Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 15. Nr. September 2004

8.4. L'éducation multiculturelle ou Est-il possible de créer un espace culturel commun?
HerausgeberIn | Editor | Éditeur: Mirela Moldoveanu (Université d'Ottawa, Canada)

Buch: Das Verbindende der Kulturen | Book: The Unifying Aspects of Cultures | Livre: Les points communs des cultures

Culturally -Embedded Concepts via Internet
A Contrastive Study

Anca Irinel Teleoaca (University of Galati, Romania) [BIO]



Computers, Internet and their language have obviously become an important part in people's lives from all over the world, and, consequently, have reached all strata of every civilized society whether social, economic, political or educational. It turns out to be evident that, the new language has brought new cultural concepts as well because many computer and Internet terms were coined as a result of a specific cultural angle, and that will include certain American concepts, ideas, habits, objects, and gestures.

As they have drawn my attention when working on and with computers and the users' language within a translation theory perspective, this paper will take into consideration some of the culturally-embedded concepts via Internet, and their projection onto the Romanian propensity and openness to freshness and innovation in language that have beyond doubt changed our way of thinking towards future. The method used will be a contrastive study on the American and the Romanian cultural and, implicitly, educational backgrounds. To name only few here, the game concept, the 'time is money' concept, the concept of user-friendly will be analysed from varied viewpoints, i.e., culturally, semiotically at the language level analysis, and pedagogically, thus, taking into account the educational motivations.




In the past 14 years, Romania has encountered a constant technological boom that is to be traced on a variety of domains such as industry, economy, education, mass media, politics, and other important systems. A case in point is the personal computer that has become an irreplaceable tool involved in almost all the activity areas among which the education and mass media systems are continuously benefitting by. Consequently, new concepts, like the so far well-known multimedia technology, user-friendly systems, Internet, Web technologies, cyberspace communities, virtual reality, etc. have been brought up to the Romanian culture. Therefore, I will try to develop the first part of the paper into a contrastive cultural analysis between some of the American behavioural patterns, beliefs, values and symbols that are to be perceived when thinking of the Internet, what this means, and how it functions, and the eastern traditional patterns and their development under the influence of such powerful technology. Along with the sharing of a net culture within contemporary world-wide generations, I will also base my study on more levels of language analysis, linguistically and semiotically speaking, of the concepts of human-computer interaction and other things implied here and to the concept of cyberspace to point out the fact that the global generations are purposefully drawn near and swept into a cyber-kind-of-living by means of user-friendly systems in order to feel as comfortable as it can be within a space shared by different nationalities at the same time. Last but not least, a didactic approach would highlight the importance of technological developments in the teaching-learning processes.


1. Cultural Gaps

1.1 The Concept of Interconnection

To start with, the concept of Internet was firstly developed in military bases under its initial name of ARPANET(1), and, then, fully developed as an educational concept of interconnection (1) in the universities and research centers. The permanent interaction between students and their teachers represents an outstanding priority for the American educational system, which was not our case-culture before 1989. This concept of educational connection implies that each and every computer user can interact with another kind of medium than the ordinary face-to-face instruction, as for instance, a multimedia technology which is considered an enabling teaching method of presenting computer-based information using varied communicative means, such as text, graphics and sound employed by video and audio technology as it follows: by means of floppies and compact disks, by means of software utilities (in PowerPoint presentations) or by means of the online status. From my point of view, the status of being connected online represents the opportunity of learning about others and getting experience from others at distance. The distance learning and the distance education are fairly new concepts imported by our educational system under the Romanian acronym of IDD or, in its fully sense, Open Distance Education(2) under the influence of a rapid technological change and shifting market conditions. Thus, the Romanian educational system is challenged with providing increased educational opportunities with, unfortunately to say, increased budgets. Many educational institutions are answering this challenge by developing distance education programs, as for instance, the well-known CODECS(3), a program of management education for active managers in the emerging free market economy.

Another Online European Project, the well-known Ariadne Project, has been recently presented to our University teachers in order to raise pedagogical interest on using new technologies as they allow a well-thought out collaboration among distant users. Consequently, teachers are encouraged to apply a new and more efficient teaching model, which is the collaborative learning(4). Tools like discussion forums, e-mailing lists, video-conferencing represent a pedagogical success in our modern times.

