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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly re-introduces herself to her readers.

  • Bruce Dorminey shares one man's theory about how extraterrestrials could use exoplanet sightings to build up a galactic communications network.

  • Far Outliers shares some unusual Japanese words, starting with "amepotu" for American potato.

  • Language Hat takes
  • Did the spokeswoman of the NRA threaten to "fisk" the New York Times or threaten something else? Language Log reports.

  • Drew Rowsome notes that, compared to San Francisco, Toronto does not have much of a public kink scene.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel examines the quantum reasons behind the explosion produced by sodium metal and water.

  • Understanding Society takes rightful issue with The Guardian's shoddy coverage of Dearborn, Michigan, and that city's Muslims and/or Arabs.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that Canada is, at last, starting to take in queer refugees from Chechnya.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the embarrassing support for Jean-Luc Mélenchon for Venezuela. Was opposing the US all he wanted?

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  • The Crux makes the case that, for too long, modern homo sapiens have underestimated the genius of the Neanderthals.

  • D-Brief looks at the efforts of some scientists to develop brewing standards for the Moon.

  • Language Hat examines different languages' writing standards--Turkish, Greek, Armenian--in the late Ottoman Empire.

  • Language Log deconstructs claims that Japanese has no language for curses.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen looks at the standards of truth by which Trump's supporters are judging him.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the hollow Styrofoam aesthetics of the Trump Administration.

  • Savage Minds considers the idea of personhood.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell considers key mechanics of populism.

  • Arnold Zwicky meditates, somewhat pornographically, on a porn star of the last decade and public sexuality.

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  • Bad Astronomy reports on the astounding scientific illiteracy of Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci.

  • blogTO compiles a list of the best tobagganing hills in Toronto.

  • Citizen Science Salon looks at what we can do in the redwood forests.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a gap in the disk of TW Hydrae.

  • Imageo notes that 2016 is the warmest year in the records.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that a pride parade protected by police went off in Montenegro.

  • Language Hat shares the story of Lazer Lederhendler, a son of Holocaust survivors in Montréal who became one of the leading translators into English of Québec literature.

  • Language Log looks at the distant origins of Japanese terms for "dog."

  • Marginal Revolution notes the rising popularity of Vladimir Putin on the American right.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the links between Russia and the "Calexit" movement.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy celebrates Saturnalia.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia's use of genetics to disentangle the Tatar peoples and argues that the definition of Russians and Ukrainians as fraternal is dangerous to the latter.

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of motorbike racing in South Africa.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the stellar weather that planets of red dwarf stars might encounter.

  • Dead Things looks at two genetic studies which complicate the narrative of humanity's spread.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the infamous anti-disco night of 1979 that spelled the end of the genre in North America.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how one makes a home among strangers.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that the UKIP MP claims the sun is responsible for the bulk of the Earth's tides not the moon, and reports on a Kentucky judge who says gays ruined straight men's ability to hug.

  • Language Log looks at changing patterns of language usage in Japanese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the cosmic perspective of Gary Johnson.

  • The LRB Blog reports from devastated Lesbos.

  • Maximos62 maps the smoke from this year's Indonesian fires.

  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photos from mid-1960s Cuba.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a recent tour of NASA facilities.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on a call for a single Circassian alphabet, suggests a Russian initiative to use sufism to unite Russian Muslims will end badly, and argues that Russian criticism of language policy in post-Soviet countries is linked to geopolitics.

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Government House, multilingual #pei #charlottetown #governmenthouse #fanningbank #language #english #français #chinese #japanese

This sign inviting people to Fanningbank, the official residence of the lieutenant governor, is multilingual. English is on the top, followed by the second official language of French, and the Chinese and Japanese languages originally associated with tourism.
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  • blogTO notes that a half-million dollars does not buy one much of a house in Toronto.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly celebrates the fifth anniversary of her marriage on the Toronto Islands.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers exoplanet fatigue in the news, suggesting Proxima b is about as excited as the media will get.

  • Far Outliers looks at the foreign safety zone set up in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese approached.

  • Language Hat considers the globalization of Latin American writers.

  • Language Log examines the linguistics behind "hikikomori".

  • The LRB Blog looks at the British political spectrum.

