[fr] Il y a bien des années j'ai cessé de regarder les nouvelles à la télé, de lire les journaux, etc. Je m'en suis trouvée bien moins angoissée. Insidieusement, je me suis remise à suivre l'actualité du monde, via Facebook surtout. Suis-je retombée dans le piège de l'angoisse de l'actu? Est-ce que ce qui se passe maintenant est beaucoup plus grave que ce qui se passait il y a dix ans? J'ai toujours été très optimiste quant à l'avenir de l'humanité, mais ces derniers mois ont changé ça. Des fois je me demande si je devrais me lancer en politique ou alors tout débrancher et acheter des chèvres.
[fr] Une série de livres qui m'ont marquée.
Picked up on Lifehacker (via Feedly, which I really like!), What Books Have Changed Your Life? — so, off the top of my head, and way too late in the night to do any serious thinking/writing/linking, a bunch of books that were groundbreaking reads for me:
- The Web of Belief (Ullian & Quine)
- Emotional Intelligence (Goleman)
- Comment gérer les personnalités difficiles (André & Lelord)
- Naked Conversations (Scoble & Israel)
- The Black Swan (Taleb)
- Getting Things Done (Allen)
- The Paradox of Choice (Schwartz)
- Buddhism Without Beliefs (Batchelor)
- India: A Million Mutinies Now (Naipaul)
- The Cluetrain Manifesto (Searls, Weinberger, Locke, Levine)
There are certainly more that I’m not thinking about now, and the list is certainly skewed towards these past years (the near past is always fresher in memory, and old changes tend to be forgotten). I could give an explanation for each of them… but some other time, maybe.
I read a lot of fiction, too — not just essay-like books. But I wouldn’t say that any work of fiction (that I can recall) really changed my life in a major way.
I might come back to this. Or I might not. Who knows?
[fr] Une clarification de ce que j'entends par "la plupart des gens sont multilingues". Multilingues au sens large.
The “most people are multilingual” thing is not from me. I’ve seen it mentioned in varied settings, though I still need to find systematic studies to back it up (let me know if you have any handy).
It all depends how you define “multilingual”. If you define it in a broad sense (ie, school-level passive understanding of a language counts), then a little thinking shows it’s not that “optimistic”. Here is what would make somebody multilingual:
- immigration, of course
- learning a foreign language at school
- living in a country with different linguistic groups.
- in India, many people are fluent in their mother tongue, and to some extent in one of the countries official languages: Hindi or English
- in the US, think about the huge immigrant population; the whole country was built upon immigration, come to think of it; in the bus in San Francisco, I often heard more foreign languages than English
- again in the US (because the English-speaking world is seen as a big “monolingual” block), think of the increasingly important hispanic/latino population (people who will often have knowledge of both English and Spanish)
- in most European countries, people learn at least one foreign language in school — even if it’s not used, most people retain at least some passive knowledge of it; I’m not sure about Asia, Africa, Southern America, Australia: does anybody know?
So, I don’t think it’s that optimistic to say most people are multilingual. To say that most people are “perfectly multilingual”, of course, is way off the mark. But most people understand more than one language, at least to some extent.