Design a new language?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by livingin360, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    I almost feel alone in my opinion but does anyone think that the worlds languages are a little outdated and dumbed down? I think it would be a intelligent thing to design a complex and efficient language from the ground up. Can anyone expand on this topic or give their personal opinions on the subject?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    why do you suppose you are alone in this opinion?
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    Because anyone I ever brought it up to gave me that head turned sideways confused expression. I just don't think its a common opinion its not necessarily that I'm alone in the opinion it just makes me feel alone. God I love it when people paraphrase.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,015
    English has many degrees of synonyms that allow for a wide range of expression, but if you want a standardized language I can give you 'e' (he or she), 'erm' (his or her), 'em' (him or her, singular of 'them') or even 'eir' (being the the new singular of 'their'), and 'yous' for the plural of 'you' (which would now be only singular).

    Of course, we could also standardize existing English, and, of course, even extend it, as in its lack of gender neutral pronouns. Good to start with the basic words.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  8. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    Well your not alone, I also feel that a well constructed second language would be a very good thing for the world. Please visit the link below:

    Note - I can't post a live link till I have 20 post.

    Constructed language
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This article is about the creation of planned or artificial languages.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructed_language
     
  9. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,510
    How do you mean "outdated" and "dumbed down"?

    What are the requirements of an "efficient language"?

    Athelwulf hasn't posted for a while but this would have been right up his street. Essentially you're talking about a conlang, of which I think Lojban would go some way toward your premise/ vision.
     
  10. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    Wow cool link thanks Killjoy I'll give it a read.


    Well its not really outdated and it is at the same time. For example English during the Shakespearean period seems to be much more complex and engaging. While English now seems to be evolving into a stupid cultural language with new words such as "Swagger" taking off like a virus.

    Well I'm in no position to say because I don't have a degree in linguistics but something that can be quickly spoken and provide a better abstractual representation of reality.

    Thanks for the links

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Ill have to look into all of that thoroughly.
     
  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,510
    Um,
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=swagger
    Does that count as a fail?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    You couldn't have done that better if you'd tried.
     
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Perhaps you should get one such degree then, or two, and one in philosophy, for good measure.

    Then you will learn that there is more to a good use of language than merely the words and structures that are used in a particular popular discourse.
     
  13. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    lol it kind of counts as one but the slang for the word means something different than what the word originally meant. I'm starting to like this word. I need to get some mad swagger going.. you feel me?
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Every language is about one generation out of date. It's unavoidable. A communication tool can't change quickly or the majority of its speakers won't understand it. You can't just publish a list of changes in vocabulary, phonetics, grammar and syntax in the newspaper every week and expect people to learn them, understand them, remember them, accept them! and start using them correctly. Languages change by unconscious consensus. Attempts to "make them better" by fiat don't work. Only in authority-submissive cultures like early 20th-century Germany will people timidly accept "official" guidance on the evolution of their language. This is why German has such fabulous jingoistic words as Fernsee and Fahrrad, when most other Europeans can understand each other across national boundaries using international standard words like "television" and "bicycle."

    As for "dumbed down," we older people tend to only notice the "nice things" from our language that the young whippersnappers have discarded, and to rail about how the world is going to hell. We don't accept the fact that those nice things have lost their usefulness and only serve to impede communication. "Yo" is much more efficient and egalitarian than "How do you do, ma'am?"

    And we don't even notice new features that make the language more adaptable to a rapidly changing civilization. The formation of words from acronyms and less formal abbreviations is a powerful engine for the creation of new words. Radar, laser, modem, PC (both the noun and the unrelated adjective)--what sorts of cumbersome compound-words would people have struggled with for these concepts in the 19th century?

    And then there's the totally new grammatical principle that seems to have arisen, or at least become commonplace, in my lifetime: the noun-adjective compound. Fuel-efficient, labor-intensive, user-friendly, carbon-neutral, how many syllables would our ancestors have needed to express these concepts?

