Re: Phonetic alphabet[wasRe: Bill Gates]

Dan Clemmensen (
Mon, 06 Oct 1997 19:55:36 -0400

Kennita Watson wrote:
> Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> >A person whose first language is japanese apparently has a grat deal of
> >difficulty thinking about syllables that do not fit into this scheme.
> >Does this constrain the way the japanese think? If so, how are english
> >speakers constrained? Will we need some other representational method
> >to relieve these constraints?
> English speakers, as sloppy as they often are, are wed to precision.
> To wit:
> Complete sentences in English have a subject, a verb, and (generally)
> a predicate -- implied if not spoken. Perhaps a language in which this
> was not true would be difficult for us (I, strangely enough, can't think
> of one off the top of my head).
> How about a language with no representations of past, present, and future?
> Or a language with no distinction between declarative, interrogative,
> imperative, and subjunctive (or some subset thereof)?
> That said, I think that English speakers are among the least constrained
> on the planet, since we steal words from so many different languages.
> We do, however, seem to have problems with melodic and clicking
> languages.
Good points, I usually just use (or abuse) the language without
thinking about it. However, I was thinking more in terms of
linguistic constraints that map into the way our human brains
are wired. We are now confronting the near-term possibility
of remodelling our brains, via uploading or computer augmentation.
Will we need new linguistic constructs to use the new hardware
effectively? can we get some idea of what we need before the
hardware is available. This is roughly analogous to designing
a new higher-level computer language in conjunction with a
new processor.