The key words for such an educational enterprise are those that fit to the American way of expressing themselves as a wide insular nation who needs to be open and accessible to the continental diverse cultures. Thus, the Internet is conceived as being open and accessible and, why not, more secure in a way, to every internaut because of the lower costs when accessing the information needed. It is much cheaper and even safer to get connected via cables, phone lines or satellites rather than flying over the ocean. More than that, the linguistic repository on the Internet consists in mere indications of the way the system works. Terms like: go to, back, forward, search, help, home are at ease and provide self-confidence and re-assurance of not losing yourself in overwhelming data.

1.2 Internet, Myths and the Globalisation Concept

Another aspect of the Internet to be highlighting next is its extensive short form use of net. Therefore, I shall analyze it as related to another kind of systematic correlations within our experience, a new perspective that brings humanity closer to holiness. To do so, I will be interested to show the remote meanings of the word net, starting from the Gospels, in which "nets symbolize divine instrumentality" moving to gather up mankind and bringing "the just into the kingdom of Heaven".(5) In oriental folklore, the deities make use of holy nets to catch men in their meshes, and in Christian religion, there is a story about two brothers who were called - by God - to be the Fishermen's Souls. In Persian tradition, for instance, the net takes another facet, and this time the opposite, of the former analyzed above: it is not the divine tool but of a mundane origin in order to capture a spiritual entity(6).

In our technological society, the appearance of the Internet(7) is considered a very important event in our lives, having a great impact on human experience, as well as the religious cults have had on humankind along the history. Nowadays, the Net has become an important symbol of the globalization concept -, since it connects millions of computers and users altogether. In spite of what I am going to say seems rather far-fetched, I would like to think that the Internet belongs to a divine origin, like everything else, because it fulfills anyone's wishes, like traveling anywhere with no need of money or real transportation, or reading anything from the web pages especially designed to this purpose (HyperTextTransferProtocol), or communicating to whomever by sending messages or even using your own voice (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), and so forth. The rapid development of the Internet seems promising since a new era of low-costs has taken shape due to the most advanced electronic technology. This change has forwarded an expansion of a global culture in which information is transferred without frontiers in few seconds through mailing lists, forum groups, or chatrooms (Internet Relay Chat). The concept of globalization via Internet is perceived as an extended network of human relationships, ideologies and sets of habits and behaviours, all shared in a process of moving toward another kind of future. To conclude, even emotions, states and feelings have been standardized over the Internet and heavily used under their new linguistic coinage of smileys and emoticons.

1.3 The Superpower's Fears of Losing Control or "Pandora's Box" Unleashed

The facts submitted above represent an optimistic point of view over one of the many facets of the Internet, which I need to remind here that it has been first and foremost invented for military use. This can not but proves that the world's superpower was insecure and, therefore, eager to take control over the most powerful tool in the mankind's whole history, the Information. However, there is the reversed coin of downloading and uploading meaningful and, at the same time, useless data onto servers, because there is always someone to be against your actions. Consequently, a new world of users have emerged and attacked the network in different and witty modes of action by hacking the information, cracking codes and data, flaming the newsgroups or contracting the net with viruses. Virtually speaking this time, the Pandora's Box was once again unleashed by the cyberspace 'terrorists'.

On the other hand, the common user of the Internet might feel trapped into a network of good and bad wills when plugged in. We seem to get addicted to it, and, consequently, not being able to survive if this, one day, might suddenly vanish. This would pessimistically imply that it is impossible to escape from this universe and from its governing laws. In a similar way we are bounded to live on the Earth and its surrounding universe, only dreaming of and hoping for better places, like Heaven.

1.4 'An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away' or 'As American as an Apple Pie'

Going on with the cultural investigation on the American way of thinking in strict relation to the world of computers, I shall begin with my own dilemma about the similarities between the ordinary apples and computers. From a start, I shall retrace the history of the prototypical fruit which is The Apple, that fruit known by humankind as the fruit of immortality, of discord and "of the image of the richness, sweetness and savour of the Word of God".(8) During the mankind's history, it has been employed symbolically in several senses, which, apparently distinct, are in fact interrelated.

