Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Vitriolica Webb's Site

Since a friend sent me this link to "Unkepmtwomen" - a blog kept by an English woman living near me (in Portugal) I've spent hours reading and chuckling and gasping in admiration at her drawings.

In the name of Vit and Madge (although they are one person) she draws and writes caricatures of people in Portugal including her family, her community, tourists and all things that are, well, caricatures.

At first I felt uncomfortable, but found myself identifying with many stories - see the one about the miserable colleague who never replies to a cheery "Bom dia" and the miserable waiting in the bank queue. And the next time one of my students ever says to me (like ...soon) - "all foreigners love Portuguese food" I might just be a bit more honest in my reply and send them to her blogspot.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Em duas linguas - - Blogher

Today I watched myself on someone else's blog.

On the one hand it was weird because I had no idea it was going to be me on the video. On the other hand it captured so well some of the essence of a fundamental point of our session at the recent Blogher conference in Santa Clara, USA. The video is with Bev Trayner, Noriko Takiguchi, Anna John of SepiaMutiny, Lilia Efimova, and Nancy White reading a letter from Dina Mehta.

I know that some people in our audience at the conference would have liked to hear more of the drama of blogs and globalisation. For example, how they have saved the lives of a woman or child writing to the outside world from a position of danger.

And those examples are tremendously important. But there's hardly one day that goes past when I don't realise that it's the supposedly small understanding and small gestures that have the greatest long-term impact. It's usually more difficult to capture them, or to raise interest and money for them.

I have never liked video but I have to say that I'm intrigued and tempted by the idea of a video blog. I will definitely be checking out better. It prompted me to remember the importance of capturing the apparently small things.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Eating sushi properly"

I still have to write my reflections of the Blogher conference that I went to in Santa Clara, US. There is such a lot to say that it is quite daunting.

But I was reminded today, both in the many face-to-face conversations I've had with people about the conference and in reading Nancy White's recent blog entries, of what Noriko Takiguchi said during our shared session at the conference about globalisation and blogs.

Noriko quietly and articulately voiced her personal worries about a culture gap captured in the writing of blogs. She explained her resistance to writing "from the hip", or this idea of writing without care and love and attention (my words) as many people do in blog writing in Western countries. There are layers of culture and lots of assumptions behind writing hard and fast and entertaingly.

Noriko's blog entries are apparently about how to eat sushi properly. But I read them on a different level. For me they are much more than inofrmation about paying meticulous attention to what you eat, mix and cook it , how you do it and with whom...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Blogging: a Way to 'Decolonise Cyberspace'

Forwarded from African Languages (Yahoo Discussion Group)

Highway Africa News Agency (Grahamstown)
NEWS May 26, 2005
Posted to the web May 27, 2005

By Emrakeb Assefa

Ndesanjo Macha, 35, a Tanzanian writer and lecturer with a background in law, journalism and socio-informatics, is campaigning in Africa to 'decolonise cyberspace' so that African languages and cultures could flourish in it. In order to achieve his goal, he has become the first African to launch a blog in the African language KiSwahili in June 2004.

Macha is one of a group of young Africans who started a movement to place African languages on the internet by blogging novels, songs and poems in African languages and allowing the free use of content under the Creative Commons (cc) project.

He told Highway Africa News Agency yesterday that twenty one blogs in African languages have been set up since June 2004. Today, there are 17 KiSwahili blogs, the language spoken by over 100 million people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda; a single Bambara blog, the Malian language; two KiChagga blogs, a language spoken in the Kilimanjaro area of northern Tanzania; a Shona blog from Zimbabwe and one Berber blog from Morocco. Macha hopes to increase the number of indigenous African language blogs to one hundred by the end of the year.

The movement to use African languages as a means of communications on the internet stems from a fear that African cultures and languages are in danger of disappearing.

"A language disappears every two weeks", says Macha, comparing this to a "whole library burning down."

Though Africa is known to be by far the most linguistically diverse continent - there are around 2,000 African languages, i.e. one third of the world's linguistic heritage - its languages are largely absent from internet content.

According to UNESCO, although there are over 6,000 languages in the world, the content on the internet is largely disseminated in 12 languages - dominated by English. "The rest are subject languages, like most indigenous African
languages; they are talked about but have no content in their own language," Macha says bitterly.

Moreover, there are no tools for creating or translating information into these excluded tongues. Huge sections of the world's population are thus prevented from enjoying the benefits of technological advances and obtaining information essential to their well-being and development. Unchecked, this will contribute to a loss of cultural diversity on information networks and a widening of existing socio-economic inequalities.