  • The Map Room Blog reports on some beautiful letterpress maps.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that in Africa, urbanization is not accompanied by economic growth.

  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photographs of Syria's Palmyra.

  • Spacing looks at the examples of the Netherlands.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at a call to create a unified Russian diaspora lobby in the United States and examines ethnic Russian migration from Tuva.

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  • blogTO notes how expensive Toronto's rental market is.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system.

  • Crooked Timber engages with the complexities of racism.

  • The Crux shares some oral history about the detection of the first gravitational wave.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports about the difficulties involved with detecting exoplanets around red dwarfs and describes the discovery of a super-Earth orbiting an orange dwarf in the Pleiades.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that New York City ended free web browsing at browsing stations because people kept looking up porn.

  • Language Log notes that a partially shared script does not make Chinese readable by speakers of Japanese, and vice versa.

  • Marginal Revolution cautions against the idea that Brexit is over.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer talks about the usefulness of counterfactuals, especially good counterfactuals.

  • Torontoist argues that the TTC needs more cats. Why not?

  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a comparative global study of settlements in occupied territories.

  • Window on Eurasia reports that Google has displaced television as a primary source of news for Russians.

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  • Antipope's Charlie Stross looks at some outrageous but real figures from history.

  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait notes UGC 1382, a huge galaxy that looks small to the naked eye.

  • blogTO lists some destinations for Torontonians on Labour Day.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes Finland's launching of a guaranteed minimum income experiment.

  • Language Log looks at a multilingual restaurant advertisement in Japan.

  • Marginal Revolution considers the issue of interest rates in the United States.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares photos that Juno took of Jupiter.

  • Otto Pohl links to an old article of his on black Eurasia.

  • Savage Minds considers ways anthropologists can archive for the longue durée.

  • Window on Eurasia looks on Russian public opinion on Russian policy in Ukraine, and reports on speculation about Western policy towards Russia if Russia goes further into Ukraine.

  • Arnold Zwicky links to a New York Times article on spam E-mail.

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  • Beyond the Beyond's notes the imminent end of Moore's law.

  • Centauri Dreams imagines what a stellified gas giant might look like.

  • D-Brief notes Ceres' lack of large craters and looks at how New Zealand is declaring war on invasive fauna.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at Venus analog Gliese 832d.

  • Joe. My. God. notes intensifying scrutiny of Trump's Russian links.

  • Language Log looks at the portmanteaux used in the Japanese language.

  • The LRB Blog notes Erdogan's many voices.

  • Marginal Revolution argues that slow economic growth will not undermine the Chinese system.

  • Steve Munro looks at the effects of construction on the 501 Queen.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the final landing site of the Rosetta probe.

  • pollotenchegg maps wages across Ukraine.

  • Savage Minds reports how war can fragment families, looking to Ukraine.

  • Transit Toroto notes GO Transit's adding of new double-decker buses.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers the thesis that Trump is a consequence of the breakdown of traditional political parties.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Daghestan's restriction of movement of "potential" criminals.

  • The Yorkshire Ranter searches for a statistical link between austerity and Brexit.

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  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling mourns the death of Alvin Toffler.

  • The Big Picture shares images of the Istanbul airport attack.

  • blogTO notes Toronto's recent Trans March was the largest in world history.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly interviews memoirist Plum Johnson.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the determination of distances to dim stars and looks at the total energies likely to be used in interstellar travel and interplanetary colonization.

  • Crooked Timber notes the ordered recount in Austria's presidential elections and advocates for anti-militarism.

  • D-Brief notes the exciting discoveries of Ceres, and observes that ancient tombs may have doubled as astronomical observatories.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers where warm Jupiters form, considers the stability of complex exoplanet systems, and notes a high-precision analysis of solar twin HIP 100963.

  • The Dragon's Tales wonders if the shape of Martian sand dunes indicate a denser Martian atmosphere a bit more than four billion years ago.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers evictions and poverty in the United States.

  • Inkfish notes that different honeybees seem to have different personalities.

  • Language Hat notes the import of Maltese in Mediterranean history.

  • Language Log talks about Sino-Japanese.

