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A World Language

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Jeremiah Dyke Posted: Fri, Mar 19 2010 2:13 PM

Two questions,

Given that the barriers of translation are decreasing with the vast forms of software and communication, do you see a universial languae (aside from math) being eventuall formed? Is this just a process of globalization?

Finally, do you forsee a world language forming in a free society or do you think concentration on local events will keep customs unchanged?

Read until you have something to write...Write until you have nothing to write...when you have nothing to write, read...read until you have something to write...Jeremiah 

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 2:25 PM

Jeremiah Dyke:

Two questions,

Given that the barriers of translation are decreasing with the vast forms of software and communication, do you see a universial languae (aside from math) being eventuall formed? Is this just a process of globalization?

Finally, do you forsee a world language forming in a free society or do you think concentration on local events will keep customs unchanged?

I typed up and recently submitted a response (which was after you made this thread) in an other thread. It addresses your questions:

I. Ryan:

Hans Hoppe explained, at a point in his series of lectures, that Latin, as the international language, was killed off by nationalism. Because it was not associated to a nation, in the age of the long reach of nation-states, those that were so superceded it. He also explained that, like Latin, gold, as the international money, was also killed off by nationalism. (Both Latin, as the international language, and gold, as the international money, began to wane around the same time, the time when nationalism and compulsory democracy began to "triumph".)

Languages, like monies, are mediums of exchange. Monies are mediums of exchange of goods and languages are mediums of exchange of ideas, concepts, or whatever. So to decrease the costs of transactions, to avoid "translating" between monies and between languages, which takes time away from other things, it makes sense to use whatever money and whatever language that is the most popular. So with that, both monies and languages are bound to tend to integrate and to centralize.

So I predict that, in a free world, because languages so quickly spring to life and develop, "local" languages will always exist. But because no nation-states would exist to associate themselves with a particular language and take steps to identify itself with that language, international languages will develop and be very important. I see no reason why, in a free world, every person in the developed world would not speak a single language or at most one of two, just like how we see no reason why, in a free world, every person in the developed world would not use the same money, historically, gold, or at most one of two, historically, either gold or silver.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Solarist replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 2:40 PM

so which language is gold and which is silver?

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 3:04 PM

Solarist:

so which language is gold and which is silver?

No idea. They probably do not exist right now. In fact, they might each be artificial languages that have not yet been constructed.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Angurse replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 3:07 PM

Solarist:

so which language is gold and which is silver?

French and French.

"I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality."
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Solredime replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 3:41 PM

Angurse:

Solarist:

so which language is gold and which is silver?

French and French.

Although it's a beautiful language for music and poetry, the grammar is too complicated, and unnecessarily so. So I don't think it's going to happen.

Personally, I would be interested in the mixture they had in Firefly, where the spoken language was English (and a little Chinese), but they used Chinese characters for writing. Not sure if it's possible, but given that Chinese characters only carry meaning, not pronunciation, then it could work.

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Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 3:56 PM

I could possibly see a new language naturally emerging sort of like what Fred Furash has suggested, but I would highly doubt an artificial language could take much root.

 

More and more people from different languages doing business together and learning parts of each others language, and no national borders, would seem like a recipe for a dominant language eventually taking over to me.

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Giant_Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:14 PM

Jeremiah Dyke:

Two questions,

Given that the barriers of translation are decreasing with the vast forms of software and communication, do you see a universial languae (aside from math) being eventuall formed? Is this just a process of globalization?

Given that the barriers pf communication are breaking down(and all else being equal), I see both happening. I see a few dominant languages and people will come to learn them. A universal language could be formed, but that would be as a result of forced globalization and egalitarianism.

Finally, do you forsee a world language forming in a free society or do you think concentration on local events will keep customs unchanged?

I think society will continue to change. As the distant (hoepfully not-so-distant) future comes and people have less and less respect and reliance on the state, society will be able to better express itself and members will be freer to act in their own perceived interests. Today, discrimination is a huge deal. Not liking people who use other languages and have different customs must be accepted, or you face the fury of the state. With less state, there will be less emphasis on egalitarianism. People will become more diverse. There will be more discrimination and it won't be as big a deal as today. I think the terms "diversity" and "equality" used today by the state and the "left-wing liberals" are terribly abused. The state want uniformity, to have a "one size fits all" method so that they can control us and get from us as much as they can. It's their job. Diversity means inequality, and diversity allows for the division of labor that allows us to live better lives materially(and possibly psychologically/spiritually). It also means deviating from the norm. And this would be more possible in a freer society.

