World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments Invented to enable international communication, it gained limited popularity although I read now, that there are even kids having it as their mother tongue. Allowing for the fact that many people/nations don't really speak any second language, esperanto may form a solution.
Do you see a prospect for it or do you maybe think that English may become an international lingo?
Would you write your next book in esperanto? -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Interesting. So far English is the language most people want to learn, followed by French.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments Nik wrote: "Would you write your next book in esperanto?" For me, no.

If it were not so wretchedly difficult, I would think Mandarin would be a better second bet, and on ease, Spanish. On the other hand, since I don't know how to sell in either of those languages, let alone edit in them, I shall lazily stick to English.


message 4: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin There are too many languages and dialects around the World already. Inventing an 'international' language was a waste of time and resources in my opinion. Better take the time to learn one of the major existing languages.


message 5: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Language is a living thing. It can not be created or destroyed--it evolves. As we see in Dead Languages, will live on forever in the written form, e.g., Latin. I don't know about languages that have no written form, they just evolve into another form. Esperanto was a created language out of many languages, and I'm not too sure it will survive. English was fortunate, it has a bases of rooting itself as a major language: business. It is a business language, which evolved out of a business need. So, I think English will survive, at least for a while, and/but, will evolve into a universal single language. Sorry, Esperanto.


message 6: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments As GR said, languages are a living thing, and that it sort of my problem with Esperanto, it's not designed to ever be a living language. Esperanto is designed to have no grammatical inconsistences or abnormalities, and it's not meant to have dialects. While this would be great for business, the language is void of a lot of the things that attract people to languages in the first place, and void of what makes languages so fun to work creatively with.

If people want to learn it as a hobby, great! People learn Elvish and Klingon (both of which have dialects and grammatical abnormalities) as a hobby, so why not Esperanto? I mean no disrespect to Esperanto when saying this, but I do think it belongs in the class of hobby-languages.


message 7: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments I never thought about a language having inconsistencies and abnormalities, but you're probably right. Living languages are like people having inequities. I suppose we try to improve ourselves by improving our language. A corruption enters and we try to fix it, which is part of life. A never end cycle of improving. Which I'm beginning to wonder if that's what we're really doing. Our base language (common or gutter language is taking over). But it would be strange if when we're mad and express ourselves with: Feces! Oh, feces!


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments Another reason why English will predominate is science and technology. If a scientist wants his/her work to be read, it has to be written in English. International conferences are in English. The point is, you need a common language, and thanks to American investment in science and technology, by far the largest output is in English, and worthwhile papers in other languages usually get translated into English.


message 9: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I suppose then that we could say that French is the language of romance and arts. I would also say from experience that publishing novels in French results in abysmal sales/downloads. If you want to get lots of readers around the World, publish in English!


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments Daniel J. wrote: "Esperanto is designed to have no grammatical inconsistences or abnormalities, and it's not meant to have dialects. ..."

Moreover, although I don't speak esperanto, but seeing examples of it, it strikes as designed to be fairly easily learnt or even vaguely understood without learning by anyone who knows any Romance/Romanic language....


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments GR wrote: "I never thought about a language having inconsistencies and abnormalities, but you're probably right. Living languages are like people having inequities. ..."

In this respect, I found Hebrew, which was dead for a little less than 2000 years and thus underwent less alterations, as much more structured and having much less abnormalities than English, Russian or German


message 12: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments Ian wrote: "Another reason why English will predominate is science and technology. If a scientist wants his/her work to be read, it has to be written in English. International conferences are in English."

I agree, having an global language is a very useful thing, though it seems like a lot of nations are abandoning their native tongue in favor of English (especially in the developing world). I hate to think that a global lingua franca means the death of a significant number of the world's languages, but this seems likely.

Nik wrote: less abnormalities than English"

I'm not apposed to an English spelling reform. I don't think English spelling is as crazy as people say, but I do think the language could benefit from an update. German went through a spelling reform in the 1980s(?), and I can say as someone whose studied the language for about two years, that spelling in German is simple once you get used to the sounds.


message 13: by Jen Pattison (last edited Jan 21, 2017 01:05PM) (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments England does have a lot of dialects, particularly in the north, but I read a study a few months ago that dialect words are dying out, which is a shame as they add a richness to our culture. They are being replaced by 'estuary English', a dreadful accent of London and acquired through television.

I would oppose an overhaul of the English language. This is giving in to people who find its spelling and grammar to be hard and can't be bothered to put in the effort to learn it. I'm thinking particularly of the ethnic British here as the standard of English usage is plummeting and our standard of teaching is in terminal decline. I'm witnessing the death of a rich, expressive language and it saddens me greatly.


message 14: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments A spelling reform changes neither grammar nor abnormalities (so "mice" would not be replaced with "mouses"). It is meant to make existing rules more consistent (so "efficient" would likely become "effeceint" to follow the "except after C" rule) and to update the spelling of words whose pronunciation has drastically changed over time.