Firstly, it is known as a key to knowledge, on the one hand - as Adam and Eve discovered new and intriguing aspects about themselves as sentient beings in Heaven, in the sense that they have acquired the spiritual power of knowing and understanding their surroundings, - and to life and the immortality never attained, on the other. Both Greek and Roman mythologies refer to apples as symbols of love and beauty.

Secondly, it is a key to freedom because 'eating the apple' meant abuse of the intellect to gain the knowledge of evil, abuse of the senses to lust after evil, and abuse of the freedom to commit evil. In this sense, to give only an example, the computer war games provide a hundred percent of liberty for each player to destroy his virtual enemy, which, more or less, represents the knowledge of doing evil and the ability to carry out the most secret passions hidden in our souls.

The rounded shape of the apple comes to reinforce the man's lust after evil symbolizing the Earth-bound passions and their fulfillment. In this sense, Divine prohibition was meant to warn humanity against being mastered by those passions, which would show the way to a materialistic way of life, as contrasting with the spiritualized existence, which is the path of progressive development. The Apple is, therefore, the symbol of that knowledge of being placed under the commitment of making a choice between the Earth-bound passions and that of spirituality(9). On the other hand, optimistically taken into consideration the symbolic analysis on both the net and the apple, I may say that by inventing the cyberspace - by eating from the fruit of knowledge -, like God created the Universe in seven days, Man wanted to surpass himself to reach a superior level of existence. Thus, he has become the Supreme Designer of his own world governed by rules and laws of his own Judgment.

And thirdly, going down from Heaven, and waking up into the materialistic way of conducting our lives, the Apple Computer(10) was meant to open a new path to knowledge, that is, to bring to computer users the most sophisticated technologies and innovations, like graphical user interface(11), built-in networking, or plug-and-play expansion(12), and many others in order to perform different and not so easy tasks rapidly and efficiently because it fits the American saying 'time is money'. The Apple is a salable product in a tight relation to consumers' budgets as it was considered the first affordable computer to include a Graphical User Interface. More than that, I suppose that its marketing success heavily relied on the energetically promoting slogans 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'(13).

And last but most reliable, I cannot think of anything else but of one of the American metropolis, which is the city of New York, also known as 'The Big Apple', the place where the McIntosh type of apples grows well because of the cool climate in there.

1.5 The Concept of Cyberspace and the Awareness of Large Spaces

The fifth important cultural impact to consider here is the metaphorical cyberspace(14) which rightfully connotes a nation's perfect awareness of large spaces, symbolizing, in fact, the vast territory where the USA lies. Verbs like surf and navigate through cyberspace also point to a physical territory surrounded by oceans. The expression 'keep on surfing through the Internet' seems awkward to a Romanian native whose geographical position is continental and to reach the top of the Black Sea waves is not possible by surfing. But in order to comprehend any new technology, people regularly describe it in terms already familiar to them. This happens when scientists try to explain what Internet is and bring into focus the relation of similarity with an electronic space controlled by humans; hence, the concept of cyberspace. The term is a combination of the morphemes: "cyber(15)" - that grows to be a computer-related marker assuming the meaning of 'that which belongs to the digital world' - and space which covers the meaning of physical territory, and connotes several aspects, like:

- first, a space has a virtually infinite extension (is the 'whole Universe' a correct input of people's knowledge about Cosmogony?), including so many things that they can never be grasped all in a human's life; a good example is the already existing collections of electronic data on the Internet, meaning that cyberspace deals mostly with speed, access and manipulation of information (viz. browser);

- second, space connotes the idea of mobility, which is not necessarily organized, i.e., of being able to go to a variety of places at random. And indeed, the Internet promotes a nomadic existence as it is part of the Americans' life to commute from a city to another city, even state because of their professions or their need to always search for a better place to live.

The idea of movement without frontiers is conveyed by the web interface indication to go to a site or to follow a URL(16)link.

- and third, a space has some kind of geometry, implying the 3D concepts (viz. 3D games), such as: distance, direction and dimension.

Nowadays, the combining form, cyber, has got a new connotative marker, as of being (+virtual); it connotes both the idea of navigation through a space of electronic data, and of taking control over the inputs and the outputs. Finally, the huge package of information is sent via millions of computers connected to millions of nodes waiting to receive, control and pass them over.

