[ExI] Linguistic shifts

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Dec 21 19:14:21 UTC 2010

... On Behalf Of Damien Broderick
Subject: Re: [ExI] Linguistic shifts

On 12/21/2010 10:49 AM, spike wrote:

>> So we start by eliminating figures of
>> speech specific to our own cultures, and migrate towards words that 
>> have more universal and very specific meanings.

>...Esperanto hasn't exactly taken over the world...

Ja, and it shouldn't.  The point is not to invest one's own limited biodisk
memorizing a new language, but rather to modify one's own speech in one's
own language (keeping the charming accents such as Australian).  The goal is
to use a kind of a subset of our own language where each word and usage is
more perfectly machine-translatable.

Many of us have flown on airlines where we have the option of listening to
the cockpit radio chatter.  That is an example of a language that is based
on English but is actually a subset: the vocabulary is very specific.  

A good example is seen in an airline crash in NJ a few years ago, where the
flight engineer made a mistake in the fuel calcs but used language outside
the airliner-tower subset.  As the plane was coming in he knew he was low on
fuel, got on the radio and said "... ah well I think we need priority..."
The tower didn't know what he was talking about.  Had he said "Avianca 052
mayday mayday mayday, fuel critical, request 27 over."  The tower would have
come back and said "Roger Avianca 052 cleared to land 27 over."  Then ATC
would get  everyone else the hell outta the way, knowing a really big really
thirsty bird was coming down.  But the English-speaking New York air traffic
controllers could not interpret "I think I need priority to land" and that
aircraft fuel starved and crashed, ending the lives of 73 proles on 19 July

We can derive machine-translatable disambiguated subsets of our own
languages, completely based on our own languages.

>...You might have noticed that generational and other tribalisms go in
exactly the opposite direction: mutations, ellipses, neologisms, inversions.

Ja!  We could even have street-slang based machine translatable subsets of
language.  Recall Barbara Billingsley translating jive in Airplane:


We need not memorize a new language, but rather derive a subset, like
Winston's comrade tried to do creating Newspeak in Orwell's 1984.

>...And I suspect that as the global landscape becomes ever-more
interconnected and blandized, there will be an increasing pressure to
reclaim or invent linguistic differences... Damien Broderick

"Blandized" seems like an unnecessarily negative term. Currently English is
the official language in many African nations, so the children learn both
English and their indigenous languages.

But ja, we can have it all: geekspeak, street rap, chat room, biz universal,
all condensed into some kind of intelligible machine translatable form, with
the translations understandable by speakers of the various languages and
dialects.  Many of the languages such as teenspeak would have only a few
hundred words, many of which would look like alphabet soup, such as
ROTFLMAO.  But it is the job of the machine to memorize them all, not the
humans.  We compose only the thoughts, then let the machines deal with the
mechanics of transmitting the messages.

I read 1984 in high school (late 70s) and thought the notion of newspeak a
great idea at the time.

I am getting Déjà vu.  Didn't we cover similar ground here a few years ago? 


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