I do agree that English seems to be going through a "dumbing down" though, and I am also saddened by it. A lot of it seems to come from laziness. "Whom" is a great example of this, as it follows the same object pronoun rules as "me", "him", "her", and "them". I know languages change over time, but English is already fairly basic when it comes to grammar (compared to a lot of other major world languages), so each change that dumbs down the grammar feels like a significant loss.

I could talk about languages all day, so at the risk of rambling (too late) I'll stop here.


message 15: by Aiden (new)

Aiden Bailey (aidenlbailey) | 76 comments When I see references to Esperanto, I always think of Harry Harrison and Red Dwarf.


message 16: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments When I was growing up, I was the worst speller in class. English spelling is horrible, e.g., bouquet. It doesn't even sound like it is spelled. it should be: bookay. All these ph's should be f's.

When German was revamped, they took all none German words and respelled them, e.g., photograph became Fotograf. German is a phonetic language. English is not.

I met an Englishman here in Germany, and he said most English can't spell. It's true about the US, too. And I doubt if most Americans can truly read as well.

He also told me, the reason they changed the currency to the decimal system was because most Brits couldn't count in the old currency way: 12 pence in a Shilling, and 20 shilling in Pound.

I'm all for revamping anything that is confusing.


Roughseasinthemed | 129 comments Don't be silly. Of course we could count in pennies and shillings. Decimalisation avoided devaluation but achieved the same result. Suddenly in 1971 British people lost the ability to count the currency after hundreds of years? Really?

Anyway. On languages. The sensible ones to learn are English and Spanish. Chinese is only useful if you are visiting China or doing business with Chinese. They may well speak English but it's always sensible to know what they are saying about you.

French is very passé. It's going down the road of German. No longer a significant international language. Soon they will be like Italian and Portuguese. There is no hope for esperanto. Look at the fluency levels in english of eastern europeans, seriously excellent. If I wrote in anything else, it would be in spanish, but I tend to confine myself to emails and blog comments in spanish rather than anything longer. I do admire people who write in a language that isn't their first one. I have a friend who had his novella translated into spanish, must ask if he got any sales.


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments Roughseasinthemed wrote: "Look at the fluency levels in english of eastern europeans, seriously excellent...."

The proliferation of English may well be linked to hegemony of English speaking world and of USD. If Yuan overtakes dollar and biz and money move East, won't be surprised if Chinese gains significant ground...


message 19: by Jen Pattison (last edited Jan 23, 2017 05:23AM) (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Roughseasinthemed wrote: "Don't be silly. Of course we could count in pennies and shillings. Decimalisation avoided devaluation but achieved the same result. Suddenly in 1971 British people lost the ability to count the currency after hundreds of years? Really?"

I agree. I remember the old currency in my youth and we managed with it really well, even my great-grandma who couldn't read or write. We also managed well with the imperial system of weights, even though it's not decimal; many of the recipes that I've collected over the years are in imperial, I can measure a lot of things by sight and metric doesn't mean a thing to me.

It's certainly true GR that a lot of British have poor spelling proficiency, but I remember a time when that wasn't the case. This is not down to any linguistic complexity, but a state schooling system that is no longer hard work but an 'experience' and pupils (sorry - students, learners or whatever the current tag is) are pushed by their teachers into a useless degree (something like Soap Opera Studies) at a mediocre university, ending up with an average £44,000 debt at the age of 21. If they had started work at 16 or 18, or started at 16 to learn a trade, they would have been earning much earlier with no university debt. It's no longer the case that a degree equates to higher earnings - only in certain subjects such as law, medicine, science and engineering.

Many Asian countries are streets ahead of Britain in respect of their schools' maths and language proficiency and that is because they don't engage in any of this 'learning experience' nonsense, but expect their students to put in a lot of hard work in subjects that really matter, such as maths, languages and science.


Roughseasinthemed | 129 comments Hi Jen. Totally agree. Took me a while to measure by sight, but I can make bread, pizza, pastry without scales. I'm dual on metric/imperial though, incl spanners.

I went to an academic school (thank goodness) back then. Latin, physics, chemistry, streaming for maths, french and latin. Started working under age, in that old coinage we couldn't calculate correctly. Ha! My partner started his paper round about the same age (10) and his apprenticeship at 15 (still kept his five paper rounds as they brought in more income). We're both pretty fluent in Spanish that we learned in our forties.

@ Nik. I agree with you about Chinese. Trouble is, most English speaking people with it as their first language can't even read, write, speak another Latin language decently, let alone starting on Mandarin!


message 21: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments Roughseasinthemed wrote: "Trouble is, most English speaking people with it as their first language can't even read, write, speak another Latin language decently, let alone starting on Mandarin! "

This is probably the plight of anyone whose native language happens to be the current lingua franca; there isn't much motivation to learn a second language, because there is no need beyond one's personal curiosity. English (which is a Germanic language) being spoken globally only lessens the need for native English speakers to learn a second language.

