Friday, August 31, 2007
Language Stops Plane
Language Log reports that the mere speaking of Arabic got air passengers suspicious enough to alert authorities to ... the speaking of Arabic. Now that I'm studying Arabic in more earnest than previously, I hope this won't cause undue concern--ok, I admit, I don't really care if people have a problem with it. And anyway, my pasty white northern Europeanness probably will work in my favor in the eyes of similar suspicious passengers. Seriously: you can't live in the modern world and be terribly surprised to hear just about any language, especially one spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. (And I'll admit here I was spoiled growing up in Brooklyn and hearing everything!) But if you do think of Arabic primarily as a language that many of our enemies speak, wouldn't you want more people speaking it? Anyway, Bill Poser's point about what languages terrorists actually speak is well made--I better be careful who I speak French around.