The truth that not only the Americans but also the Europeans have felt the need of exchanging information rapidly and almost instantly is attested by the Web innovation in Geneva (Switzerland) by the English inventor Tim Berners Lee. As the father of the Web(17)

himself puts it best, this technology is not only a powerful attraction and full of meaningful information for the users because of its openness but also, the users' creativity and contributions to its development makes the Web so challenging and fascinating. As a consequence, it has been immediately introduced in the American universities and largely used by Netscape Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

To conclude, by creating the Web, a new cultural bridge has been built over the Atlantic Ocean and the whole world. Moreover, cultures all over the world experience the ongoing process of being re-engineered and reconfigured under the impact of this new technology. To provide only few examples related to the educational environment and main changes coming along, teachers no longer represent the main 'pawn' in physically teaching content. This does not mean that they no longer participate in the teaching-learning process; they role is reduced to, let's say, watching over the accurate way their content is delivered, comprehended and applied by students. If the teacher has properly acquired the new technology in his domain of interest (course editing and design), then he may implicitly change his status from a far-fetched tutor into a Web editor, course manager and training designer.

1.6 The Game Concept and User-friendly Systems

Another important educational issue to be mentioned next is the American habit to find various ways or activities of learning everything in a pleasant and friendly manner, as for instance, the game concept, which is a recurrent technique in computer language, too.

The first term to be analysed emphasizes fundamental differences that occur within people's cultural backgrounds and the way cultural concepts, beliefs and ideas and, especially, keeping with them, have more or less impact on other cultures. For instance, no Romanian user ever thought that small, tiny animals like, the mouse and the gopher, would become so important in the latest humankind technological creation, the computer and the whole world it has generated and interconnected so far. Whoever thought that the Romanian 'popândau' or the American 'gopher' would change the semantic equivalence from (+living), (+animate), (+physical) to an upper level of conceptualization, like being virtual? More than that, the computer word meaning proves itself as a cultural gap between the two cultures under discussion not because it was developed at the University of Minnesota(18) but because it was named after the school's mascot. Generally speaking, mascots do not play the same significant role in our culture as they do in the American educational system whose entertaining activities, like sports events, festivals, and holidays are mostly based on various cultural symbols that nicely and elegantly wear their metaphorical veil.

The same happens with the playful and joyful character of the Disney world that has undergone a revolutionized transformation and has passed from the world of cartoons into the one of computers. I may dare say that the term mouse(19) was purposefully reinvented as an easy-to-use device (as for instance, the way it moves) with a graphical user interface. In the computer world, the term user-friendly represents an essential concept, which is the basis of all graphical user interfaces, on-line help systems, menu-driven programs, etc., because computers and their software have to be accessible to novices to use them. Within this educational context, the concept of user-friendliness has become a cliché in the American way of life.

In contrast, 'mice' do not represent anything agreeably or friendly in our culture; they are considered tiny, dangerous, rodent animals destroying people's harvest. Therefore, it would be difficult to presume that, within a forthcoming period of time, the Romanian computer users would utter 'soricel' - obviously felt as a target constraint -, instead of the American mouse because the latter would accomplish two functions at the same time: make them think of a small computer device and not recall of anything bad.

A different but much closer approach to the educational targets and intercultural dialogue is the pedagogical point of view on user-friendly systems discussed above. Thus, the concept of user-friendliness oriented towards the learning processes has radically changed even in our country, meaning that students have more learning opportunities like:

Drawing a final conclusion here, Romanian students as well as theirs teachers undergo a changing pedagogical process from old educational environments (seminar rooms), methods (orally delivered lectures), tools (video tapes, whiteboards), skills and assessment (paper presentations, paperwork) to more advanced ones, like extensive use of computers and multimedia resources.


2. Semiotic Events in Human - Computer Interfaces

The second part of my paper follows the cultural gaps that can be noticed on the semiotic level of language, too.