    A brand-new constructed language would have all of these same problems within a generation or two.

    There's no way to predict the communication needs of future generations, so the task of developing a language that will be perfect for them is daunting.
    Complexity and efficiency work against each other. Languages always shed some of the complexities of their past in order to provide efficiency to current speakers. The grammar of "Old English" (the name Anglo-Saxon is now preferred) was just as complicated as modern German. Nouns declined for gender and case, verbs conjugated for person, number and tense. This was all simplified under the superstrate of Norman French, so today we only have a few vestiges of the old paradigms: gender and case in pronouns only, nouns have only singular and plural, verbs have only four or five inflected forms.

    If you're looking for an efficient language, look no farther than Chinese. A relatively stable civilization over four millennia has allowed the people to create a masterpiece of communication power--and they did this by shedding complexity. It has no inflections whatsoever: if it's important to make it clear that an action takes place in the future or in the past you just say "tomorrow" or "in the past"; if it's important to make it clear that you're talking about exactly one dog eating more than one fish you just say "one dog" or "many fish"; if it's important to make it clear that you're only talking about male cattle or female teachers you just say "male cattle" or "female teacher." It also has a streamlined grammar: only nouns and verbs and a couple of particles used to parse the sentence; no articles or prepositions, which are infuriatingly vague in their expression of meaning and often become merely noise words.

    As a result a Chinese sentence has fewer syllables than even English or French, the most compact Indo-European languages. Now that is efficiency. As a result the language can be spoken more slowly, which is a requirement in a country with a vast number of dialects, some of whose people only speak Mandarin as a second language. (Cantonese, Shanghai, Fujian, etc., are distinct, mutually incomprehensible languages, not dialects.)

    Because of all this Chinese has no trouble adapting to new ideas. It almost never borrows foreign words, which is handy since the phonetics make that nearly impossible anyway.
    I learned Esperanto more than fifty years ago, which was created to address precisely the issues you raise. In addition to another one you didn't mention: it's very easy to learn. Although it has a maddeningly old-fashioned grammar (two cases for nouns, adjectives have to agree with nouns in case and number, verbs have a bewildering paradigm of inflections, nouns are considered masculine unless you add a feminine suffix, etc.), it is still rather efficient and not at all complex compared to Indo-European languages (not when compared to Chinese of course). And we must remember that when Esperanto was created the world was different, at least the European world. There was a strong utopian movement and a sense of internationalism. Millions of people learned the language.

    But hundreds of millions did not. There's simply no way to force people to change their language. Only an authoritarian government like the Soviet Union or the PRC can do that. Ireland, a proud nation that withstood centuries of occupation and cultural marginalization, has been free for several generations, yet look at how few of its citizens have bothered to learn Irish. American Indian languages are dying out after they all learned English, despite immense cultural pressure and scholarly assistance to keep them going.

    So even if you succeed in building your new improved artificial language, you won't be able to get us to adopt it. It's too much work. Besides, our language is a major part of our identity, both personal and cultural. Very few people ever become as facile in a second language as they are in the one they were taught from birth.

    Language shapes our thoughts. Learning a new language provides a new way of thinking, allowing us to reality-test thoughts in one language against the paradigms of the other. Not everyone wants that resource.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Looks like you've started already. There is no such word as "abstractual."

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    But more importantly, why did you think you needed it? What's wrong with "abstract representation of reality"?
     
  15. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,510
    Oh, I didn't realise you were talking in foreign

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    I have never, ever, in my life come across that usage until your post.
    Hence my confusion.
    You Americans talk so strangely...