  • Lovesick Cyborg shares the doubts of polled Americans with the viability of virtual lovers.

  • The LRB Blog shares an article supporting Corbyn.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that San Francisco was literally built on buried ships.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the collapse of Greek savings and looks at Euroskepticism's history in the United Kingdom.

  • Steve Munro updates readers on Union-Pearson Express ridership.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer thinks the Netherlands Antilles offer useful models to the United Kingdom, and is confused by a claim that that bias against Mexican immigrants does not exist when the data seems to suggest it does.

  • Torontoist goes into the life of conservative Protestant newspaper publishing Black Jack Robinson.

  • Transit Toronto notes that in a decade, GO Trains will connect Hamilton to Niagara Falls.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues against using the Brexit vote to argue against referenda.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the Russian deployment of military forces to the Belarus border, looks at Tatarstan's concern for its autonomy, observes the changing demographics of Ukraine, and notes the Russian debate over what sort of European Union collapse they would like.

  • Arnold Zwicky remembers his father through ephemera.

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  • Dangerous Minds notes the food songs that gorillas apparently sing to themselves as they eat.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on the TRAPPIST-1 system, with three Earth-sized terrestrial planets orbiting a very faint star.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes a paper examining methane exchange in the Martian near-surface.

  • Joe. My. God. reports that Eurovision will be broadcasting live in the USA for the first time, on Logo.

  • Language Hat reports on the effects of Japanese company Rakuten's switch to English as a working language.

  • The LRB Blog and Marginal Revolution report on the claim of Australian Craig Wright to be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.

  • The Map Room Blog reports on an exhibition of the map history of Texas.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on the economic dominance of vinyl sales and streaming music in the music industry.

  • Steve Munro notes the Ontario government's refusal to talk about how transit fares in Toronto will be set.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the discovery of the moon of dwarf planet Makemake.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the Russian response to the MH17 shootdown and reports on the firebombing of a pro-Donbas museum in St. Petersburg.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith updates readers on his writing projects and points them to anthologies looking for new submissions.

  • blogTO talks about the origins of Bay Street.

  • Centauri Dreams notes new discoveries about the origins of mysterious "fast radio bursts".

  • The Dragon's Tales notes how a genetic study of Panama's population showed the impact of colonization.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Germany's opening of a centre for LGBT refugees.

  • Language Log notes controversy over simplified characters in Hong Kong and poor fluency in kanji in Japan.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the controversies surrounding the commemoration of the death of Scalia at Georgetown University.

  • Steve Munro looks at various routes for a relief line in the east of the city.

  • North's Justin Petrone talks about teaching his daughter who ran Estonia during the Soviet era.

  • Strange Maps maps Europe divided into city-states.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Kazakhstan's plan to shift to Latin script for Kazakh and looks at ethnic Russian converts to Islam.

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  • Anthropology notes the latest archeological findings suggesting that Easter Island was not destroyed by war.

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling notes that Wired will now no longer be allowing people with ad blockers to access the site.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the likely existence of a substantial gas giant in the disk of TW Hydrae and describes a Neptune-type world found through microlensing.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting, on the basis of the geology of Mars, that the early atmosphere was dominated by carbon dioxide with little oxygen.

  • Joe. My. God. links to the audio track of the new Pet Shop Boys single, "The Pop Kids".

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes opposition to the TPP in Indonesia.

  • Language Log notes a poster from the Second World War era United States propagandizing against the use of German, Italian, and Japanese.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw contrasts Australia's response to the Syrian refugee crisis with Canada's.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that Mexico's PEMEX may be in bad shape.

  • Spacing Toronto shares John Lorinc's skeptical essay about transit in Toronto. Grand schemes are great, but what about implementation?

  • Strange Maps maps Brexit, in various dimensions.

  • Torontoist suggests this city can learn from Detroit when it comes to repurposing vacant lots.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the growth of separate Muslim and Christian neighbourhoods in many cities.

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  • blogTO identify five neighbourhoods in downtownish Toronto with cheap rent.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one paper suggesting Earth-like worlds may need both ocean and rocky surfaces to be habitable.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports that Pluto's Sputnik Planum is apparently less than ten million years old.

  • Geocurrents begins an interesting regional schema of California.