In order to establish the role of semiotics in a given culture, we have to look at the concepts of (1) culture, and (2) semiotics. On the one hand, culture is strictly related to human to human communication and represents a socio-political and economic cumulative repository of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, feelings and thoughts, hierarchies, religious convictions, perceptions of time and spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people along the history and passed to the next generations through individual and group striving; semiotics, on the other hand, studies the production, transmission, exchange and interpretation of the messages in a specific culture studying the sign systems or structures, sign processes, and sign functions. The link between those disciplines is the transfer of information from a source, in our case, the computer system and the whole working team of software and hardware engineers hidden behind the screen, to a receiver represented by the computer users whether they are neophytes or not. These elements are central for the purpose of understanding the new technological boom of the world of computer networking because the various signs, their meanings and significance, as well as their intertextual relationships (text and context) in a human to computer communication have to be examined in order to establish correct significance and roles. Starting from the fact that a sign is anything that can be interpreted, and must be physically and mentally perceptible, I may say that an important issue to be analysed here is the phatic function of language in relation with cultural aspects of the language of computers and of the Web. And, again, I will exemplify with another important educational aspect of the American system, that is, the concept of interactivity (6). As related to a computer environment, this does not only imply a verbal type of communication but a mixture between verbalized and non-verbalized sign, thus combining two main language functions, like the phatic and the aesthetic ones. The former points once again to maintaining friendly contact, viz. computer-user, and the latter points to both enchant the users' intellect and provide some fun or guidance through the use of different types of icons, symbols and indices. This means that the user and the computer engage themselves in a communicative situation (e.g. press button/voting type of technology) whose purpose has to be a successful accomplishment of various tasks. With human-computer interaction, there is what John Morgan and Peter Welton describe as, 'context, contact and code'(20). This implies that, the context describes the reason for the interaction. Assuming that computers are marked for an economic context as they are continuously fostered by marketing campaigns with new and updated software and hardware releases, I may continue saying that they are also fanciful products which world wide consumers crave for when trying to keep up with the 'Google' times. Having thus established the motivation for initiating the contact, I may proceed in setting up the way this human computer interaction is performed, i.e., point, press, hit or click events. And finally, code is the agreed method of communication during the interaction. Human-computer dealings, I dare say, - the events mentioned above are but types of negotiations between the user and the computer on the ways the former can access those particular items needed -, happen through an intuitive interface that iconically represents familiar objects found on the desktop. In this way, iconic interfaces allow the user to accomplish tasks through deduction because their principle aim is to express visual fidelity, say, for instance, the trashcan icon positioned on the desktop must resemble the real wastebasket in order to help the user understand this is the place where junk documents may be thrown into or sent to. There are here two situational factors at stake, that is, the user's ability to recognize the relationships of similarity between the electronic image and the real objects it makes reference to, on the one hand, and on the other, the designer's competence to provide as exact, precise and accurate representation as possible for the success of both contact and code in a graphical user interface. There is a general opinion that any product to be salable has to be firstly presented in a agreeable manner, like the extensive use of commercial advertisements, so as to attract the consumers' interest, next it has to be accessible in an omnipresent status on the market, and then to be easy and know-how to use. Therefore, a graphical user interfaces heavily relies on icons because they simply agree and apply to the concept of not 'making things harder as they really are', in the sense that, it seems useless and non-profitable for the designers to make ordinary computer users type all sorts of symbols and commands, like the MS-DOS programmers do. Whether we are referring to different operating systems, or computer games, or Web browsers, their communicative interfaces with the users are attractive, vivid, colourful, and witty in displaying any kind of information. Each and every time I interact with my computer in any type of context as to become a writer, a Web designer or to get mail from my e-mail server or to connect to a particular newsgroup, I have the strange feeling of being Alice in the Wonder Land because of the clues, and links, and entries that all lead and guide me to the accomplishment of the tasks required.

