Am 28.01.2012 war Prof. Dr. DLitt. John Hartley zu Gast im Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, um einen öffentlichen Vortrag über Wikipedia und Minderheitensprachen zu halten. Dabei ging er vor allem auf die Unterschiede zwischen dem Walisischen und der Aborigine-Sprache Nyungar und den unterschiedlichen Konsequenzen für die jeweiligen Wiki-Communities ein. Den gesamten Vortrag inklusive der anschließenden Diskussion gibt es hier als Podcast.

John Hartley – Wikipedia and minority languages (Englisch, ca. 1 h 30 min – MP3, 112mb)


Mit einem Vorwort von Merlin Münch:

Guest Lecture by Prof. John Hartley

On Monday the 28th of January we had the pleasure to welcome John Hartley, Professor of Cultural Science and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University, at the HIIG for a guest lecture.

In about one and a half passionate hours, Prof. Hartley covered a variety of issues, ranging from the creative industries to challenges and opportunities for user-generated knowledge networks on the Internet, particularly in the context of minority languages, such as the Aboriginal ‘Nyungar’.

Throughout his talk, Hartley focused on the threefold relationship between language, creativity and knowledge. One of the reasons for his particular interest in minority languages, such as Nyungar, stems from his conviction that creativity often occurs where you least expect it. Opposing the increasing ‘monopolization’ of the linguistic domain by world languages such as English, Hartley pointed out the importance of preserving a large linguistic diversity, in order to tap its vast creative potential. It is the different ways in which we choose to express our experience of certain realities differently in different languages that makes them so valuable an asset for creative processes. Accordingly, the preservation of minority languages and their integration into online tools such as Wikipedia should not only be seen as an end to itself, but more importantly as a means to preserve access to a diversity of stocks of knowledge.

By asking ‘Why is there no Nyungar Wikipedia’, Prof. Hartley does not suggest that the Internet should live up to the, according to him, utopian ideal of making all the knowledge in the world available to everybody at all times. Instead, in contrast to an often cited statement by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the purpose of Wikipedia (“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing”), Hartley stressed the potential of tools like Wikipedia to empower minority groups by enabling them to build and preserve their own knowledge networks on the one hand, and to preserve for the rest of us a stock of knowledge embedded in a language that captures reality in concepts utterly different from our own.


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