Some people think that one dominant language is an inevitability, but I don't think so. It's the same line of thought that says "in 500 years everyone will be of equally mixed racial makeup". There will always be change, expression of differences, and diversity. I think we should embrace that and make the best use of it.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:16 PM

Joe:

I could possibly see a new language naturally emerging sort of like what Fred Furash has suggested

What did he suggest?

Joe:

but I would highly doubt an artificial language could take much root.

Why?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:18 PM

Giant_Joe:

I think society will continue to change. As the distant (hoepfully not-so-distant) future comes and people have less and less respect and reliance on the state, society will be able to better express itself and members will be freer to act in their own perceived interests. Today, discrimination is a huge deal. Not liking people who use other languages and have different customs must be accepted, or you face the fury of the state. With less state, there will be less emphasis on egalitarianism. People will become more diverse. There will be more discrimination and it won't be as big a deal as today. I think the terms "diversity" and "equality" used today by the state and the "left-wing liberals" are terribly abused. The state want uniformity, to have a "one size fits all" method so that they can control us and get from us as much as they can. It's their job. Diversity means inequality, and diversity allows for the division of labor that allows us to live better lives materially(and possibly psychologically/spiritually). It also means deviating from the norm. And this would be more possible in a freer society.

Some people think that one dominant language is an inevitability, but I don't think so. It's the same line of thought that says "in 500 years everyone will be of equally mixed racial makeup". There will always be change, expression of differences, and diversity. I think we should embrace that and make the best use of it.

Do you hold the same opinion about money? How do you explain the dominance of gold as the global money in the past?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Giant_Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:21 PM

I. Ryan:

Do you hold the same opinion about money? How do you explain the dominance of gold as the global money in the past?

Nah. Money and language are different things.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:23 PM

Giant_Joe:

Nah. Money and language are different things.

Did you not read my first post in this thread?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Azure replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:27 PM

Joe:

I could possibly see a new language naturally emerging sort of like what Fred Furash has suggested, but I would highly doubt an artificial language could take much root.

I agree. "Designed" languages tend to reflect more the preferences of the creator than the preferences of the people to use it. There are simply too many variables that are completely up to individual taste: Should its grammatical structure be synthetic or analytic? The phonology simple or complex? Should its case system be Nominative-Accusative or Ergative-Absolutive, if it even has cases at all?

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:30 PM

Azure:

I agree. "Designed" languages tend to reflect more the preferences of the creator than the preferences of the people to use it. There are simply too many variables that are completely up to individual taste: Should its grammatical structure be synthetic or analytic? The phonology simple or complex? Should its case system be Nominative-Accusative or Ergative-Absolutive, if it even has cases at all?

Yeah, and how is that different than any other creation? Your post sounds like a revolt against capitalism.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:32 PM

I think it was more against central planning

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Giant_Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:34 PM

I. Ryan:

Giant_Joe:

Nah. Money and language are different things.

Did you not read my first post in this thread?

Yup. Languages are intangible and can split. Hence different dialects and languages that sound similar, but are different. Languages tend to fork out, while barter tends to turn to gold. Language1 can fork into language2 and language3, but gold doesn't turn into gold1 and gold2 when it's split in half and goes with different societies. A common language is a good way to communicate, but that doesn't call for the elimination of other languages. Different cultures, different languages.

Languages can also "die". Doesn't seem like gold can "die". For a long time, I can see divisions between people called "tribes" or "nations" or "cultures" or w/e, and this will keep people divided and different, and will lead them to have their own languages/variations of languages. Until all cultures are one, we'll have multiple languages.

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:34 PM

Jeremiah Dyke:
Finally, do you forsee a world language forming in a free society or do you think concentration on local events will keep customs unchanged?

I basically agree with I. Ryan* that we'll see a lot of both diversification and amalgamation. As a professional translator, I know the economic costs of mutual non-communication are very high - it's what puts food on my table. And it's pretty obvious from the way that so many people are and have long been learning English because of the economic opportunities it presents, and these are only growing.

