[ExI] it's the yoga! was: RE: The Doomsday Clock

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Feb 12 14:48:23 UTC 2018

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:47 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] it's the yoga! was: RE: The Doomsday Clock

On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 7:23 PM,  <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:
> What happens to old languages when we need all the words and 
> grammatical constructs to describe new technology?  Navajo doesn’t 
> have words for cars, cell phones, computers, all the cryptic 
> technology stuff we have now.  How do these original languages manage?
> Hey that would be a kick: have a couple of code-talkers discussing 
> quantum computing devices in Navajo.

That was, in fact, part of the original code-talkers' trick.  What are the Navajo words for tank, battalion, and sniper?  Even if the Germans had someone who knew Navajo (they didn't), said person would have had to keep up with the new invented words that the code-talkers had distributed among themselves.


Ja, it is an interesting question.  Every language in the world has words for water, food, shit, soil, copulate, all the stuff that every group of humans needed to talk about.  Suddenly we have jillions of new things that didn't exist before and need talking about more than ever.  Consider the modern office.  You don't much need any of the short list of words every language has had since forever, but you need ways to describe new machines and business concepts.  So... there is no reason why every language shouldn't go ahead and adopt the universal term for it, like we do in mathematics (you can talk to any math geek from anywhere, so long as you are discussing some modern math concept and nothing else (and why would you want to talk about anything else if you find a rare and interesting fellow math geek?  (... even if she is hot.)))

I am imagining little Tibetan children who can discuss hard discs and video cards and Mario Carts and high speed RAM and such as that but nothing else.

>... What are the Navajo words for tank...

When my son was five, I realized that WW2 style conflict has never been part of his world.  I showed him a picture of a Sherman tank, just to see if he knew what it was called.  He gazed at the picture, thought for a minute and said "war truck."

>... said person would have had to keep up with the new invented words...

This phenomenon is passively leading to convergence of language, where the stuff we care about is already pretty much converging.  Perhaps then technology is what will lead humanity to a truly universal human language, which is a good thing (...especially if they are hot.)


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