On dying and other languages


#1

I don’t much care about preserving dying languages. Most of them are dying for good reason. But if he could lob a custard pie in the face of political correctness, that’s all good.


Taiwanese comedian Chu Ke-liang dead at age 70, are you a fan?
#2

Is your good reason colonialism?


#3

eh, I think that’s a bit unfair. Languages die because humans die. There is no great advantage to having the next village speaking a language incomprehensible to your village.

I suppose the UK (say) will have lost a bit of itself when the last Welsh speaker dies, but in the grand scheme of things, there are far worse things that can happen to the UK. (cough)teresamay.


#4

How many languages would humans have in your ideal world?


#5

Just Anglo-Saxon


#6

Galactic Basic.


#7

Since we are already veering away from the topic… why not turn the celebration of death of languages into something more upbeat.

https://greatlanguagegame.com/

It’s a game to see how many languages you can recognize in a row.

When I saw Langfocus take the test, I thought it looked easy. I was wrong…


#8

It will take time for me to ace it.


#9

no amount of time will get me to know the difference between Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu…


#10

I got 750 on the second try, but it’s a bit silly to have English count for the same number of points as everything else. Maybe if they made it English with an unusual accent…

In that case, we – :doh:

Let me start again.


In that turn of events – :doh:

Um…


In that instance – :doh:

Zounds…


In that hap, we should ask how many tongues there would there be in Rowland’s best world. For after all, what is a language or an ideal? :idunno:


#11

For those who want Anglo-Saxon dominance, perhaps you should go one step further and go for Anglo-Saxon purism. Just purge influences from Latin, Greek, and Romance languages from your head, and speak Anglish instead.


#12

I was recently imagining an app, something like The Anglo-Saxon Purity Test (I’m too lazy to check for a kosher version of “purity” and not sure about “test”). Input some text and see how pure your English (or rather Anglish) is. If you score under 50% (per hundred), your phone zaps you! :eek: If you fail three times in a row, it explodes! :dizzy_face:

In the pro version, you get a warning first and have a certain amount of time to fix the text by using the suggested translations. But every now and then you get linguistic invasions and have to fight off the foreign words that creep into the suggestions, or else it’s back to zapping and exploding. :smiling_imp:


#13

On the other hand, if you pass some suitable threshold of purity, your phone generates waves of freedom which edify anyone lucky enough to be nearby.


#14

Not getting the point of this. English has always been a mongrel, melting pot kind of language. That’s how we ended up with the largest vocabulary of any language on earth.


#15

Exactly, it’s a mongrel language as you would say, or a hybrid language as Hansioux’s youtube guy would say. That means no single ancient tribe can claim full credit for it.

It’s like surnames: if you share a surname with this or that historical figure, does that mean he/she invented you? Yes, but also no. In fact, mostly no. He/she should share credit with all your other ancestors (hence expiration of “royal” status after seven generations in the Thai tradition for example), and if the custom had been to use the mother’s surname instead of the father’s at any point along the way, or some other custom had prevailed, or you had been adopted, or whatever, you couldn’t just point to your surname and say hey I’m so-and-so’s descendant, and in fact you would have people pointing to your name and telling you you’re someone else’s descendant.

That a certain part of your ancestry has more influence than all the other parts combined is possible but can’t be taken for granted, as the pie chart demonstrates.

Or to put it another way, at what point do you declare a mongrel a new breed?

Remember, the Angles and Saxons achieved political dominance on part of a dreadful little island and held it for a few centuries in the ultra-dark ages. Then the Normans pulled the same trick but (arguably) held on longer, even to this very day (arguably). Their influence on the laws and customs was not quite as thorough as that of the previous invaders but was not non-existent either (as Jotham would have us believe), and their influence on the language has turned out to be stronger.

Why then do the Anglo-Saxons get so much credit? The name makes the claim easier. If the country were called North Normandy or something similar, and the language Norman – or even British – the legend of the Anglo-Saxon master race would have less surface credibility.

And anyway, Rowland’s theory hinges on America as an Anglo-Saxon nation, because the exceptionalism of the “ancient liberty” of the Anglo-Saxons (i.e. the theory that they “invented freedom”) doesn’t stand up very well to scrutiny, yet being a superpower is supposed to be the true meaning of freedom. (Is that what Jefferson had in mind?)

I believe the America-as-AS-nation theory has enough holes in it already, but feel free to contribute. :slight_smile:


#16

This must be one of the strangest discussions I’ve ever heard involving a dead person. Something’s got to be separated out here come on


#17

Oh, sorry. I didn’t even notice we were in this thread! :oops: I’m sure someone will move these posts… :whistle:


#18

#19

It’s dumb that all humans can’t communicate with one another in a common language anywhere on earth. And don’t get me started on English. What a mess. Some Mao Tse-trump needs to come along and simplify the hell out of it.


#20