Let us have other examples with computer specific lexical items, like grabbers and the standardized set of feelings and emotions extensively used by chatters or other types of e-pals. The first icon I am referring to should look like what it represents: 'a hand symbol', a kind of pointer that enables the user to move objects or manipulate them on the screen. An important aspect to be highlighted here is that images, like grabber, Recycle Bin, My Documents, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer reduced to a common representation have a greater impact on computer users than mere linguistic signs. In fact, for a better guarantee in grasping those images, lexical entries are pasted below in order to reinforce the act of signification. The next example brings about a pair of new coined words in a partial relationship of synonymy. The concept of expressing various emotions over the Internet has been firstly taken shape under the name of smiley, generally because of its denotation of positive thinking and feelings. Surprisingly or not, the users' eagerness of blending written type of communication to a face to face interaction has motivated them to continuously add new and innovative icons and even to create Web sites of endless lists or to put them on the Internet Explorer toolbar. As a consequence, smiley has turned into emoticon and expanded its meaning into several other sub-meanings. Nowadays, emoticons are icons symbolizing diverse cultural areas like, technology, holidays, school, entertainment, etc.

To conclude, gestures, that aid language, such as the use of grabbers, or winking, or frowning by means of emoting or smileying help in comprehending the action because they reflect natural aids to human understanding. Note also that a developer's intention is not necessarily meant to describe a computer event or to present own designs on some topic; it might just as well be to communicate a mood or emotion, some sensory input, etc. Language as an important communicative tool provides the user with form as well as with meaning which can ultimately be manipulated to such ends.

On the other hand, if we are to refer to computer neophytes, the use of icons can be intriguing and even puzzling at the same time, as for instance, the image of an unzip program files or a WinAce archiver do not recall of anything similar to their reality.

The novices' only hope is that within time this soft designing problem will be solved and all these electronic images will be more accurate and clearer according to their fixed roles.

Going on with the analysis on the concept of interface as related to semiotics, I would state that the Web browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera) as tools of visualizing events on the Web also display a user-friendly interface with icons, symbols and indices, like a Web address always marked in blue is a mere indication of some physically location on a server. Similarly, Web sites are underlined and, when accessed, their blue colour becomes faded in order to mark and remind the user the click event on it. On the other hand, any computer system also communicates with a user by means of indices as, for example, the blinking of either red or green lights to indicate that the system is working for you and processing the input of information whether it refers to a compact or a floppy disk the computer has to read and translate it for you or is searching for specific data asked by the user. Another case of such an index is when copying files to a disk, a window opens and gives a visual confirmation of the fact that those files are sent to the respective location.

The very basis on the ideas enumerated above starts from the intrinsic relationship of cause and effect which is part of the real world, like lightning and thunder, gravity and the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface, the American Constitution and the enact of a Federal Bill of Rights and the birth of the political parties, back and forward etc.. The computer system turns out to be the more sophisticated the more literate the user is. Therefore, multimedia technology consisting in images, sounds, pictures and many other devices help the user personalize its mostly exercised computer applications, such as: e-mail, default Web page or chat room. Consequently, visual and audible indices may be promising tools, like customized sounds for incoming new messages or for a certain kind of signalling whispers in a chat room.

As seen, different type of interfaces whether permanent or transient offer highly developed technologies which are constantly updated, reinvented and recreated. This sequence of events that implicitly absorb an Internet cultural umbrella of the continental and insular populations of the globe can only conduct the future of humanity into a new era that has already exceeded the one of Information and reached a superior level of High-Speed Information and Commerce. This umbrella shared by all virtual communities that exchange information and experience of all kind over the Internet will actually determine the wired population to decide on the way they perceive, interpret, think, judge and feel about this almost perfect democracy distributed via an apparently lingua franca and a 'standardized' computer semiotics. Last but not least, with increasing Internet access, the teaching - learning process will find its potential to more contributions, research and scholarships via the Web conferences, electronic journals, textbooks and libraries.

© Anca Irinel Teleoaca (University of Galati, Romania)


(1) Established in 1969, the precursor to the Internet was a large wide-area network created by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency(ARPA).(Philip E. Margolis, Computer &Internet Dictionary, Third Edition, New York, Random House, 1999, p.27.

(2) Following initial contact in 1991 between The Open University (OU) and representatives of the University of Bucharest, a joint stock company operating in association with the University of Bucharest was formed in 1993 under the name of The Centre for Open Distance Education for a Civic Society (CODECS). (, 2003).

(3) CODECS functions as a private organisation delivering Open University Business School (OUBS) programmes to fulfill the requirements of the evolving Romanian economy for skilled managerial staff. Aside from the partnership with OUBS, CODECS also offers the Project Management Course in co-operation with The Open University and has developed a successful collaboration with the University of Westminster to offer the Master of Arts in Human Resource Management. (ibid.)