    As Fraggle will no doubt point out, languages evolve if they remain in use. Which will, of necessity, come to mean that the older you are the more you will find to deplore in younger peoples' usage.
    On the other hand, back when, I was a subscriber to a magazine called Verbatim (note to self: see if it's still being published and get a new subscription. Second note to self: you're logged onto the Internet you prat, it's at your fingertips).
    Start again: I was, once, a subscriber to this magazine which produced learned articles (amateur and professional writers) on Language and linguistics for the layperson since 1974. I recall (can't give the issue numbers since I'm inordinately lazy and >90% 0f my books and magazines are still stacked in the "pantry" and are therefore inaccessible for quick reference) a couple of articles lauding "Buffyspeak" as a worthwhile model of concision and clarity - provided you were au fait with it.

    Exempli gratia, quoting from memory, Oz said something along the lines of "Willow kissage is appealing but..."
    Is that not precise as to meaning (of course the "but" isn't unless you were watching to ascertain the objection*) but "kissage". Excellent IMO.

    * I fail to see how anyone in their right mind could have an objection to Willow kissage, but I'm prepared to accept that there does exist a number of people so devoid of good taste and unappreciative of excellence that they'd find something...
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    You don't read much "high" literature, eh? One hundred years of loneliness is ... one thousand light years away ...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    I am sure your literary educated wife has quite a different opinion on whether modern languages really are outdated or not.


    abstract x factual = abstractual

    He appears to want both an abstract as well as a factual representation of reality. Which, I find, is a rather noble goal.
     
  17. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    Wow thanks Fraggle Rocker I read everything you said and it was really enlightening on the subject. I didn't know that their was a constructed language that millions of people learned. That's pretty amazing. I made up the word based on a thought of representing reality more accurately. To be honest I hate the thought of abstract representations of reality for some reason. But that is how our brain works its inescapable. I see us as actually being reality but our brain abstracts it and tries to reproduce it by producing a representation of it by making vast connections which are similar than the information we observe. I'm rambling i should stop. Signal definitely uncovered the hidden meaning of the word. I wonder if their is other life in the universe that evolved to connect to the universe to perceive rather than to create a abstraction on it based on sensory input or is that even possible? Sorry i been reading David Bohm lately and he twisted my mind with his ramblings on the philosophy of the mind.

    lol i was mimicking what some of the people sound like who have dumbed down english. I actually did a poor job they sound much worse. They talk in slang and when you listen to the meaning behind it and their conversations you can feel your IQ drop at incredibly fast rates. I lost you when you started talking about willow kissage would you be able to expand on that and the meaning behind it? I picture a person kissing a willow tree.


    Spot on I'm bewildered on how you came up with that though.
     
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    People who complain about the poverty of modern language, about the inadequacy of language and such tend to have some basic unresolved metaphysical issues.
    I've never met a philosophically savvy person who would complain about language.
     
  19. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,510
    Ah. Okay, we've had a couple of threads on the desirability or otherwise of slang and "in talk". Such speech is usually [i[intended[/i] to incomprehensible to outsiders - i.e. if you're not one of "us" then you won't understand what we're saying, and that's how we want it.
    That's a large consideration when discussing how certain groups talk.

    You've never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer? (TV series).

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Willow was one of the female characters, played by the delectable Alyson Hannigan.
    Or, if you don't want to check out the links then: Willow = incredibly cute redhead.
     
  20. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    Well im not really philosophically savvy could you go over this a little more though and your opinion? I would kind of like a head start on solving some of my metaphysical confusions.

    I think i saw some episodes awhile back but i dont remember them. I'm not much of a television watcher. Well these groups are very easy to understand they just have no depth and the words carry little meaning like eg. "dude he was tripping."... Instead of saying he was tripping they could have further analyzed him and figured out was really going on in his mind by body language and what he was saying rather than just saying eg. "He be tripping homie"
     
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Read Irvine Welsh' "Trainspotting", for example.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  22. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    182
    I added it to my cart and read the brief but I'm a little unsure how it will help me.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    I edited my post, after you edited yours.
    The Trainspotting reference is about analysis of drug culture, so you can see a different way of talking about drug culture.

    (And use the public library! It's cheaper.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    )
     

Share This Page