I say, "follow the money with a generation's time lag," which means to me English (because of the lag) and Chinese (not German, because I think - could be wrong! - most Germans speak English). Japan may be a special case. Most Japanese will probably never learn English or Chinese as long as Japan stays economically strong, but for people from poorer countries I'd imagine there are a lot more benefits to learning English, especially now with the very real possibility of telecommuting via the Internet (even I'm doing it because my office is in another city, and when I go to the US or wherever I continue to work as usual). Still I suppose a sizable portion, especially of older people, will not learn any foreign language and so there will be a lot of languages sticking around.

*EDIT: I'm not in agreement about the artificial language idea. Language works because it arises out of a spontaneous order. Undesired communication tools are naturally eliminated from language by falling into disuse, and new words are coined and become popular memes as needed. Central planning of language would be pointless, except in cases where language is already somewhat centrally "planned" (not really planned per se) in tight communities that have special needs, such as the LvMI, LessWrong, reddit, etc.

Natural language : :  Artificial language

Common law        : :  State-made law

Free market          : :  Economic intervention

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:42 PM

Joe:

I think it was more against central planning

If you design a language, you only get to decide where it starts, not where it will go. It is not central planning to create a product and then see whether people adopt it and what people do with it.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Bostwick replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:45 PM

Giant_Joe:
As the distant (hoepfully not-so-distant) future comes and people have less and less respect and reliance on the state, society will be able to better express itself and members will be freer to act in their own perceived interests.

You miss the point. The immension diversity of states creates an  immense diversity in language. A decline in the prominence of the state would mean a strengthening of the international community.

Peace

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:47 PM

JonBostwick:
A decline in the prominence of the state would mean a strengthening of the international community.

Good catch. People not being able to easily cross borders probably has a lot to do with it nowadays, now that transportation is much cheaper and more practical.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:48 PM

Giant_Joe:

Yup. Languages are intangible and can split. Hence different dialects and languages that sound similar, but are different. Languages tend to fork out, while barter tends to turn to gold. Language1 can fork into language2 and language3, but gold doesn't turn into gold1 and gold2 when it's split in half and goes with different societies. A common language is a good way to communicate, but that doesn't call for the elimination of other languages. Different cultures, different languages.

Languages can also "die". Doesn't seem like gold can "die". For a long time, I can see divisions between people called "tribes" or "nations" or "cultures" or w/e, and this will keep people divided and different, and will lead them to have their own languages/variations of languages. Until all cultures are one, we'll have multiple languages.

How do you explain the emergence of Latin as the global language in the past? How do you explain that economic integration is tightly correlated with linguistic integration? How do you explain that both gold and Latin rose and fell together? How do you explain that the beginning of the era of super nationalism correlates with the fall of both?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:55 PM

Jeremiah Dyke:

Given that the barriers of translation are decreasing with the vast forms of software and communication, do you see a universial languae (aside from math) being eventuall formed? Is this just a process of globalization?

Like in Code 46?

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:58 PM

AJ:

*EDIT: I'm not in agreement about the artificial language idea. Language works because it arises out of a spontaneous order. Undesired communication tools are naturally eliminated from language by falling into disuse, and new words are coined and become popular memes as needed. Central planning of language would be pointless, except in cases where language is already somewhat centrally "planned" (not really planned per se) in tight communities that have special needs, such as the LvMI, LessWrong, reddit, etc.

Natural language : :  Artificial language

Common law        : :  State-made law

Free market          : :  Economic intervention

After your post, I showed that to design a language is not to centrally plan.

I. Ryan:

If you design a language, you only get to decide where it starts, not where it will go. It is not central planning to create a product and then see whether people adopt it and what people do with it.

What makes this not a spontaneous order?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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DD5 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:15 PM

I. Ryan:

Joe:

I think it was more against central planning

If you design a language, you only get to decide where it starts, not where it will go. It is not central planning to create a product and then see whether people adopt it and what people do with it.

 

Human language is the result of biological evolution and not cultural evolution.   Nobody invented language just like nobody invented human vision or human psychology.  No, nobody is born speaking English or Japanese, but the new born baby is already equipped with innate neural circuitry specifically dedicated for language.  The fact that an infinite number of different dialects/"language" can take form and the newborn baby must acquire the local dialect does not negate the innate theory of language.  Many psycho-linguistics have already shown how all of the "languages" of the world really converge to a finite set of rules that they term "The Universal Grammar".  All the variation of the different "languages" can be reduced to a finite set of binary parameters that may be can theoretically be set differently for each  "language"

 

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Azure replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:26 PM

I. Ryan:

After your post, I showed that to design a language is not to centrally plan.