(4) Steve Ryan, Bernard Scott et al., The Virtual University. The Internet and Resource-Based Learning, London-USA, Kogan Page, 2000, p.150.

(5) Jean Chevallier and Alain Gheerbrant, A Dictionary of Symbols, USA, BLACKWELL Reference, 1994, p. 698.

(6) Cf. Jean Chevallier and Alain Gheerbrant, op. cit., p. 699.

(7) The Internet has more than 100 million user worldwide, and that number is growing rapidly. More 100 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions. (Philip E Margolis, ibid., p.283).

(8) Idem, ibid., p. 35.

(9) Cf. Jean Chevallier and Alain Gheerbrant, ibid., pp. 36-37.

(10) A personal computer company founded by Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. (Philip E. Margolis, Dicþionar P.C., Bucuresti, NEMIRA, 1997, p. 17.)

(11) First introduced in 1983. Many components of the Macintosh GUI have become de facto standards and can be found in other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows. (Computer &Internet Dictionary, New York, Random House Webster, 3rd Edition, 1999, p. 23).

(12) In 1985. It refers to the ability of a computer system to configure expansion boards and other devices automatically. ( idem., ibid., p.434.).

(13) It is also believed that ordinary apples were distributed to the poor for sale on the city of New York streets during the Great Depression of the 1940s. (The Society for New York City History,, 1995).

(14) It was coined in the early 1980s by science fiction writer William Gibson in his trilogy of novels about futuristic computer users who are able to leave their bodies and ride through cyberspace; it represents Gibson's vision of a global computer network, linking all people, machines and sources of information in the world, and through which one could move or 'navigate' as through a virtual space.(Susan Herring, Computer-Mediated Communication. Linguistic, Social Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1996, p.161)

(15) It comes from the Greek "kybern" which means to steer. (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, New York/Avenel, GRAMERCY, 1994, p.359)

(16) short for Resourse Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. (Phillip Margolis, Computer & Internet Dictionary, ibid., 582).

(17) "The openness of the Web is a powerful attraction. Everyone can not only read what's on the Web but contribute to it, and everybody is in a sense equal". (Rochester Institute of Technology,, 2003).

(18) "Gopher is a system that predates the Web for organizing and displaying files on Internet servers."( Phillip E. Margolis, ibid., p.235)

(19) Douglas Engelbart changed the way computers worked, from specialized machinery that only a trained scientist could use, to a user-friendly tool that almost anyone can use. In 1964, he invented or contributed to the interactive friendly device, i.e. the first prototype computer mouse. (Mary Bellis, Inventors of the Modern Computer. The History of the Computer Mouse and the Prototype for Windows, Inventor Newsletter,, 2004)

(20) J. Morgan, P. Welton, See What I Mean, Edward Arnold Edition, 1986, p.108


Morgan, J. and Welton, P., See What I Mean, Edward Arnold Edition: 1986.

Chevallier, Jean and Gheerbrant, Alain A Dictionary of Symbols, BLACKWELL Reference, USA: 1994.

Herring, Susan, Computer-Mediated Communication. Linguistic, Social Cross-Cultural Perspectives. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: 1996.

Crystal, David, Language and the Internet, Cambridge University Press: 2001.

Dictionar de calculatoare, Teora, Editia a II-a, 2002.

Margolis, Philip E., Computer &Internet Dictionary, Random House Webster, 3rd Edition, 1999.

Philip E. Margolis, DicTionar P.C., Nemira, 1997.

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, GRAMERCY, New York/Avenel: 1994.

New Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, 2001.

Internet Explorer 5, Editura Axel Springer, BucureBAti, 2001.

Shnier, Mitchell, COMPUTER DICTIONARY. Data Communications, PC Hardware, and Internet Terminology, Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi, 2002.

Ryan, Steve and Scott, Bernard, et al., The Virtual University. The Internet and Resource-Based Learning, Kogan Page, 2000.

8.4. L'éducation multiculturelle ou Est-il possible de créer un espace culturel commun?

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Anca Irinel Teleoaca (University of Galati, Romania): Culturally -Embedded Concepts via Internet. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW:

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