Re: Posthuman Language

From: Phil Osborn (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 21:04:38 MST

David Brin has some interesting things to say about language and it's impact on thought capabilities in his 2nd "Uplift" series of novels. Seems that historically human languages have tended to lose error checking systems such as gender as they matured or modernized.

The various "Galactic" languages that had evolved over billions of years among thousands of alien species in his novels were designed to absolutely preclude ambiguity. This also had the effect of stifling creativity, giving "wolfling" humans an edge, in spite of their awesome technical ignorance.

This again, in my mind, links back to Jaynes (Bicameral Mind...) and his hypothesis that consciousness itself was created by the process of metaphorization. A loosely structured language might be better suited for this, sort of analogous to the difference between C++ and BASIC, overloading operators and object extensions versus unmodifiable lists of command words.

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