Re: Linguistic Predictions
I'd like to join in, but before I do, I wonder if you would be so gracious as to answer a few questions?
In what way are we "experiencing information overload" today, and how is that different from how we dealt with information overload in the past?
. . . are adapted [by "creative" computer engineers]. There's a "human" factor: Language is creative because of its engineers. History - pick up any English dictionary - is telling. How many speakers know every word in a given English dictionary? In other words, how does "information overload" related to English as a lingua franca? Even computers are facing difficulty with memory challenges and new search engines like Google are adapted to more effective ways of information storage and retrieval.
But hasn't it always? Wasn't, isn't the scientific approach the most efficient means? Academic language takes refuge in nominalization.
I'm still not clear on, 'density and speed not experienced before.' Could you elaborate?
Our present languages are not prepared to keep pace with such density and speed not experienced before and I don't know whether our memories and brains can accomodate and cope with these developments.
If not the Standard or a variation thereof, what language do 'new speakers of English' speak, and what would be the linguistic - or political - purpose in speaking, say, a form of Chinese-English that non-Chinese don't speak and can't understand?
First, dominance of English to the "disadvantage" of other languages and cultures.
How does English become dominant? Would speakers stop speaking their L1, and if so, why?
Second, loss of linguistic identity.
True. Language is culture. But it's going to take more than 20 or so years, not to mention more than a language to "rip this gun outa my cold dead hands" - to borrow a phrase - and that goes for every culture; e.g., Quebec. Haven't you missed the human equation here? Language may be culture; i.e., We are Our Language, a First Nation's saying, but did they lose their identity once their language was moribund, or did they create a new identity, one that housed both the old and the new? And isn't that design similar to what English has evolved from? English is not a "pure" language. It's a linguistic soup, made from these languages, those language, and more languages over here and there. English accommodates . . . or maybe it's its engineers? What about the "human" factor?
Third, English will change in its new role to accomodate other cultures and languages.
What would the syntax look like, and would speakers be able to understand each other? I gather at that stage that English wouldn't be a lingua franca anymore, right? It would be many new dialects or sorts.
See, this is what I don't seem to grasp. If English changes to accommodate other languages, then how will its speakers communicate with each other? Say, English is adapted to Chinese, wouldn't we have to know Chinese, too? Moreover, how would the grammar work? The two languages are very different.
. . . we will save a lot of time and energy spent on translations and removing communications barriers
How is that different from what we do today?
You and me can communicate freely and quickly through the medium of a global English. We have already reached the age of more direct and instant contact, communication and travelling.
Could you give an example; Why would L2 speakers give up their L1?
It's a fact that a Global English is already underway to overrun many a language.
Misunderstandings are, for the most part, a matter of perspective. Being open-minded has a great deal to do with having experienced a situation from someone else's perspective. The medium is the message, right? Paintings, poetry, music, and languages differ because there are various ways of expressing how we perceive the word around us. Why give up creativity? What's "human" about digitized paintings, poetry, music, and language?
In addition, natural languages leave room for ambiguity
which still might be very useful . . . but can be a source of misunderstanding.
Re: Linguistic Predictions
I will try to be as gracious as you asked and answer at least some of your questions:
1. Information density and overload nowadays is increasing at an amzaing if not scaring pace and volume which cannot be compared with the past. Since the emergence of IT networks worldwide there is more contact, sharing of ideas, pooling resources, and working together online. Boundaries don't play any role any more thanks to an international communication tool called English. As a result more knowledge is being generated in a relatively short period of time unprecedented in human history.
2, Information density needs something beyond English in order to communicate fast and densly. Such a tool might emerge because the increase of information volume will necessitate such a tool or create such a need. How can a natural languge cope with information growth say in a hundred years? How can we store and retrieve information? what about human memory? Perhaps the answer lies in simplification and abbreviation like SMS texting. There are certain nouns in English of Romance origin which are simply too long. But how will human brain and memory cope with such heavy bombardment of information? One day Academic papers need a more effective way of communication than nominalizing in English.
Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 03-Sep-2005 at 20:45.
Re: Linguistic Predictions
Could you offer a few examples? As is, it's still rather vague.
1. Information density and overload nowadays is increasing at an amzaing if not scaring pace and volume which cannot be compared with the past.
I don't feel very informed. The reason I'm asking these questions is, I'd like to know what I'm reading so that I am able to form an opinion that will contribute to this topic in a meaningful way.
Could you define 'boundaries'?
Boundaries don't play any role any more thanks to an international communication tool called English.
For example, . . .
As a result more knowledge is being generated in a relatively short period of time . . . .
I don't understand the sentence. How does information density communicate fast and densly? Please elaborate.
Information density needs something beyond English in order to communicate fast and densly.
But why human language, specifically English? Why not computer language?
Such a tool might emerge because the increase of information volume will necessitate such a tool or create such a need.
That part doesn't clearly connect for me. Human languages have coped so far, no matter how exponential their growth, so why would that change? The beauty of human languages, if not all Languages, is they are efficient, relatively speaking.
How can a natural languge cope with information growth say in a hundred years? How can we store and retrieve information? what about human memory?
Human languages have their own form of SMS texting; e.g., forms of telegraphic speech.
Perhaps the answer lies in simplification and abbreviation like SMS texting.
Ah, yes, but have you considered that a spoken sentence is one long utterance?
There are certain nouns in English of Romance origin which are simply too long.
The same way, I suppose, as we have in the past.
But how will human brain and memory cope with such heavy bombardment of information?
One day Academic papers need a more effective way of communication than nominalizing in English.
An excellent topic, Jamshid. I look forward to your reply.
Re: Linguistic Predictions
I am glad you are interested. As I already mentioned these are only predictions on my part I made due to a variety of changes and developments in the last 20 years or so. Perhaps the most threatening force is growth. This word might sound positive but is in fact behind a lot of evil. Just imagine everything is growing, Earth population, economy (which means more consumption and more pollution and more...). Human knowledge has grown exponentially. In order to cope with this growth we need resources. For example we need food for the growing population, but producing and consuming food means in turn more pollution, more damage....
As far as human knowledge is concerned we also need resources to store and retrieve information. There are big advances in science and technology and our knowledge is growing on a daily basis. Just take the number of books, websites published everyday in comparison what was some years ago.
The computer networks worlwide, the phone, TV (satellite), internet (email and the web), modern airlines have made it possible to contact each other just in-time, interact with each other, discuss issues online, share work, brainstorm ideas, pool our resources and so on much faster and more productively. There are practically no boundaries. All sciences are linked and have become inter-disciplinary. In Europ the EU and the single currency have also removed borders. Thus growth or density of information necessitates a tool to communicate and interact faster. Human language might not be capable of keeping pace with this growth. Academic language uses more nouns than verbs (nominalization) beacuse you can pack more information into nouns than verbs and you can do a lot of other things on nouns. You can count them, modify them.... Verbs in comparison are verbal or verbose (meaning: more talk, less matter). They i.e. verbs are more subjective, dynamic (no wonder the majority of verbs are dynamic and not stative), show change of time and mood which you don't have in nouns. Nouns are static, neutral to change and emotions and more objective. So we need something beyond English either as an adapted natural language or an artificial functioning next to our natural one. It can be any tool.
However, I know and agree with you, human language is beautiful, encodes more than linguistic information, allows room for ambiguity. There are a lot of implications and layers in human language next to the basic linguistic layer. It is analogue, has no boundaries and is far much superior to mathematical or digital languages (if you are interested you might also go to www.onestopenglish.com forum and read some of my contributions.
Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 04-Sep-2005 at 17:33.
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