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domino effect

English translation: explanation of the domino "theory"

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07:03 Aug 16, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
English term or phrase: domino effect
I'm a student taking a psychology/sociology course, in which my teacher says this is an example of the domino effect:
Let's say a couple has two children. The husband is German and his wife is Italian. They decide that they shall educate their sons differently; the older boy will be taught both German and Italian, but the younger boy will learn German only. The bilingual/monolingual system in which they will be home schooled is the domino effect.
I found the following definition of the expression "domino effect": A cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events.
My question is: Am I overlooking a linguistic issue here? I'd really appreciate your comments & ideas. I hope someone can enlighten my understanding on this matter.
TIA
Wilton C.
English translation:explanation of the domino "theory"
Explanation:
roughly, the domino effect is the fact that all that is taught to one, will rub off (or contaminate is bad) on all persons around him.

I think that they just teach 2 languages to the first, and one to the second and see if the first will "naturally" teach the other.

ref : Larousse (french) encyclopedia

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Note added at 2003-08-16 08:42:03 (GMT)
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typo above (contaminate IF bad)

In the end, will both speak the 2 languages.....??? Probably....

The original (political) theory was developed by the Americans. A lack of firmness leading a state to communism would (could) cause the same evolution in neighbouring states (a row of dominos falling over due to the unsteadiness of only one....)
Selected response from:

Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen
France
Local time: 09:33
Grading comment
Hello again! First of all, I'd like to give a special thanks to Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen for mentioning the domino theory and its historical origin, as well as the direct relation to the scenario given by my teacher. She explained it like this:
"roughly, the domino effect is the fact that all that is taught to one[in this case, the first child], will rub off (or contaminate if bad) on all persons around him [his younger brother].

I think that they just teach 2 languages to the first, and one to the second and see if the first will "naturally" teach the other.

ref : Larousse (french) encyclopedia

In the end, will both speak the 2 languages.....??? Probably....

The original (political) theory was developed by the Americans. A lack of firmness leading a state to communism would (could) cause the same evolution in neighbouring states (a row of dominos falling over due to the unsteadiness of only one....)

Wonderful!
***********
Thank you Dr. Giuli Kvrivishvili for providing another possibility: Chomsky. Today I presented all these interesting ideas to my teacher, who could not believe all the effort I put to understand his lesson, with all of your kind help of course. The end of the story is, yes, both children learned the two languages. A classic example of domino effect! Thank you all!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +8Our argument and confusion is all Noam Chomsky's fault :-))
DGK T-I
5 +3There has got to be more to the story than this.Fuad Yahya
5 +2Chomsky domino effectDavid Moore
3 +3See explanationxxxIanW
3 +1explanation of the domino "theory"
Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen
3 +1belowAlwin27


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
See explanation


Explanation:
Here's how I understand it:
It means that the younger child will learn Italian at home through his brother: one domino "knocking" another one into a certain linguistic frame of mind.

xxxIanW
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 235

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lucia De Rocco
14 mins

agree  Jirina Nevosadova
20 mins

agree  Alaa Abdulsalam
21 mins

agree  Anna Haxen: I don't understand why the teacher chose this not very illustrative example, though. It seems more like an example of the domino theory, because it doesn't tell us if the expected effect was actually seen.
26 mins

disagree  David Moore: Cause and effect, maybe; domino effect? Never!
45 mins

neutral  DGK T-I: this does actually describe what is happening,but any normal domino effect seems odd(unless more dominos outside story we have been told about,eg:a chain of factors,actions & additional actors).
2 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
There has got to be more to the story than this.


Explanation:
What is the conclusion of the story? How does it end? What is the supposed lesson or "moral"? If this is a setting that is supposed to invite students to imagine various possible ensuing scenarios, what are some of the scenarios discussed? What point was the teacher was trying to illustrate?

Answers to such questions could help illuminate what the teacher meant by "domino effect." Not that his usage is standard, mind you, but it may just be possible to figure out what he was trying to say.

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Note added at 2003-08-16 19:34:30 (GMT)
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Reading the answers provided by my colleagues, I am struck by the contextual shift from a story about language acquisition in a psychology/sociology class to geopolitics. How did this shift happen?

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Note added at 2003-08-16 22:39:22 (GMT)
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Sentence structure correction: \"What point was the teacher trying to illustrate?\" I used the verb \"was\" twice above. I apologize.


Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 893

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  DGK T-I: Confusingly:)Chomsky's idea that he calls"the real domino effect"and"the threat of a good example"(different from normal'domino effect'in that it's other name emphasizes cause not cascade effect -a rational explain as 2 child.not a cascade)Allusion.
1 hr
  -> The Chomskian use of "domino effect" is in line with normal usage: one thing leading to another. The use of "domino effect" in the asker's question does not seem to follow normal usage, although we cannot really say until we hear the full story.

agree  Ali Beikian
5 hrs

agree  Rusinterp: quite interesting
13 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
explanation of the domino "theory"


Explanation:
roughly, the domino effect is the fact that all that is taught to one, will rub off (or contaminate is bad) on all persons around him.

I think that they just teach 2 languages to the first, and one to the second and see if the first will "naturally" teach the other.

ref : Larousse (french) encyclopedia

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-08-16 08:42:03 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

typo above (contaminate IF bad)

In the end, will both speak the 2 languages.....??? Probably....

The original (political) theory was developed by the Americans. A lack of firmness leading a state to communism would (could) cause the same evolution in neighbouring states (a row of dominos falling over due to the unsteadiness of only one....)

Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen
France
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 12
Grading comment
Hello again! First of all, I'd like to give a special thanks to Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen for mentioning the domino theory and its historical origin, as well as the direct relation to the scenario given by my teacher. She explained it like this:
"roughly, the domino effect is the fact that all that is taught to one[in this case, the first child], will rub off (or contaminate if bad) on all persons around him [his younger brother].

I think that they just teach 2 languages to the first, and one to the second and see if the first will "naturally" teach the other.

ref : Larousse (french) encyclopedia

In the end, will both speak the 2 languages.....??? Probably....

The original (political) theory was developed by the Americans. A lack of firmness leading a state to communism would (could) cause the same evolution in neighbouring states (a row of dominos falling over due to the unsteadiness of only one....)

Wonderful!
***********
Thank you Dr. Giuli Kvrivishvili for providing another possibility: Chomsky. Today I presented all these interesting ideas to my teacher, who could not believe all the effort I put to understand his lesson, with all of your kind help of course. The end of the story is, yes, both children learned the two languages. A classic example of domino effect! Thank you all!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AhmedAMS
12 days
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Chomsky domino effect


Explanation:
is obviously what your teacher should have called it; the "real" domino effect is, to me, the original, as defined by various contributors above, concerning a series of "dominos".

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Note added at 3 hrs 28 mins (2003-08-16 10:32:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Accordingly, I am withdrawing my earlier (possibly rather less than charitable) comments on your teacher.

David Moore
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 860

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  DGK T-I: I like the joke:-)It would be a good idea to invent a phrase for what Chomski calls"the real domino effect"(what the asker's teacher is referring to,see my answer)to distinguish it from the'normal'domino effect,and I like the one David has invented
20 mins

agree  Ali Beikian
2 hrs
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1 day11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
below


Explanation:
If that`s all the teacher had to say, then I wonder whether there is such thing as a domino-effect here. And in general, life is a large domino-effect. That`s why most countries (if not all of them) have culture and traditions. This pattern also happens in the family. In any case, from the above info of Wilton, there is nothing that would explain a domino effect. We can only assume what he/she meant. It is better to ask the teacher personally what he/she meant with that example.

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Note added at 2003-08-17 18:07:12 (GMT)
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Chomsky`s theory is also what Confucius (the founder of confucianism) stated. When the leader is virtuous, then others would follow till the whole state becomes virtuous.

But in any case, the teacher Wilton refers to is very vague about what precisely this domino effect is.

Alwin27
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese, Native in DutchDutch

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  DGK T-I: Asking the teacher is the best idea - As you and Fuad say (being both wise). Very interesting about Confucius.
22 hrs
  -> Yeah, this basic idea of Confucius is very interesting. He envisoned something perfect which he called Principle, and that we all are inevitably moving towards this Principle, the state of perfection.
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +8
Our argument and confusion is all Noam Chomsky's fault :-))


Explanation:
Our argument and confusion is all Noam Chomsky's fault :-))
(Noam Chomsky being a famous and influential, perhaps controversial, linguisticist and thinker and someone that people in the asker's (and the asker's teacher's) discipline often think about quite a lot.


