In The Field

Earth System Science: Sorry, I only speak English

One of my main goals here was to meet Chinese researchers: a rare

opportunity. But there has been a significant language barrier to this task,

which I confess I wasn’t expecting. I naively thought that the younger

generation of scientists would be chirping away in English over their

posters, but this hasn’t quite proven to be the case. For most, their

command of English is admirable – and infinitely better than their foreign

colleagues’ command of Chinese. But it is obvious at this conference, which

is almost entirely about forging communication links between different

research fields and countries, that language is still a barrier to those



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