  • Language Log notes a Hong Kong ad that blends Chinese and Japanese remarkably.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that societies with low inequality report higher levels of happiness than others.

  • The Map Room points to the lovely Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders why Amazon book reviews are so dominated by American reviewers.

  • Savage Minds considers, after Björk, the ecopoetics of physical geology data.

  • Window on Eurasia commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Vilnius massacre.

  • The Financial Times' The World blog looks at Leo, the dog of the Cypriot president.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly makes the case that people need rest.

  • The Dragon's Gaze wonders if a lithium-rich giant star KIC 9821622 ate its exoplanets.

  • The Dragon's Tales writes about the Russian war in Syria.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the sociology of holidays.

  • A Geocurrents guest post looks at one mapping of ISIS.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Donald Trump's defense of Vladimir Putin, discounting state-sponsored murder of journalists, and reports on the repeal of marriage equality in Slovenia.

  • Language Hat looks at how a Chinese font was created.

  • Language Log looks at how the Japanese language can be used to memorize pi.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money maps student debt in the United States.

  • Marginal Revolution considers migration as a basic human right.

  • Torontoist looks at how KFC got started in Mississauga.

  • Window on Eurasia considers the reasons for Donbas residents to seek refugee status elsewhere, looks at Russia's problems with Circassians, examines Russian Muslim emigrants in Turkey, and reports on fears in Kazakhstan that the country might be attacked by Russian media.
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  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Dundas in the grimy 1970s.

  • The Big Picture shares photos from a Tibetan Buddhist assembly.

  • Crooked Timber shares a photo of Bristol's floating bridge.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on an estimate of the number of extraterrestrial technological civilizations.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes an atlas of drought in Europe.

  • Geocurrents examines the fallacy of environmental determinism.

  • Joe. My. God. notes how open travel between the European Union and Ukraine has been endangered by the failure to protect gay employment.

  • Language Hat links to an essay by a feminist talking about what it is like to live in a language environment, that of Hebrew, where everything is gendered.

  • Language Log engages with fax usage in Japan and notes rare characters in Taiwan.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the plight of the dying steel town, all the worse because it was evitable.

  • Marginal Revolution has a bizarre defense of Ben Carson.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia report on a rectification of the Russian-Chinese frontier.

  • Window on Eurasia is critical of village values in Russia, and notes the return of ISIS fighters to Azerbaijan.

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  • blogTO ranks Toronto's newest neighbourhoods from best to worst.

  • The Dragon's Gaze suggests exoplanets which receive between 60 to 90% of the energy the Earth received are likely to be Earth-like.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper suggesting the solar system likely did not eject a fifth gas giant and looks at what happened to the very early crust of the Earth.

  • Language Hat talks about the language use of writer Raymond Federman and tries to find a story with an unusual method of inputting Japanese.

  • Marginal Revolution notes dropping fluency in English in China.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer describes how he kicked a man dressed as Adolf Hitler out of a Halloween party.

  • Towleroad notes an interracial German-Thai gay couple mocked on social media has married.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders whether Russia will use the recent crash of a Russian plane in the Sinai to justify a widened war.

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  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that stars commonly ingest hot Jupiters.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on the spread of robots.

  • Far Outliers shares terms for making shoyu.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Ashley Madison nearly bought Grindr.

  • Language Log notes the changing usage of "hemp" as a political term.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the plan to save New Orleans by abandoning the Mississippi delta.

  • The Russian Demographics blog notes the genetic distinctiveness of the Denisovans.

  • Towleroad notes the pulling-down of a Warsaw rainbow monument.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the American debate over birthright citizenship.

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  • Claus Vistesen of Alpha Sources notes that though the stock market might be peaking, we don't know when.

  • blogTO warns that Toronto might consider a bid for the 2024 Olympics.

  • James Bow thinks about Ex Machina.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly looks forward to her impending visit to Maine.

  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Michael A.G. Michaud looking at modern SETI.

  • Crooked Timber finds that even the style of the New York intellectuals of the mid-20th century is lacking.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that a search for superjovians around two nearby brown dwarfs has failed.

  • The Dragon's Tales considers the flowing nitrogen ice of Pluto.