I. Ryan:

If you design a language, you only get to decide where it starts, not where it will go. It is not central planning to create a product and then see whether people adopt it and what people do with it.

What makes this not a spontaneous order?

That was kindof my point. It is unlikely for an invented language to come under widespread use, as the language will reflect only the creator, not the society that uses it. And if it does, then the process of linguistic evolution will change it over time to match the needs of its users.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:39 PM

DD5:

Human language is the result of biological evolution and not cultural evolution.   Nobody invented language just like nobody invented human vision or human psychology.  No, nobody is born speaking English or Japanese, but the new born baby is already equipped with innate neural circuitry specifically dedicated for language.  The fact that an infinite number of different dialects/"language" can take form and the newborn baby must acquire the local dialect does not negate the innate theory of language.  Many psycho-linguistics have already shown how all of the "languages" of the world really converge to a finite set of rules that they term "The Universal Grammar".  All the variation of the different "languages" can be reduced to a finite set of binary parameters that may be can theoretically be set differently for each  "language"

Why is that relevant? From your reasoning, no one invented mathematics, either. For we were "already equipped with innate neural circuitry" that defines or lets us understand it.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:43 PM

Azure:

That was kindof my point. It is unlikely for an invented language to come under widespread use, as the language will reflect only the creator, not the society that uses it. And if it does, then the process of linguistic evolution will change it over time to match the needs of its users.

This sounds like an other revolt against capitalism. The only way that people would choose it is in the situation that it does reflect the society. How is it a problem that it would "reflect [...] the creator"? Every good in a market "reflects [...] the creator". But the ones that survive the competition prove that they also "reflect [...] the" consumer.

Plus artificial languages are able to incorporate mechanisms that drive their own evolution. For if it includes certain rules of derivation, users are able to use those rules to create words instead of just using words from other languages or something.

(By the way, Esperanto evolved. Yet people still regard it as a constructed language because it retained much of its fundamentals and regularities.)

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Bert replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 6:33 PM

When it comes to language, my interest lies with the Elder Futhark.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Nielsio replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 7:35 PM

-----

Singapore Vernacular English, commonly known as Singlish  is an English dialect used in Singapore. It should not be confused with Standard Singapore English. According to the 2000 census, which does not distinguish between Singlish and Standard Singapore English, 71% of Singaporeans are literate in the English language.[2]  Generally speaking, well-educated Singaporeans are able to code-switch between Singlish and Standard Singapore English. Many Singaporeans also do not speak Singlish.

Singlish is commonly regarded with low prestige in Singapore. For this reason, Singlish is not used in formal communication.

The vocabulary of Singlish consists of words originating from English, Malay (mainly Bahasa Melayu rather than Indonesian), Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi and to a lesser extent various other European, Indic and Sinitic languages, while Singlish syntax resembles southern varieties of Chinese. Also, elements of American and Australian slang have come through from imported television series and films. As a spoken language, Singlish is constantly evolving. In the last two decades, an increasing amount of Mandarin words have found their way into Singlish because Mandarin Chinese is taught to most Singaporean Chinese students in school. Japanese words and memes are becoming more common as young Singaporeans become exposed to Japanese culture, particularly through Anime.

The Singaporean government currently discourages the use of Singlish in favour of Standard Singapore English, as it believes in the need for Singaporeans to be able to effectively communicate with the other English users in the world. The government runs the Speak Good English Movement to emphasise the point.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlish

-----

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 8:30 PM

I. Ryan:
How is it a problem that it would "reflect [...] the creator"? Every good in a market "reflects [...] the creator". But the ones that survive the competition prove that they also "reflect [...] the" consumer.

It seems to me that the disagreement (if there really is one) is over what the goods* are. Are the goods whole languages, or are they individual words and expressions?

Individual words and expressions (more generally, memes) are certainly one kind of good. Whole languages are goods as well, albeit very expensive to acquire. Can an artificial language compete with a natural one, perhaps by having a lower acquisition cost (being easier to learn)? Perhaps a modified version of an extant language that is less aesthetically pleasing but, say, more functional, would be sought after. But I don't think one made entirely from scratch would be.

