Winning the information war

Very interesting article by Samuel G. Freedman in the New York Times on the inadequacy of U.S. government attitudes to strategic language study in an age of global communications. Some quotes:

“Over more than three decades, as the support for language study was written into other federal laws, a steady stream of 30,000 or more American university students took Russian courses each year.(…)

“Meanwhile, of more than 1.8 million graduates of American colleges and universities in 2003, exactly 22 took degrees in Arabic, according to Department of Education statistics. (…)

“Richard Brecht, a former Air Force cryptographer who is executive director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, a joint project of the Defense Department and the University of Maryland based in College Park. “Five billion dollars for an F-22 will not help us in the battle against terrorism. Language that helps us understand why they’re trying to harm us will.”

Andrew Joscelyne
European, a language technology industry watcher since Electric Word was first published, sometime journalist, consultant, market analyst and animateur of projects. Interested in technologies for augmenting human intellectual endeavour, multilingual méssage, the history of language machines, the future of translation, and the life of the digital mindset.

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