Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4]
Universal Language for the Human Race.
Thread poster: Syeda Tanbira Zaman

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:15
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
One language for all? What a loss. Jun 27, 2010

Have you never been fascinated or attracted by the foreign accent of a singer, an actor - or a lover? Imagine if we all would babble away in the same language. Nothing left to explore and to learn. No, that's way too boring.

 

ISAAC PRADEL LEAL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:15
Member (2011)
French to Spanish
+ ...
PLAIN NONSENSE!! Apr 14, 2012

... No language can exist without a social context... Esperanto failed because you cannot create and impose a language ex-nihilo... not only humans create languages... but we are created too (or at least our particular frame of mind) by the language context of our early childhood... "Universal language" thing sounds more like an approriate talk for a cult than for grown up linguists... Thanks to the pride of the inhabitats of Babel, we all make a living today... They talked a universal language ... See more
... No language can exist without a social context... Esperanto failed because you cannot create and impose a language ex-nihilo... not only humans create languages... but we are created too (or at least our particular frame of mind) by the language context of our early childhood... "Universal language" thing sounds more like an approriate talk for a cult than for grown up linguists... Thanks to the pride of the inhabitats of Babel, we all make a living today... They talked a universal language did they??!Collapse


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
French to English
+ ...
Problems... Apr 14, 2012

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
Like the radicals attaching to the different carbon atoms in an organic compound, every word in this language should have provisions for extension to denote different shades of meaning of the same root word.


Obviously, many languages exhibit such a feature to *some* extent, e.g. via affixes that modify a word in a particular way. But you'll notice that natural languages have generally evolved to use such features fairly sparingly and not always terribly consistently.

If you did try to apply such an approach across the whole language, it's not clear what the global inventory of "shades of meaning" would actually be or if such a thing could even usefully exist.

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
why can't we invent a language understood by both man and machine.


Well, we obviously can do so in a limited way. And for specific tasks where particular machine input is required, we do invent what you might see as highly restricted subsets of languages. But...

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
All languages and the sub languages and dialects of the world have evolved "naturally". But why leave it to nature?


One key reason for leaving it to nature is that natural languages evolve in a way that is bound by how human thinking works with respect to the faculties involved in language. If we invent an artificial language, we might accidentally be doing a worse job than 'nature' because we may inadvertently introduce structures, logic etc that are actually more difficult to acquire naturally.

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
Why should there be two sets of vocabulary, one for the so called 'cultured-elite' and one for the plebeian where some words or phrases are termed as slangs and others not, when "shit" and "excrement" infact means the same thing.


Probably because it turns out that having words of different registers fulfills roles such as marking one's belonging to a particular group, conveying attitude etc. "Shit" and "excrament" actually don't refer to 'the same thing': the way in which these two words are interpreted by the brain are arguably quite different.

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
One may argue that some classical languages follow strict rules and are very "scientific".


In terms of their 'natural' form, there's no basis for such an argument. For example, there's no basis for nonsense claims such as "Latin was a very logical language".

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
Great languages of the world like English and Mandarin are spoken by billions of people. They evolved independently in two corners of the world and are hence poles apart in grammer and lexicon.


This depends on your point of view. All human languages share some very fundamental characteristics. To an alien visiting our planet, all human languages may well appear to them as simply "variants of the same thing".

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
may argue, why the total number of people speaking these language constitute roughly half the population of the universe


N.B. "planet Earth" != "universe"!!! (This is actually not a facetious comment: to what extent features of known natural human language are tied to the specific biology of human beings is a very open question. Would 'language' that evolved in life with different biology to that on earth necessarily share the same features as language evolved in terrestrial biology? Are there constraints on the possible forms of biology-- e.g. perhaps a replicating mechanism close to DNA is necessary or perhaps it can vary considerably-- that fundamentally constrain 'language'?)

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
Why are they so popular?


For sociological and geopolitical reasons and certainly little if anything to do with any linguistic feature of those languages.

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
If we talk of ONE WORLD we must also speak in ONE LANGUAGE, not shoved down through the throat of the people but accepted spontaneously throughout the world for its sheer efficiency.


How many natural languages a 'globalised' world can support is a very open question. However, the fact of the matter is that there has been a general trend towards fewer and fewer languages in any case as, for example, geographical boundaries have become less and less boundaries to social mobility. If your key worry is that there are 'too many languages', this problem may well actually solve itself naturally over time...

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:
It will be difficult at first even to conceive such an idea or to orient our thinking around a language that will be
strictly scientific in structure.


I wonder how you'd even decide on what constituted "strictly scientific" and what didn't.


[Edited at 2012-04-14 15:44 GMT]


 

Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:15
Member (2011)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Exactly! Apr 16, 2012

ISAAC PRADEL LEAL wrote:
Thanks to the pride of the inhabitats of Babel, we all make a living today... They talked a universal language did they??!

