Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Langauge and its discontents

The other day a friend and I were discussing the various ways language can be used, misused, abused, and simply misunderstood. We were discussing the days before dictionaries when spelling was haphazard, and functionality of words beat out standardized forms for them.

This is a reprint of a BBC article about a tunnel fire in South Korea. But the differences between the way this is written and how it would be written in the U.S. is enough to make you wonder how long "English" is going to be a universal language. I mean if the Brits and Ameircans can't even decide on words for "Truck" or spelling for "tire" how are we going to get the Japanese, the Uzbeks, and the Rwandans to conform to "English"?

S Korea missiles in tunnel fire
A civilian lorry carrying missile parts has been caught up in a fire inside a South Korean tunnel.

The lorry was in a four-vehicle convoy travelling through the road tunnel between the southern cities of Taegu and Masan, an Air Force spokesman said.

Reports say a tyre on one of the lorries caught fire after it braked.

Scores of cars were trapped in the tunnel by the fire, but witnesses said they thought everyone had escaped.

"All of the motorists escaped the tunnel, leaving their cars behind," Kim Tae-soo told South Korea's YTN.

The air force spokesman said the convoy was heading to a nearby air base carrying Nike missile warheads and boosters.

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