Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Catalan, not French

October 8th, 2007

I made a faux paux the other day, responding to Martí Cabré. S/he (as I plunge headlong into another one!) copied a photo I took of an art installation in Istanbul last summer. I was curious. The photo is evocative and in fact reminded me of the struggle some of my juniors are having letting go of being told in order to risk reaching out on their own terms. When I clicked through to see Martí’s post, I discovered text in a foreign language and – for some reason – assumed the language was French. I am not sure why, as I do have a passing familiarity with Spanish; had I looked I would probably have made that (just as egregious an) error. At least, my good friend the Wanokip tells me, French and Catalan are both Latin languages.
What I realized, heart-in-mouth, was that I did not “look.” My eyes glanced over the unfamiliar script and bounced off, catching no friction. What would have held me was not (in this instance) any quality inherent to the language or the medium (internet computer screen). I was in a hurry. My mind was multitasking, not inattentive but distracted, cast in multiple directions.
Martí kindly provided a synopsis in English:

I was frustrated because my server could not access the blogs area. Everything was fine but the blogs. And I had things to say. I had a need.
So this made me thought about the fragility of communication (the title). We are used to communication in one way (like in TV) where the bond with the viewer is based on the constant stimuli. This is similar to some Internet contents and specifically blogs, where the voidness of the contents is concealed by the amounts of smalltalk.
I try to write things with some sense so some feedback is needed with the readers, to keep learning myself about what I write. It is too complex to be one-way. I need the other side. And if I write sporadically this bond is weak. And if my server does not allow me access to writing, a frustration arises.
This is the content of the text. And, of course, it relates as a metaphor of human communication and your image was perfect.

When I first clicked through to Martí ‘s site, I was guilty of my own dependence upon “communication in one way”: I needed English. (Is this similar to my students expressing the need for oral – not written – instruction?) Certainly I appreciate the desire for feedback, for interaction, for engagement with the complexity of learning ourselves and learning more about subjects of interest. Just this morning, Jose and I discussed leadership as feedback that helps a person adapt…good teachers invest in giving feedback that enables students to adapt.
Martí included links to information about Catalan. Another commenter just provided some sources concerning Esperanto in response to a recent post: No Mother Tongue? Is this an example of (quantum level) relative synchronicity?!
Catalan, language: wikipedia entry
Catalan, people of: wikipedia entry
famous Catalans: wikipedia list
Esperanto, university program website: Esperanto

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Categories: Interpreting, Language, Media, phenomenology, teaching
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