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RUSSIA: The languages of



I wondered if Cameron Sawyer knew Sam Greene, the Moscow-based author of the article on the importance of language study, Cameron writes: "Russia, the most ethnically diverse country in the world, has scores of languages; it is a Fortress of Languages (the title of an article on that subject in National Geographic). Please see
http://odur.let.rug.nl/~bergmann/russia/languages_groups.htm; and http://www.grey-net.com/fotw/flags/ru_ling.html. Even tiny Dagestan, a Russian republic situated at the corner made by the Caucasus Mountains with the Caspian Sea with a population of about 2 million, has 20 distinct and mutually unintelligible languages. Dagestan has the highest density of distinct languages of any place on earth. See http://www.dagestan.ru/dagestan/about.htm. Russian, however, is a true lingua franca throughout the Russian Federation. I have visited Dagestan, and witnessed villagers from neighboring villages understanding each other only by using Russian. Small world: Sam Green was my employee for some time; editor of Rupron, an online journal about Russian real estate which I published for a couple of years".

My comment: Global Journalist spells Sam's name Greene, Cameron spells it Green. Since I trust both equally, I remain neutral. Seriously, Cameron's point is important. Often English is used in negotiations between two countries because it is the only language they have in common. One good reason to clean up the mess of English spelling, of which Green-Greene is an example. The abundance of languages to which Cameron refers is expensive in many ways.

Ronald Hilton - 9/22/02


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