Language as a Mirror of You & Your Culture | Learning in Public 19


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About This Episode

The discussion started with a chat question regarding

speaking two languages at home

and teaching children both languages simultaneously.


It developed into an exploration of how language shapes

self-perception and identity, and how the characters of different

ethnicities are reflected in their languages.


We wrestled, as we often do, with questions about globalization

and human scale experience, the fight to keep localized

cultures and experiences amidst an increasingly connected world.

Some interesting considerations came up around Anglo

culture and character,

Italy, the island of Sardinia in particular,

differences within Europe,

and differences between certain parts of Europe and the USA.


Approximate Time Stamps:



Bilingual child rearing and ethnic identity.



Use of language in different cultures, men actually speak

more than women in Italy in John’s observation.



Does language shape personality, even society?

i.e. the word “awkward” does not exist in Italian , ramifications.

Does the general personality of an ethnos anticipate its language?



English etiquette, different notions of privacy.



I ask John if he feels differently when he speaks Italian vs. English.



Strengths and uniqueness of the English language

and its current utility as a lingua franca.

Apart from Americanization of world and devolution

of English and other European languages.



Passing on heritage through language.



I ask John the difference between Italian and Northern European directness.



Does the English language attempt a synthesis of the two strands indicated above?

The English character itself as a synthesis of certain a paradoxes,

drive for seeking universals while affirming particulars,

such tensions fomenting cultural movement and creativity.



England’s distinction from mainland Europe, then we get into borders,

distinction between nation and country.



Human scale community, city-state vs. nation-state.

Then into Italy being somewhat cobbled together.

Then into attempting to keep the local amidst

increasing globalization and the internet.


Please see the growing collection of Learning in Public episodes and clips here.

You can watch here on The Great Order site while we are broadcasting live.


~John’s Website~



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