Opinion | The role of language in an increasingly divided world
It can be a source of conflict as digital media brings people of different cultures ever closer
Because what a speaker means and what a listener hears can be very different, language can be an instrument to foment trouble
I was having lunch in an Ithaca restaurant with my mother-in-law, who was visiting from India, when the Chinese waitress serving us asked her where she came from. “Kolhapur," my mother-in-law replied, referring to the small town in Maharashtra where she was born. Much to my surprise, the waitress looked overjoyed. “I lived there for several years," she said.