However, I'm going to put on the yellow hat here and try to make a case for artificial language working despite the spontaneous order argument. To do this I am first going to have to make the wild assumption that the "Universal Grammar" is not a discovery about human instinct but rather a logical/practical necessity. To do that, I will presume there really are only a certain limited number of logical/practical ways for a language to structure itself. I will try to defend that by saying permutations of SVO, SOV, etc. are limited, and even if all languages stick to a smaller subset than all the possible permutations, this is still no evidence of a language instinct because the other permutations may be inherently unstable for other logical/practical reasons.

I'll let a Google coder maker part of the case:

"One of the universals in Universal Grammar theory, which both Pinker and Noam Chomsky support, is that if a language has verbs before objects, as English does, then it uses prepositions, while if a language has objects before verbs, as Japanese does, it uses postpositions. Pinker mentions a possible reason this universal holds is so the language can enforce a consistent branching decision, either left-branching or right-branching, so our brains can parse it easily.

"Some grammatical English sentences are impossible for our brains to parse simply because there's too many dangling branches. The first of these examples parses in our brains OK, but the other two simply don't parse:

(The rapidity (that the motion has) is remarkable).
(The rapidity (that the motion (that the wing has) has) is remarkable).
(The rapidity (that the motion (that the wing (that the hummingbird has) has) has) is remarkable)."

Now it seems pretty silly, prima facie, to call Pinker's consistent branching decision an instinct hardwired into us. Rather, it seems a facet of the spontaneous order in light of human limitations: after all, no language would get off the ground unless it had a consistent branching pattern, because cases like the above would soon proliferate. In other words, it would lose out big-time on the free market.

So the Universal Grammar has to do with something hardwired into us (a limitation of our ability to parse), but to call it an instinct is sloppy because it implies too much.

Now that I've cursorily defended this fairly outrageous claim, I will try to make the case for an artificial language: Perhaps once a few critical choices, such as the preposition/postposition choice above, have been made correctly, it really doesn't matter how the rest of the language is structured as long as it's reasonably efficient, logical, and not too ugly. Moreover, any ugly and/or inefficient parts will be able to be (and hence will be) discarded on the "free market" of personal interactions as people habitually use the more efficient or eloquent parts or create new ones.

I'm not really convinced by this, because it still strikes me that, "What would be the point?" I suppose it could be useful given that we live in a Statist world where language and personal movement are fairly controlled, wherein it may be necessary to "fight fire with fire" by artificially modifying language that has already been detrimentally modified somehow by the State. Whether we could find any certain examples of that I don't know. I'd personally rather create telepathy than worry about this, but that's just me...

*Metaphorically speaking

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Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 9:58 PM

Nielsio:

 The government runs the Speak Good English Movement to emphasise the point.[3]

would be interesting to see what the situation would be like without the government.

 

Seems like businesses would want to stick with formal languages, and that these hybrid languages might only live on the fringes where a couple big languages collide and possibly mix in some smaller ones as well.

 

But then, eventually, if generations of kids grow up learning it on the street and if it spreads out from the fringes in both directions it could be a lot simpler for both cultures to just learn and speak the hybrid than to speak each others language to each other and translate or have to learn two whole languages.

 

I think language and culture in general is something that might be too often ignored by libertarian types (maybe I am just not looking in the right places).  It seems important to people, and sometimes it gets used as a way to justify state action, and helps to reinforce nationalism or at least differences between people of different nations.

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DD5 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 10:16 PM

I. Ryan:
Why is that relevant? From your reasoning, no one invented mathematics, either. For we were "already equipped with innate neural circuitry" that defines or lets us understand it.

It is very relevant because any talk of language design is nonsensical. And it is different from mathematics.  

 

Mathematics must be acquired by conscious training and learning.  There are indeed innate cognitive abilities that allow you to learn and understand mathematics but doing even simple mathematical operations such as addition, multiplication, division, etc... must be acquired by learning sequential mechanical steps and procedures that must be practiced.  There is no innate circuitry to do long division or multiplication and certianly not more complex things such as algebra or  solving differential equations.  The process/procedure itself must be learned/memorized and practiced.

