Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Wade Davis on Language and Power


There are many people of course who say, “Well, wouldn’t the world be a better place if we spoke only one language?” Wouldn’t communication be facilitated etc etc. To which I always respond “what a great idea – but let’s make that language Yorba, or Cantonese, or Quechua” and suddenly you begin to get a sense of what it would be like to be enveloped in silence, to have no means to pass on the knowledge of your ancestors or anticipating the problems of your children – and that phase actually happens to someone roughly every fortnight, every two weeks roughly someone dies and takes with them to the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue.

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