Language Solde

It strikes me as rather ironic that software written originally by French programmers is now distributed only in English-language versions (Gètris, TDI, and the French-Canadian SoftImage) and that, consequently, as an American in Paris using computers and software, I have a distinct advantage in understanding documentation, warning messages, menu items (and even keyboards). This linguistic imperialism, able to leap continents at nearly the speed of light, resembles some trends within the English itself, brought on by the widespread distribution of nascent diskette-based dictionaries tailored to the needs of the business letter.

The globalization of the marketplace for books and films, software and news, which generally does violence to preexisting cultural forms, makes its entry under the banner of enhancement. Just as Christian missionaries promised to save the soul eternally, any number of technological cultural products are consistently presented as the solution for whatever ails us.