However, the cc project and blogging, says Macha, are providing opportunities to African artists with no English language skills to introduce their creativity into the mainstream industry. This way, African cultures and languages remain
vibrant and alive.

Macha's inspiration is the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong'o whose novels Decolonising the African Mind and Move in the Centre had led him to this movement.

Quoting Thiong'o, Macha says that the dominance of English on the internet is like saying that there is a flower which is more of a flower on the basis of its shape or colour. Or that the flourishing of one flower should depend on the death of other flowers.

He stressed the importance of "decolonising the cyberspace of the dominant position of English language" to create a cyberspace that is multilingual and multicultural.

Copyright © 2005 Highway Africa News Agency. All rights reserved.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Intercultural awareness - all sorts

Good luck for me this week that I ate out two nights in a row. Bad luck that in both places I attracted waiters who want to try out their intercultural skills. Slowly and helpfully they say everything to me in their loudest and best English. When I pause to think if I'll reply in Portuguese or English, or if I'm considering what food choice to make, they fill the pause with an affectionate reformulation of what they said in English - more loudly, more slowly and more authoritatively.

Ignoring the Portuguese women at the table - this only happens if I'm eating out with women - the waiter gives me all his fond attention, telling me what to choose on the menu in amongst long stories of his experience of life in Britain or the States.

I could say I find the waiters intrusive or boring - but, in truth, they are only a symbol of one type of intercultural awareness that I see in many different contexts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Advice from Dean dad

As I squirm and struggle to finish my dissertation I find this post from "Dean dad" who keeps the blog Confessions of a Community College Dean.

Here's an excerpt from the post that had me chuckling like a mad woman as he describes his own process of getting the d*** thing finished.

"Looking at it now, it’s still not very satisfying. It’s still sorta half-baked, with a particularly weak conclusion and a few cringe-inducing moments, but it has something it didn’t have then. It has signatures.

Now that I’m on the hiring side, I can say with even greater confidence that there are exactly two kinds of dissertations in the world.

The two kinds of dissertations in the world:

1. Done, Defended, Degree in Hand

2. Other"

A comment on his posting gives another piece of advice which is also music to my ears: "It doesn't have to be good. It only has to be done."

Yes - until I'm done, I'm other.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Quase em portugues

Another one for my collection. This is the blog of Lutz Brückelmann, living in Portugal and writing quase em português:

"Apesar das minhas limitações numa língua que só parcialmente domino, começo este blog.
Sobre tudo.
Mas serão três características, que irão condicionar - penso eu - o seu conteudo:
Sou imigrante. Sou arquitecto. Sou pai de família.
De resto, não sei para onde me isto levará..."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mixing languages

"Mixing languages without too much worry about what happens next or who is listening seems brave, bold and important."

I identify with lots of things this person says in "Bilingual poetry: working notes" (link sent to me by Nancy White). I have the same fascination for that space between languages, crossing and mixing and dancing between them. And the way that it seems to be both a playful and a political act.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Na periferia de dois mundos

Ainda estou em São Francisco após de congresso Blogher.

Era um congresso interessante em vários níveis. No primeiro lugar fiquei muito contente participar num evento no centro de Silicone Valley, que incluiu os patrocínios Google, Yahoo etc. Gostai o sensação de entrar em conversas com pessoas que influenciam directamente o design do software que faz parte de nossa vida – hoje e amanha.

Ao mesmo tempo havia um discurso com que eu não me identifiquei nenhum. Havia um elevado respeito para algumas pessoas dentro deste comunidade de bloggers baseada no seu “ranking” no “Technorati top 100.

“Olhe! ELA faz parte do “A list”!”

“Oh” diz eu, “o que é o A list?”

O “A list” (no caso que tu também és tão ignorante, como eu) é a lista de Technorati top 100” onde os blogs são avaliados em termos de links feitos para o seu site. O valor de um blogista está no numero dos links feitos o seu blog. Se quiser subir nos rankings e ficar com mais status e influncia, tem que concentrar nas estratégias para convincer pessoas a fazer links ao seu blog.

Entretanto havia uma debate se “nós” (mulheres) tivessem de trabalhar com os mesmos critérios criados por “eles” (os homens). Eu bem percebi que todos os argumentos no debate poderiam ter substituídas por “eles” (pessoas de Estados Unidos) e “nos” (pessoas fora de cultura de Estados Unidos).

O mundo lá no Bay área, Silicon Valley fica uma galáxia aparte de meu mundo no Setúbal, Portugal. O que é o preço de fazer parte deste mundo – e que é o preço ignorá-lo?