Sunday, May 04, 2008

Voices #4

The monthly challenge for Nablopomo is "voices," interrupted however you want. There are the voices we hear, the conversations we have with ourselves, and conversations. "To give voice" also means to empower someone, making that person's voice heard, to move them from the margin to center stage. One of the upsides of globalization - and the internet - is the ability to communicate with people, or learn about other people, through this media. Anyway, here are a few links to some blogs where this happens.

Some links related to voices:

Voices of Youth - This looks like an incredible site. UNICEF has been promoting the Millennium Development Goals and this page presents both information about the MDG but also the voices of those who are affected by poverty, conflict and disability in different regions of the world.

Global Voices Online - one of my favorite blog aggregators. There are links to many blogs across the globe. Every day, they focus on a few blogs, and it can be about anything - how different bloggers react to something that has occurred in another country, or daily things that makes us understand the other more.

Voices from the Gaps - This website features international women artists and writers of color. Looks very interesting.

Voices for American Children - Advocacy for children's health and education.

BBC page on regional dialects and accents. My dial-up connection is too slow to explore this page so I'll have to come back. Learning to listen and understand people even when the accent is different (and you're supposed to be speaking the same language) can challenge many people. Since I've been around people who speak English as a second language, I can pretty much understand anyone who speaks English in any which way. It really depends on patience, listening skills and the experience of talking and listening to many people.

Just to illustrate: when I was in school, I was in a required anatomy course taught by a brilliant German professor. She really put a lot of things together that made sense to me. My classmates focused on the thickness of her accent. "Why did they hire someone who couldn't speak English?" I think part of the problem was content of the course, and many of the students blaming her accent for their lack of study habits. But they mostly came from a mono-lingual English background, with little contact with people outside their worlds.

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