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Anna Wierzbicka – Can people profess one (completely the same) faith without a common language?

Anna Wierzbicka

In this lecture I would like to tell you about what I am working on now, and at the same time show you how “minimal languages” can help us build bridges for thinking and for deeper, more precise understanding between people of different languages and different traditions.

The main focus of my reflections will be the first two lines of the Nicene Creed, which I think is one of the most important human documents in the world (both in contemporary and historical perspective). This Nicene Creed is recited by more than two billion people who wish to profess the same faith in this way. But is it possible to profess one (absolutely the same) faith without one common language?

My answer is: roughly speaking, it is possible, but minimal languages allow us to achieve greater unity of thought and better mutual understanding on a global scale than using any “natural language” (e.g. English or Polish (e.g. English or Polish) shaped by the specific history and culture of those who spoke and use that language.


Translated by Agnieszka Borgul (student of English Studies at the University of Wrocław) as part of the translation practice.