Colin Brayton has started a new collective blog to remedy the status quo, which is (as he says) that “The global blog village remains ghettoized and anglocentric.”

What I envision is a game of linguistic six degrees of separation in which I, with my English, Portuguese, Arabic, and French, could read about memes propagated in Chinese from someone with, say, Chinese, French, and German, and pass on memes from Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese to English blog browsers.
As Beth Luey notes, however, in Translation and the Internationalization of Culture,

Objections to the internationalization of culture are based on the belief that what is taking place is, in fact, not internationalization but Americanization.

In that light, of course, it is really we Anglophones who need to be internationalized, and I anticipate that, like all blogs, the main mass audience for this project would initially be Anglophone. There’s a bit of a catch-22 there, since for the project to work, many non-Anglophones must be involved. We will need collaborators to run community weblogs in other languages on this site to request comments and propagate the meme.

Sounds like a worthwhile project; go on over and see what’s up.

Update (July 2021). Alas, it seems to have breathed its last on Dec 25, 2003.


  1. Hi Language Hat,
    Great new look on the page. Congratulations. Blogalization sounds like a great new project, hope Colin can make it take off. Although for now I have to confess that the navigation among the development, the this and that blog, is a bit of a nightmare even for those closely involved. Jakob Nielsen would have a nervous colapse. I’m resorting to bookmarks for the time being…

  2. It’s an interesting project, but the problem I can’t get around is what particular sorts of memes in other languages are wanted. More than the languages, memes separate blogs and blog communities, and have their own social currency (the type of blogs that blog about public policy, international relations, foreign languages, cult movies from asia, daily minutiae, they all have their own circles and memes to spread, and very few cut across all of them; the day Andrew Sullivan does the Friday Five, I’ll put myself into the hospital laughing). And, for the most part, these different communities don’t talk to each other, even when not split by the same language (jargon and dialect and argot, however… but anyway). There is a reason media articles about “‘net culture”, let alone on blogs, are always mocked somewhere; internet interaction, as a whole, tends to create the illusion of universiality. (This is a problem, in general, with linguistic studies of internet jargon, I find, as well: the necessity of focusing in order to write the study is often inexplicit, if, even, the author is aware of the issue.)
    Is this project going to focus on one particular sort of blog and accompanying meme (currently, it seems rather political/world commentary), or is it going to break that barrier too?
    I apologize for posting this here, and not on the site itself, as well as for taking up space on your comments.

  3. No, no, don’t apologize — I love comments! I suspect at this point they’ll take what they can get, i.e. anything readers of foreign blogs feel like posting. (I’m going to put up a “were you born in the ’70s?” list that was making the rounds of the Russian blogs, for example.) It will be a long time before they have the luxury of sweeping theoretical constructs.

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