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From:    Philippe Caquant <[log in to unmask]>
> And not only the language, but usually the flag, the
> currency, the political system, the beer brands and
> much more.

The phenomenon you refer to is a very European one.  For the
vast majority of the people of the world, especially those in
postcolonial situations, borders are historically meaningless.

(This is even the case within countries.  In the US, the original
states were real communities, and had strong senses of identity.
Western states were in most cases demarcated not by historically
salient cultural barriers, but by lines on a map.  So, there are
really big differences within some states, such as Missouri, where
the southern part of the state was settled by a completely different
set of people and economic system than the northern part.  In that
case, this is one reason why Missouri is such a swing state when
it comes to federal elections.)

 =========================================================================
Thomas Wier	       "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637