I just remembered an intuition I had a long time ago over the definition of english competences for the general population of the Netherlands. It was as if it would read: it will be enough for aswering the simple things, like asking/answering for directions or to buy/sell some stuff, but not enough to have a meaningful conversation over the meaning of life. It was a foundation, over which everyone could add (or not) what extras they deemed where needed.
There is nothing wrong with the approach, a pragmatic one. At the time, I was kind of taken over by the simplicity of the idea, that I saw as having far reaching consequences. And, of course, I met people there that could discuss the “meaning of life” in english without any problems.
What this has to do with anything is another matter. In some way, we are learning the network language on our own. No formal “foundation education” is available for that. In fact, teachers and students (and parents and children) are somehow at the same level, feeling the same problems. We learn with each other, with a twist: sometimes, the “other” is someone we never saw face to face.
But, one can say, we do that with books too. There is great probability that we never saw the author face to face. And we (kind of) dialog with him/her and learn. Just we do it inside our heads. As the book is a physical object without battery and antena, we don’t expect it to answer us.
Online, things are different. We can “dialog” with the texts we read because it is easy to find someone around with the time and disposition to discuss it; sometimes, even the author may be around. But, and this is an important but, probably we do it not in real time. It is normal to have mediated discussions through e-mail, a blog, a Facebook page, even some hiccup like one through Twitter. There is the simile of an answer. And our brain is quite apt to play with us, making it seem like a simile of a dialog, “erasing” the pauses between the exchanges. Just, there is no one there, really. We are alone, but we do not always notice it.