  • Geocurrents compares Chile's Aysén region to the Pacific Northwest.

  • Joe. My. God. shares the new Janet Jackson single, "No Sleeep".

  • Language Log looks at misleading similarities between Chinese and Japanese words as written.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that the low-wage southern economy dates back to slavery.

  • Marginal Revolution is critical of rent control in Stockholm and observes the negative long-term consequences of serfdom in the former Russian Empire.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes how Jamaica is tearing down illegal electrical connections.

  • Savage Minds considers death in the era of Facebook.

  • Towleroad looks at how the Taipei city government is petitioning the Taiwanese high court to institute same-sex marriage.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues restrictive zoning hurts the poor.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at how Tatarstan bargains with Moscow, looks at Crimean deprivation and quiet resistance, considers Kazakh immigration to Kazakhstan, and argues Russian nationalist radicals might undermine Russia itself.

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A recent Slate article by Katy Waldmann pointed me towards Minae Mizumura's 2008 book The Fall of Language in the Age of English. She seems to make some interesting arguments about the position of the English language and the potential threat to the position of non-English languages.

Languages have materiality, Mizumura insists, and her personal essay-cum-allegory lets the landscape of English letters hover like a mirage above physical America. In Iowa “the view was not particularly beautiful. There was none of the poetry one sees in scenes of the countryside in American films.” Yet “turning to Chris [the program director], I roused myself and said exactly what an American might say at such a moment: ‘Beautiful day!’ ” Such are the dangers of a universal language: Being in America, speaking “American,” Mizumura can utter only “what an American might say,” even if that means lying about the blighted prospect around her. In contrast, here is the author’s memory of touching down in France: “Once I set foot in Paris, I was greeted with boulevards shimmering with new leaves and skies gloriously liberated from the dark of winter.”

I mention France because the French language—all liberté and illumination—is one of Mizumura’s sanctuaries, a spiritual alternative to English. (It is also a scholarly alternative: Though she doesn’t mention him outright, Mizumura, who studied French literature at Yale during its Structuralist heyday, is clearly indebted to Ferdinand de Saussure, one of the first to propose that meaning arises from closed linguistic systems. Saussure wrote in French.) Her family moved from Japan to New York when she was 12, and she “stubbornly resisted getting along either with the United States or the English language,” instead soaking in French audiobooks on repeat in her room. What draws Mizumura to the lingua franca of the Enlightenment is its beauty, but also its predicament: Once the embodiment of the “soul of Europe,” a standard-bearer for the humanities, the expressive Play-Doh for writers like Voltaire and Diderot is now in the same lamentable position as Japanese. Which is to say, French and Japanese speakers are confined to the particular, while English speakers live in the universal.

A writer writing in English can count on her words reaching people all over the world, whether in translation or the original, but there’s no guarantee English-speaking readers will ever encounter experiences first framed in Japanese. Nor can bilingual writers just switch to English: Even if the West does not seem “too far, psychologically as well as geographically,” a sense of romance surrounds novels written in the novelist’s mother tongue, making fiction formulated from a second language less palatable. So, Mizumura concludes, non-English speakers “can only participate passively in the universal temporality … they cannot make their own voices heard.” Discouraged by the deafness of the world—even as Internet fans sing about our increasing connectedness—they might decide to stop writing altogether.

When writers stop writing in a language, that language decays. People lose faith in its ability to bear the burden of their fine feeling and entrust their most important thoughts elsewhere. Raging against the decline of “lesser” lexicons, Mizumura is stressing more than the loss of cultural artifacts, or the value of diversity for its own sake. Non-dominant tongues must live on, she warns, because “those of us … living in asymmetry are the only ones condemned to perpetually reflect upon language, the only ones forced to know that the English language cannot dictate ‘truths’ and that there are other ‘truths’ in this world.” Buried in that argument is an oddly touching one about the nature of literature: “The writer must see the language not as a transparent medium for self-expression or the representation of reality, but as a medium one must struggle with to make it do one’s bidding.”

She says some interesting things. Going by this sympathetic review in The Japan Times, it seems as if her argument is based at least as much on a need for better education in non-English languages. Is fluency in Japanese incompatible with fluenct in English?
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