware of such differences as potential forces
for confrontations. Our indifference to such differences
will not spare us from confrontations. Only through
learning can we prepare ourselves to avoid such

>For example, if instead of heading a flipchart "Ways
>We Can Improve Organizational Learning," you title it
>"We can improve organizational learning if we..." you
>will generate verbs and more relationship-centered

Verbs are merely the names of "becomings". I agree
with you in the sense that we have much need in our
organisations for a greater diversity of becomings.
But becomings may also signified by qualifying verbs
with adverbs and nouns with adjectives. It is exactly
here in terms of this indirect naming of second order
becomings through adverbs and adjectives where the
dazzling beauty of language diversity presents itself.

But here is something even more astounding.

Some languages (I will not identify them, but some
thousand of them are still left over despite their
immergence through colonisation by lingua francas
or their creolised forms replacing them) are extremely
poor in adverbs. How poor? Few of them have more
than two dozen native (not loaned) adverbs. (You can
do the conting yourself where dictionaries of them
have become available.) So how on earth do the people
speaking them signify "second order becomings", i.e
becomings which emerged from becomings? In English
it is done mostly by adverbs. But in these languages
it is done by "short phrase metaphors".

For example, in English we will say "John is painting
SKILLFULLY". But in such a language we might say
"John is painting COME-LOOK". It sounds foolish.
But it has incredible advantages. For example, in
English we will say "John is dying PAINFULLY",
but in such a language we might say "John is dying
COME-CARE." By which of these two articulations
will people flock to a dying person to extend their

These "short phrase metaphors" work much better
for these people than confronting them with verbs
on flip-charts.

Fifty years ago the word "biodiversity" did not even
exist. Today many biologists are deep under the
impression of how essential biodiversity is to life.
I do not know whether the word "linguadiversity" or
something similar to it already exists. The library is
closed (holiday here today -- Human Rights Day)
so that I cannot make sure in the Oxford Dictionary.

But I want to plead earnestly to fellow learners
to become sensitive to "linguadiversity".

All over the world people want to learn English because
they assume that they will become wealthier by doing
so since so much trade is done in English.

Can people really hate a language? Yes, it happened
to my own mother tongue Afrikaans as a result of
apartheid. We had to admit it and ask people to forgive

When people become poorer as a result of trade in a
alien language (immergences rather than emergences
as a result of the trade), they begin to hate that alien
language. Many economists warn with convincing
figures that the international trade makes more people
on the globe poorer and fewer people richer. Terrorist
attacks in countries with this alien language as their
official language are increasing rapidly. The slogan
"we will not deal with terrorists, but will crush them
with all our power" is heard more and more in such a
alien language. What "strange attractor" has led the
terrorists in the first place to this country where they
make their attacks?

Make a list of all the languages in which international
trade is done and do the rest of the identification self.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.