lingua franca phobes?

google’s plans to swallow up libraries and make them available on the web has drawn criticism from unlikely quarters. the head of the french national library has raised concerns about the possible cultural bias of the exercise, given that it is focussing on the english language. i guess the implication is that language is ideology and it’s focussing on only one.

i have to say it does sound a bit like sour grapes. shame that he isn’t proposing to do a similar project to redress the balance. although that isn’t to say that there is no basis to what he’s saying. in a number of countries (particularly in the 3rd world) english is the language of the elite. english being the language of the web, it does position the web as the tool of the elite in those countries. i’ve seen some of that in india. so i don’t feel like france has been the hardest hit.

could mean we are heading for a return to medieval times where english is the new latin. that would make google the new catholic church. some say they should play a stronger role as arbiters of morality. that is a whole other debate.

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