[ExI] don't bother

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Fri Aug 7 16:54:01 UTC 2020



> On Behalf Of John Clark via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] don't bother


On Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 9:57 AM spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org <mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> > wrote:

> After 30 years of calling my Japanese friends amanojaku, I find out Amanojaku is a demon-like beast in Japanese folklore, who devours a child and dresses up in her skin in order to impersonate the child to fool her grandparents into feeding it. All this time for all those years, my sushi guy was saying “Greetings, horrifying demon.”  Why that sly bastard.  I don’t think I will use the other Japanese terms and phrases he suggested I say to attractive young Japanese-speaking women.

Richard Feynman also tried to learn Japanese and this is what he had to say about it: 

>…"While in Kyoto I tried to learn Japanese with a vengeance. …  I gave up. I decided that wasn't the language for me, and stopped learning Japanese."


 John K Clark


The Japanese (and to some extent the Vietnamese) recognized that the whole notion of using hieroglyphics as a written language was a no-go, so they invented a form of their language which could be transmitted on a standard qwerty keyboard:

Iki minangka conto saka ukara Jepang.


They did it right: they made the spellings strictly phonetic.

The Vietnamese argued there was no possible way to play their language thru a qwerty keyboard any more effectively than one can play rap thru a trombone.  But the tried, kinda:

Đây là một ví dụ về một câu tiếng Nhật.


Several of those Vietnamese characters aren’t available on the standard keyboard as far as I know, yet all the voting literature in this town comes in English, Mandarin and Vietnamese.  Used to have Spanish, but they dropped that.

Clearly Vietnamese on a keyboard is a mess.  The Mandarin and Cantonese didn’t even bother trying.  They just learn English.  Kinda.

Since Japan recognized that they needed to go international with their written language, it seems like they (and other languages) could invent a kind of simplified subset where all those terms for the same thing are collapsed down to one word and forget the social subtleties, don’t expect the round-eyes to master all that cultural stuff (don’t worry, we won’t.)

Even English can be greatly simplified (once we get over the whole Newspeak implications (Orwell’s Newspeak concept really shoulda been introduced in a different book with a happy outcome (the concept, minus the political angle, is one of his great ideas))) and freely recognized as a specialized subset of language.

Example, our verb “to be.”  We can express past, present and future tense with it, plurality and so forth, but that gives us 8 forms: be, being, been, am, is, are, was, were, and I mighta missed a couple, but what if… we could just accept that we sound a little like a teenage basketball star and use be for all of it?

The goal: create a simplified Newspeak-ish vocabulary which has a simplified and formalized grammar, strictly phonetic spelling, unambiguously and rigorously defined terms, even if we need to accept clumsy and possibly harsh-sounding translations.

Then we get other languages to meet in the middle and see what happens.

I would be reluctant to even try to work with Japanese, having grown distrustful of everything my sushi chef taught me.  I would be introduced to my neighbor’s granddaughter, try to say hello, young lady, and have it come out: Greetings, promiscuous wench.  

I must admit the Google translate feature does a hell of a good job.

There is a point to all this, a culture thing, to follow.



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