[ExI] Universal languages (was: wta-talk Voting Members ...)

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 00:25:17 UTC 2007

On Friday 28 December 2007, Kevin H wrote:
> Bryan, doesn't your post assume that meanings already exist, that
> they can't be created?  If it does, then I disagree: the creation of

I hope it doesn't (and I can't see how). I agree with your disagreement. 

> new meanings is very much a part of the art of language, and so
> there's little hope for a world language to be able to keep up with
> all the innovations that accrue in every valley, village, and town. 
> This happens often enough *within*languages.  For instance, even ten
> years ago, anyone speaking of blogs would be met with wonder what
> language that word came from.  Another  

Same thing happens with "hard words". 

> example to bring in with the addition of new meanings would be
> something like tangerine-orange, which is not just orange but a
> bright highlighter orange: one would have to have seen such a color
> to know what the word means.
> Yet, I do think it would be great if we could accomplish the spirit
> of your post.  At the same time, I think it's already happening.  As

It most definitely is already happening. But that doesn't mean we can't 
find our own places in the growing context of the world. :)

> the world both communicates, and finds the need to communicate,
> across national and lingual boundaries, I think what must happen is a
> change to language itself.  There will eventually must be, if

Why must their be a change to languages? Naturally, languages change
 over time, but it sounds like you want to have a new language-standard 
published and so on. 

> globalism is to continue at an accelerated pace, a global language
> that I would call the World Core which would represent a common
> subset of all meanings that people across languages [i]must[/i] know
> for various purposes.  Now I think that there will always be a great

As communities grow larger, they tend to shift from "we should try to 
understand and accomodate an increasingly larger section of 
everything/everybody else" to "everybody else should respect our 
monumental size, rawr!" A global business language will only come about 
dynamically, or from grassroot operations, and if something else does 
pop up, you'll get lots of other smaller, competing operations. 
Competition is good! Microsoft bad! (Sorry.)

Though I would like to point out that rumor has it that Microsoft has 
internal competition going on, but it's still under one "flag". 

> deal of meanings that can't be included in World Core, but we can
> hope and facilitate the World Core to grow larger: to decrease
> miscommunication as well as enriching all of us.  We already have a

Miscommunication is otherwise known as an opportunity to learn.

> But to me, I think it would be interesting and useful for there to be
> a dictionary of World Core itself: not itself obsessing on the
> intricacies of any one language, but forming a series of narrow
> bridges and ridiculously-spaced stepstones [i]between[/i] languages,

The computational linguists have been trying for ages. The online 
translators are barely functioning. But perhaps you can recommend some 
other tools to add to the set? And some people are arguing that ai 
would be needed for true language-language translation, but why not 
just have a person (like it is now) to do that? To actually learn a new 

> as international communication will probably always be the World Core
> equivalent of "broken English".  Such a dictionary would probably be
> more like an encyclopedia, as much of it's utility would have to come
> from training readers in not just new words or symbols, but in their
> meanings.  The word for an animal may require a picture and some

You'd end up with another Wikipedia with even less user review/access.

> information on the habits and behaviors of that animal, or even a
> discussion of it's cultural significance in the use of idioms or
> figures of speech in that language.

That does sound interesting, though.

- Bryan
Bryan Bishop

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list