The Internet In Bemba, Lozi and Nyanja

 

Have you ever wondered what language you think in? Do we think in any particular language? 

It would appear that concepts and images are interpreted into the language you normally use. This leads to a situation where language has not yet caught up with certain ideas. Language has always evolved slower than ideas. Where societies have encountered ideas from other cultures, it is common for them to borrow words or modify words from other cultures as they adapt to accommodate the new concepts in their own language. Thus the English language is strewn with Latin and Greek words.

Borrowing from other languages is a good thing because it makes communication easier. Words with a common origin help to suggest meaning when you first come across a new term.

Sometimes the gap between language and concepts is so wide that it becomes a problem when people try to come up with words for brand new concepts. Most Zambian languages have very few scientific terms. It is no wonder, then , that when it comes to the rapidly evolving internet, the gap is even wider.

Some people will sit back and wait for someone else to define new terms and only participate in its adoption. Others seek to influence the change. This phase is usually hazy, but now with the internet, everyone has the opportunity to participate.

Volunteers are helping Google translate the internet into local languages. It is now possible to search the internet using Google in:

This is an interesting time because we are having to define words like Web page, email, html, and many others. The current level of interpretation on Google is only skin deep. Never before has there been such an opportunity for people to directly affect the direction their language takes. It is a language revolution you can participate in today. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages you see in this approach to the internet? Share your thoughts here.

You can find out more on Google: http://www.google.com/language_tools.

If you are involved in these volunteer activities KitweOnline would like to hear from you. Drop us a message below.

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  2 comments for “The Internet In Bemba, Lozi and Nyanja

  1. January 25, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I am involved with translating Linux into bemba.
    https://wiki.edubuntu.org/UbuntuBembaTranslators

    • Editor
      January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Anthony,
      It’s great to hear from you.
      We would like to learn more about your project.
      It’s the sort of thing we would love to write about on kitweonline.com.

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