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A Universal Language...
Think about this: your first language, just like religion — you were born into it. As a child, you never got to choose them and things may or may not change until later in life (1).
I have always speculated that babies in so many countries say “ma” because they are either hungry or want to be held or want some attention. If this is true, then generations after generations, mothers have totally made the mistake of assuming that their babies are talking about them.
Unlike computer languages, I don't think we/countries have ever actually sat down together to invent a universal language that's easy to learn, easy to understand and (almost) error-free. We are definitely not quite there yet to take on this challenge. But what if some day, like Sebastian Seung predicts(2), that we will have the brain/every neuron/every synapse mapped and we use that data to understand how languages work in our brain; especially in babies. We can then construct sounds/vocabulary that make sense scientifically and build an efficient language for the whole planet to communicate with.
So for now it is important that we keep as many languages alive as we can so that once we have the science to do so, we can study and understand them even further in relationship to the brain.
I hope in the years to come (as a transitional state) our kids will get more exposure to different languages. English will most likely be their main language, but maybe their math class could be taught in Mandarin, science class in Portuguese, history class in German, etc, you get the idea...
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1) This is strictly from a Western point of view (mostly for North Americans who only know English), obviously does not apply to kids in places like Singapore who have to learn 4 languages.
2) “Some day, a fleet of microscopes will capture every neuron and every synapse in a vast database of images... because finding an entire human connectome is one of the greatest technological challenges of all time.” — Sebastian Seung