Language is different.  The extremely complex operations involved in language - grammar, syntax, vocabulary are already wired.  They are encoded in the genes.  You don't have to consciously  think about the process when encoding and decoding language.   This is why babies learn it naturally from the environment without any special effort or conscious training and learning on their part.  

 

Mathematics was developed over time by humans like all other branches of academics.  Language was not.  There is no such thing as a primitive language or some tribe of clang that do not posses a language that is as sophisticated and complex as any other.  But there are many people who have absolutely no training in mathematics.  

 

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Bostwick replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 10:22 PM

Joe:

would be interesting to see what the situation would be like without the government.

 

Seems like businesses would want to stick with formal languages, and that these hybrid languages might only live on the fringes where a couple big languages collide and possibly mix in some smaller ones as well.

What I see is a voluntary effort to synthesize various languages into a single language.

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Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 10:41 PM

JonBostwick:

Joe:

would be interesting to see what the situation would be like without the government.

 

Seems like businesses would want to stick with formal languages, and that these hybrid languages might only live on the fringes where a couple big languages collide and possibly mix in some smaller ones as well.

What I see is a voluntary effort to synthesize various languages into a single language.

 

I am not sure if I would describe it as an 'effort,'  seems like it just sort of 'happened.'  and like I said its important to keep in mind "Singlish is commonly regarded with low prestige in Singapore. For this reason, Singlish is not used in formal communication."  I would guess this is because it would be difficult to do business in Singlish compared to formal English, unless of course the language spread further.  Seems to me that language especially in the international business community is very much subject to the network effect 

 

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Angurse replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 12:00 AM

Fred Furash:
Personally, I would be interested in the mixture they had in Firefly, where the spoken language was English (and a little Chinese), but they used Chinese characters for writing. Not sure if it's possible, but given that Chinese characters only carry meaning, not pronunciation, then it could work.

The grammar of English is less (unnecessarily) complicated than French? I've yet to meet a native-English speaker who even knows the grammatical rules. And inflammable mean flammable, for gods sake!

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Spideynw replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 1:01 AM

Jeremiah Dyke:
Given that the barriers of translation are decreasing with the vast forms of software and communication, do you see a universial languae (aside from math) being eventuall formed? Is this just a process of globalization?

Yes, I would imagine that eventually everyone on the planet will speak the same language, given the advances in communication technology.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Solredime replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 4:13 AM

Angurse:

Fred Furash:
Personally, I would be interested in the mixture they had in Firefly, where the spoken language was English (and a little Chinese), but they used Chinese characters for writing. Not sure if it's possible, but given that Chinese characters only carry meaning, not pronunciation, then it could work.

The grammar of English is less (unnecessarily) complicated than French? I've yet to meet a native-English speaker who even knows the grammatical rules. And inflammable mean flammable, for gods sake!

My first language was Russian. Living in Belgium, I watched French T.V. since I was about... 5 years old I guess, but went to a British school where I learnt English as the main language, but still had lots of French classes. So I speak as someone who tried to learn both as foreign languages, and English worked out much better. Now of course, there was more pressure to learn English in the first place; but I learned French for about 12 years, and still can't understand the grammar. When it comes to English, although I may not know the names of various grammatical rules, or even know them explicitly, I think I've grasped most of them on an intuitive level.

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I. Ryan replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 6:58 AM

DD5:

It is very relevant because any talk of language design is nonsensical.

Dude, do you not realize that people construct languages that do work? For example, many people speak Esperanto. My idea is not exactly novel or anything.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Angurse replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 4:38 PM

Fred Furash:

My first language was Russian. Living in Belgium, I watched French T.V. since I was about... 5 years old I guess, but went to a British school where I learnt English as the main language, but still had lots of French classes. So I speak as someone who tried to learn both as foreign languages, and English worked out much better. Now of course, there was more pressure to learn English in the first place; but I learned French for about 12 years, and still can't understand the grammar. When it comes to English, although I may not know the names of various grammatical rules, or even know them explicitly, I think I've grasped most of them on an intuitive level.

I don't think there are any grammatical rules for English, just some suggestions that rarely seem to be followed. I learned German and English pretty much simultaneously and I found German to be much easier to pick up.

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I. Ryan replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 6:51 PM

Angurse:

I don't think there are any grammatical rules for English, just some suggestions that rarely seem to be followed. I learned German and English pretty much simultaneously and I found German to be much easier to pick up.

What was your first language?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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