I wondered who would be the first to mention the Tower of Babel.
However, if there is to be a universal language, it will be English, which is spoken by ~2 billion people, and thanks to which most of us make our living:)
PS Just noticed that the topic is 8 years old. So much for another endeavour to create an artificial universal language!

[Edited at 2012-04-16 08:16 GMT]


 

Alexander C. Thomson  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Humanity is too varied Dec 10, 2012

Years ago, if I ever thought about the Dutch, I assumed they were rather like the Germans in speech, habit and other matters. At that stage of my thinking, I'd probably have happily gone along with the idea that the Dutch and Germans could once again share a common language as they did a millennium and a half ago.

Then I started learning Dutch and became obsessed with what set it apart from German (which I’d learned previously). Suddenly, a set of concrete, absolute notions formed
... See more
Years ago, if I ever thought about the Dutch, I assumed they were rather like the Germans in speech, habit and other matters. At that stage of my thinking, I'd probably have happily gone along with the idea that the Dutch and Germans could once again share a common language as they did a millennium and a half ago.

Then I started learning Dutch and became obsessed with what set it apart from German (which I’d learned previously). Suddenly, a set of concrete, absolute notions formed in my head that the German Mind and the Dutch Mind were actually poles apart and had developed their divergent idioms to reflect that.

Then I arrived in the Netherlands and started going down to see my fiancée at weekends in Zeeland. I was pretty proud of myself for falteringly mastering Zeêuws and flaunted it at the metropolitan Dutch: look, here are people who are spiritually and culturally and in other ways so different from you that their language is quite distinct and expresses sentiments that haven’t crossed your minds, nor do they have much use for some of the distinctions and nuances you lot make.

Then I spent rather longer down in Zeeland and realised that each island was its own thought-world and that the dialects that had sounded (not just phonologically, but idiomatically) so identical to me as a newcomer were so far apart that they were characteristic of different ways of life, too. (Reading up on their history, in parallel, confirmed this impression.)

I’m now at the stage of considering myself an honorary son of my now wife’s home town and when we’re back visiting there, I chuckle with her at the odd expressions and out-of-place concepts of folk a few miles down the dike in one of the other towns on the same island. I’m starting to pick out family idiolects, too: between my in-laws and other townsfolk, and even between individual branches of the in-laws.

And yet folk with no particular familiarity with the (non-English) Germanic languages are sometimes found blithely assuming that the Dutch, Germans and even Danes and Norwegians are linguistically (and in other ways) pretty similar — a misapprehension typically based on having heard jetsetting representatives of each of those nations speaking a similar kind of (British TV idiom-informed) learner’s English with good fluency in strictly-bound contexts. Such notions of commonality do not survive contact with the subjects’ wonderfully varied home environments, brought out to the full if you hear them speaking their own dialect of Flemish/Dutch/German/Danish/Norwegian on a visit to their folks. And just look at the worlds-apart diversity of scenery in this corner of north-western Europe alone, and ponder what kind of lives their forefathers led in those differing districts, to realise why their spiritual, cultural, historical and all other distinctive human concepts come in many shades.

No, there will be no reversal of the confusion of Babel. Mankind is far too determined by his immediate climatic, terrain, cultural, historical and social circumstances to be able to think in universal idioms worldwide. Montesquieu was an Enlightenment giant and progressive but saw and explained this limitation quite categorically. The artificial languages are wonderful, Esperanto being the finest of them, but there will never be a world people with its heritage encapsulated in a single language whose words are loaded with shared experiences and common frames of reference.

[Edited at 2012-12-10 21:08 GMT]
Collapse


 
Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Universal Language for the Human Race.

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2021 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 270,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2021 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2021 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



ProZ.com Headquarters
235 Harrison Street Mail Drop #22
Syracuse, NY 13202
USA
+1-315-463-7323
ProZ.com Argentina
Calle 14 nro. 622 1/2 entre 44 y 45
La Plata (B1900AND), Buenos Aires
Argentina
+54-221-425-1266
ProZ.com Ukraine
6 Karazina St.
Kharkiv, 61002
Ukraine
+380 57 7281624
Dawn it-tradutturi jikkoordinaw it-traduzzjoni ta’ ProZ.com f’ Maltese

Team Members: Rita Briffa

Jekk jogħġbok innota li s-sit għadu mhux tradott kollu. Il-lokalizzazzjoni tas-sit qed jipproċedi fi stadji, bis-siti l-aktar attivi jiġu tradotti l-ewwel. Jekk tara xi errur fit-traduzzjoni fi kwalunkwe parti tas-sit li diġà ġie lokalizzat, jekk jogħġbok avża lil wieħed mill-koordinaturi tal-lokalizzazzjoni hawn fuq.
For information on how you can help localize the site, please click here.

Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Fittex għal terminu
  • Xogħol
  • Fora
  • Multiple search