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Is ‘foreign’ a positive or negative word?

Continuing the conversation of Pico Iyer’s insightful debate, we wanted to ask: do you view the word ‘foreign’ positively or negatively? During his Found In Translation Session, the global panel considered the existence and value of ‘foreignness’. For them, it seemed to be something that should be seeked out and cherished but this is not a universal conclusion. For some, this term holds negative connotations or is simply becoming obsolete in a world that is growing homogenously as technology and innovation link people and mix cultures.


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    Jun 27 2013: As Pico Iyer's talk has not yet been posted on the site, would you be willing to summarize its key ideas here so that those who were not part of TED Global can have that benefit?

    In answer, though, the connotation of the word "foreign" is context-dependent.

    When people think of "traveling to foreign lands," the connotation is positive. When the veterinarian says there appears to be a foreign object in the dog's stomach, the connotation is negative.
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      Jun 29 2013: Hi Fritzle,

      This conversation is following on from Pico's Found In Translation Session at TEDGlobal 2013, you can watch the session here: http://www.ted.com/pages/partners_skype_iyer.

      Thank you for joining our debate!

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        Jun 29 2013: Thank you! I knew the talk itself from TED Global was not yet available and am delighted that the Found in Translation session is available for public viewing.

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