The Fellowship

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A Global Language

Humans have always lived apart from each other, so naturally we formed separate and distinct languages. Now, in the age where distance is no longer a concern, I believe that there should be a global language for all humans to enable effective communication with one another. It would exist alongside all current languages and would not force their removal, but simply exist as a common communication device.

  • Mar 4 2012: A universal language will evolve naturally if it serves its users. As the world becomes more accessible - through innovations like the internet - language will evolve to fulfill the needs of communication. The mingling of languages will create something akin to a universal language.
  • Feb 27 2012: Roy I echo your comments. There's a fascinating radiolab podcast about language, and how our ability to think about specific concepts is inextricably intertwined with having the language to do so. I recently looked up a list of twenty words that are unique to their language (should be able to google that relatively easily) and it's fascinating.
    Anywho I think Esperanto should've been a universal sign language, and that we should develop a universal sign language, for a couple of reasons. The most awesome of these reasons is it would be possible to speak and teach your own language whilst simultaneously communicating effectively with someone else who is both speaking/teaching their language (this assuming one can hear/see). In this way, a universal language could deepen our understanding of other languages and modes of thinking through its use. Clearly this would be more rad than Esperanto, which is relatively nonrad. I find Klingon to be kinder to the ears than Esperanto. Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste.
  • Feb 26 2012: Do you mean Esperanto?
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    Feb 25 2012: An effective way to form a global language is to include more than words (such as body language, tone and facial expression).
    We already have a number of near-universal traits already, such as:

    smiling = happy
    Laughing = happy+
    soft tone of voice = non threatening
    crying = sad
    point to object = emphasis on objects value in discussion
    point to location = emphasis on location
    c'mon signing = come with me
    showing both palms = stop

    We have the foundations for basic universal communication right there, we just need to expand on it.
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    Feb 24 2012: you mean like english?
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    Feb 24 2012: Allow me to point out, Mr. Berrier, that humans have not always lived apart from each other.
    QUOTE: "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. . . . And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language;. . . . and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. . . let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad. . . ." (Genesis 11:1-8 KJV).
    The vast number of languages is an effect. The cause is seen in these Bible verses.
    • Feb 26 2012: Eduard,

      While you are right that humans have not always lived apart from each other, your quote is but mere mythology. Our ancestors were African apes at some point. Most probably, the languages spoken by the tribes emigrating out of Africa were too primitive, and thus the different languages developed later were much richer and complicated, with far richer and more interesting evolutionary histories than this Babel myth. So, the "cause" is separation, divergence, invention, reinvention, combination, recombination, and borrowing.
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        Feb 26 2012: The effect, not the cause, is separation, divergence and local language development.
        I cannot agree with your suggestion that truth is determined by which explanation is richer and has a more interesting evolutionary history.
        Not to be pedantic, but the Bible is not mythologic in that it is not of unknown authorship.
        My ancestors were not African apes but were, from the first to the last, of one kind--Homo Sapiens, genetically unique in all of biology.
        A global language has been tried. It failed.
    • Feb 26 2012: I did not say that truth is determined by how interesting and rich the explanation is, That was a statement of fact, that the true explanation is richer, but not a reason why it is true. The natural explanation makes perfect sense and does not require to imagine a being who gets angry at us and makes us speak differently, which is nonsensical and undemonstrable. Divergence, we see it every day, why wouldn't it produce much different languages with time? Do you speak the same English that Shakespeare spoke? Are all romance languages identical to each other? Do the UK citizens speak exactly the same English as Americans? We notice the evolution of our languages within our lifetimes, and have written records showing their much farther evolution at longer timescales. We can trace the migration of our species across continents and times. It just makes sense, while your myth looks exactly like a myth. It is plainly unbelievable that someone would buy into that myth in this time with all the information available for everybody to see and study. Languages continue evolving, just as your (our) ancestors diverged from other apes, and we continue to diverge from our previous generations. If we were to be strictly mathematical, you would have to admit that we are far from genetically unique, since most of our genetic material is identical to that of other apes, such as chimps, gorillas, orang-utans. But we must have something that is unique, otherwise we would be chimps or gorillas, or orang-utans. So what? That's exactly the effect we would expect from divergence.
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        Feb 26 2012: Sorry Gabo, i thought your choice of words was an effort to promote evolution on the grounds of its "richness and interesting evolutionary history." You still think the Bible is myth? You must have your own definition of the word because the Bible is no more of unknown authorship than Darwin or Dawkins. You speak of "most of our genetic material". A single genetic dissimilarity indicates a different species. Even your own theory of evolution does not claim to have evidence of cross-species mutations. Languages evolve, species do not. Chimps, gorillas, orangutans are kinds of apes; blacks, whites, hispanics, orientals are kinds of humans. Never the twain shall meet.
    • Feb 26 2012: Sorry Eduard for the confusion in my choice of words. I was talking about languages, and I was stating what I have learned while studying about them. Which is rich and interesting.

      I don't think that all the books in the Bible have clear authorships. Some have clear attributions (like John, Paul, Luke, and Matthew), so maybe those are their names. Some scholars have estimated about 6 authors for Genesis (I and II) if I remember correctly. Anyway, authorship known or not, does not mean that something is or is not myth. Most books and short writings by Julio Cortazar are stories, sometimes with inspiration in real events, or on human nature, but invented stories, then, on the rare occasion there is an opinion on world affairs, which are no myths. Tolkien, all myths as far as I have read. The Bible, all myths, sometimes with a bit of history inspiring parts, often not very accurate when so, but in the end, mostly myth, whether inspired or situated into some real epoch or not.

      If a single genetic dissimilarity indicated a different species, then you would be of a different species than your own children. We humans are of one species, but you can't put chimps next to gorillas and orang-utans because they are much more genetically similar to us than to gorillas, worse to orang-utans. So, we would have to add chimps to the human kind. Now, gorillas are more similar to us and to chimps than to orang-utans. So, they would have to be added to the human kind too. Then orang-utans get in trouble because they are more similar to us, chimps, and gorillas, than to the next ape in genetic distance (I think macaques). In the end maybe all the great apes would be humans.

      So, by genetic similarities and by your definition of kind when dealing with the other apes, either we are as much apes as the rest, or they are also humans. The "twains" separated a few million years ago.

      Best,
      -G
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        Feb 27 2012: I think I brought a knife to a gunfight. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I know enough to yield to a PhD microbiologist in a debate about microbiology. Thanks for not dismissing me with a gesture, and thanks for the lesson. Mr. Berrier's question gets a "NO" answer from me. One global language failed in the past and, since human nature has not changed, there is no reason to think it would not fail again. That is my answer, which is not the same as your answer. Good wishes.
        • Feb 27 2012: Best wishes to you too Edward.

          My answer to Austin is: the language already exists, it is called Esperanto. No need to reinvent the wheel.