The concept in the question seems as if it is likely to come from what Chomsky calls "the real domino effect" which (he goes out of his way to say himself) is different from the normal use of "domino effect" (cumulative events like domino's balanced on their end in a row, the first one falling over and knocking over the next, and so on down the line).
So your teacher isn't wrong - the concept is just a misnomer to poor innocent translators like us and students like you, who haven't met what nice Mr.Chomsky said. It's not the normal use of 'domino effect' but it makes sense as an allusion to Chomsky.

"The domino theory was a United States political theory advanced by both liberal and conservative Americans during the Cold War. It asserted that if one country were taken over by Communists, neighbouring countries would fall like dominos. "

BUT:
"Some leftist academics, notably Noam Chomsky, believe that the "real domino theory" is that if one country successfully developed itself into a successful socialist state independent of foreign interference, other countries would follow by example. Chomsky called this the "threat of a good example" and believes it is the main reason for American intervention in otherwise insignificant countries such as Cuba, Guatemala, East Timor, and Angola. This view is popular with many socialists who belive the failure of socialism was the result of an elaborate US-led plot to descredit the ideology and destroy or sabotauge it in every country before it ever had a chance to succeed. Many critics dismiss this "domino theory" as an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, that fails to explain the longtime survival of socialist regimes in North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, as well as elected socialist governments in democratic countries like France and Canada"



"Chomsky has repeatedly emphasized his theory that much of the United States' foreign policy is based on the "threat of a good example" (which he says is another name for the domino theory). The "threat of a good example" is that a country could successfully develop independently from United States' influences, thus presenting a model for other countries, including countries in which the United States has strong economic interests. This, Chomsky says, has prompted the United States to repeatedly intervene to quell "socialist" or other "independence" movements in regions of the world where it has no significant economic or safety interests. In one of his most famous works, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Chomsky uses this particular theory as an explantion for the United States' interventions in Guatemala, Laos, Nicaragua, and Grenada."





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Note added at 2 hrs 22 mins (2003-08-16 09:26:28 GMT)
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TYPO: \"like dominos balanced on their end in a row\", all this discussion of apostrophes is getting in to the system.... :-))

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Note added at 2 hrs 26 mins (2003-08-16 09:29:58 GMT)
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To boil it down: Chomsky means \"the threat of a good example\" and that\'s what I think your teacher is talking about - and I can see how Chomski got there, but without knowing I would never have guessed (from the normal meaning of \'domino effect\').

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Note added at 2 hrs 33 mins (2003-08-16 09:37:30 GMT)
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(For the second \"red\" ref. below, put \'Noam Chomsky\' in the search box on the page that appears and on the page you get, search on \'domino\', if you would like to check.)

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Note added at 3 days 8 hrs 32 mins (2003-08-19 15:36:04 GMT) Post-grading
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Now we know what the teacher said when asked about it, I\'d say that \"knock-on effect\" would have been a better expression to use than \"domino effect\" (since the teacher wasn\'t apparently consciously referring to a cascade of causes & effects, but just the two people - and wasn\'t using an allusion to Chomski, which would have been rather suitable.... never mind :-))))
Best wishes to everyone
Giuli


    Reference: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domino_theory
    Reference: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsk
DGK T-I
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:33
PRO pts in pair: 401

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sheila Hardie: great explanation
20 mins
  -> Thanks SJH :-))

agree  David Moore: Brilliant, Giuli: now all we need to do is to distinguish between two identically-named "theories"??
40 mins
  -> Thanks David ~ I like your idea of calling it the Chomski domino effect to distinguish it from what would be the domino effect in any 'normal' situation :-)

agree  Begoña Yañez
4 hrs
  -> Thanks Begoña ~

agree  Rusinterp
12 hrs
  -> Thanks ~

agree  Haydee Puente: Very interesting. Thank you.
16 hrs
  -> Thanks ~

agree  Refugio: Yes, and Chomsky is a great theoretician and champion of bilingual education.
1 day3 hrs
  -> To Fuad:'the attraction of Chomski's"threat of a good example",as a metaphor,is that this name emphasizes the cause not the cascade effect,whereas the name of the domino effect emphasizes it's cascade nature.It would be a rational explaination if there

agree  Alwin27
1 day11 hrs
  -> are no more dominos than the two children,to make a decent cascade.Plain misnaming(or extra dominos we're not told about)also possible,it's true :-))

agree  AhmedAMS: Very interesting
12 days
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