On the Sigia-L list (the archive is broken), Billie Mandel writes:
“I studied Russian for a year or so at university, and what fascinated me most about it was the manifold ways of expressing the English verb “to go” – you can go once or multiple times, on foot or by vehicle, go directly there/back or permit yourself to meander on the way, and express all of this intent in one simple verb selection. So when a Russian speaker tells me “I’m going to the store,” s/he has comparatively given me much more information than the comparable English speaker (native Russian speakers, please correct me if you disagree – this was my impression as a non-native learner).
These issues seem quite relevant to taxonomies that are meant for international audiences, or in a localization context. Usable structure for information and the level at which a given category is perceived could vary between languages, because of this kind of language-based cognitive difference (though I did once have this conversation with a linguist who thought this was absolute crap). Interesting to think about what it means in the context of bottom-up folksonomy – how this kind of one-to-many/vice versa map will develop in the chaotic universe of international web users.”