Re: Linguist's Of The Apocalypse, unite!

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 19:57:36 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > English is the greatest language the planet has ever seen because it's not
> > efficent! English constantly evolves a such a rapid pace that if you time
> > traveled 100 years from now, you wouldn't understand a word of it and
> > though it is one of the hardest languages to learn, it allows for the most
> > flexibility and creativity. Fuck the rules! I say... Forget Ebonics. :)
> > Hail English!
> (1) The sample set of human languages is so small, and the evaluation
> period so short, that I don't think one can draw any conclusions from
> its present dominance. It just happened to be the language that was
> used my the world's major imperial power, and later by the world's
> leader in technology. To evaluate language as a technology itself, I
> think it makes more sense to look at earlier cultures where it had more
> obvious influence. Chinese comes out the winner there, and for some
> good reasons, especially the writing system. It is far more efficient
> than alphabetic systems: more words per page, fewer penstrokes per word,
> faster to read and comprehend.

WHile Chinese has a higher idea density per page than most others, the
demands on the memory are daunting, and departs from the present trend
away from so much memorization toward developing practiced thinking
skills. Coming from a Chinese background definitely guves one a leg up
on metal fitness due to this, but moving from that background toward a
better creative language allows the mind to really race once freed from
the load.
> (2) Evolution of the language has been rapid, but is clearly slowing.
> Today's students may have difficulty with Shakespeare and downright
> consternation with Chaucer, but in 2030--even 2130--a 1930 recording of
> a Rudee Valee tune will sound as ordinary as it does today. Spelling
> and vocabulary stabilized shortly after the printing press; phonology
> is stabilizing now, after the advent of sound recording, radio, and
> television. Sure, there will always be some growth, but not as rapid.

Oh please Lee, comparing the present comprehensibility of 400-700+ year
old works of literature to a 100 or less year future's possible
comprehension of present literature (though I would hardly call Rudee
Valee literature) is stacking the deck and not a good comparison. Try
instead Thoreau's _Walden_ in an ordinary high school class 50 years
from now (or even try it right now, you will find blank stares of
incomprehension from 99% of them). Bringing up this point proves you

Look at the EC's plans to "normalize" English spelling. Should this
happen, you will find a similar gap as is seen between us and Shakespear
(there were a few spelling reforms in the 1600s- 1700s). Rather you whos
that english is evolving at an accellerated rate. Just look at all the
terms coined in relation to the internet alone. The faster technology
evolves, so will the language used to communicate it.

> (3) The vast, detailed, expressive vocabulary of English is indeed a
> good thing, and works well for expressing fine distinctions that would
> be difficult in other languages (only French and German come close),
> but it also encourages ambiguity: words created or borrowed to express
> some narrow, specific idea are often diluted into more general meanings.
> "Replica", for example, once meant "a reproduction of an artifact by
> the original artisan". Now it swims in the same soup as "copy" and
> "duplicate"--it has even migrated into the territory of "model".
> English has served us adequately, but we can do much better. In
> particular, we can try to fix the well-known identifiable problems
> like sexism, unintentional ambiguity, poor adaptability to new
> concepts, cultural dependencies, and others. Whatever we create
> will no doubt evolve other problems--but we'll never find our way
> out of the maze until we free ourselves from the straitjacket first.

And these sort of "reforms" will further evolve the language. I do think
that the cyber elites that start uploading will evolve english and code
into an ideographic language that will allow for greater efficiency as
people's mental capacities are enhanced by technologies, because we will
have to compete will a Chinese superpower in the 21st century with a
billion people who can already think that way....


Michael Lorrey ------------------------------------------------------------ President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Website: Now Featuring: Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ Transhumanist, Inventor, Webmaster, Ski Guide, Entrepreneur, Artist, Outdoorsman, Libertarian, Arms Exporter-see below. ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}