I agree that the shortcomings of the school system has a lot to do with English speakers being unable to speak / write English well; I just recently found out that most American schools no longer do sentence diagrams in elementary school. I'm not claiming to have learned a TON from doing sentence diagrams as a child, but I know they were useful to me.


message 22: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments English and French have become more prominent through colonialism.


message 23: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments A lot non English speaking countries study English as a second language, but from those countries probably only the majority of population of Northern Europe has a reasonable/good command thereof. Usually more south you go, the less people understand English ..


message 24: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Here in Germany, second languages are started in the 3rd grade with English, and continue throughout schooling. French begins in 4th grade. If one wants to go to college, he/she must be fluent in English. Many classes in colleges and universities teach in English. That is a present problem in France, since most classes are taught in English. Not too long ago there was an uprising in France over the prerequisite of learning English to go to college.

Since Brexit, France is jockeying for number one language for the EU. (Good-Luck)

The US is limiting itself by not requiring a student to be fluent in a second language. Multilingual people are desperately needed in the world.


message 25: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments GR wrote: "Since Brexit, France is jockeying for number one language for the EU. (Good-Luck)"

Indeed!

Daniel J. wrote: "English (which is a Germanic language)...

Technically it is classed as being in the Teutonic language group (its closest language across the Channel is Frisian), but English is a melding of Old English and French, which was the official language of England's bureaucracy after the Norman conquest. I've studied both French and German, the sentence structure of English comes from French. English words are a mixture from Old English (house, eat, cow etc.) and others from French/Latin (contain, reconcile, vitality etc.). I think this melding makes English interesting and unique.

Nik wrote: "A lot non English speaking countries study English as a second language, but from those countries probably only the majority of population of Northern Europe has a reasonable/good command thereof. Usually more south you go, the less people understand English ."

I agree up to a point, though I've seen a massive increase in English proficiency in Italy as well as a willingness to speak English. I guess that it's with the use of the internet, if the cool sites that young people want to access are American and thus in English. That is probably the case in all Mediterranean countries; I know expats in Cyprus who manage to live there knowing very little Greek. Even though Cyprus has not been a British Protectorate for over 50 years, English proficiency is still very high - though many young Cypriots go to university abroad, and many study in Britain and North America.


message 26: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 111 comments Jen Pattison wrote: "English is a melding... "

True. I suppose claiming English as a descendent of any one language is oversimplifying.

English also has a fair amount of influence from Arabic and the language family of India thanks to the expanse of the British Empire. (Rice, lime, bungalow, khaki, giraffe, coffee, satin (the fabric), algebra, etc).

This hybridization of English does give it many unique qualities. It also makes it a massive language word wise.

GR wrote: "The US is limiting itself by not requiring a student to be fluent in a second language. Multilingual people are desperately needed in the world."

Agreed. The current requirement is two years of foreign language in high school (it does not need to be the same foreign language both years) which is a little ridiculous considering how useful it is to be multilingual.


message 27: by Aiden (new)

Aiden Bailey (aidenlbailey) | 76 comments I suspect that within a decade, all our smartphones will be able to translate any language on the spot, so we will travel in foreign countries talking to our phones that then talk to locals, they answer and our phones translate and talks back to us in English.

We won't even need to know what the language the person is speaking.

So the important question will be not how many languages you can speak, but will I be able to find somewhere charge my smartphone before it need it again for another translation.

:)


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments The question is already there and looming even before the translations-:) Can be as you describe and I'm already imagining device assisted dialogues in a bedroom -:)


message 29: by Aiden (new)

Aiden Bailey (aidenlbailey) | 76 comments Nik wrote: "The question is already there and looming even before the translations-:) Can be as you describe and I'm already imagining device assisted dialogues in a bedroom -:)"

Nik, I think you have a novel there, or at least a short story. :)


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments -:) yep, basing on current google translate capabilities can be quite amusing


message 31: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Aiden wrote: "I suspect that within a decade, all our smartphones will be able to translate any language on the spot, so we will travel in foreign countries talking to our phones that then talk to locals, they a..."

It will be interesting to see if translations in the future will become intelligible to the recipient, as the current ones I get from Google Translate are hilarious!


message 32: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments Aiden wrote: "I suspect that within a decade, all our smartphones will be able to translate any language on the spot, so we will travel in foreign countries talking to our phones that then talk to locals, they a..."

Yesterday you mentioned it, today I saw an app for iphone doing exactly this -:) The future is here


message 33: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13800 comments Have you improved your esperanto this year or Google translate as a back up artificial intelligence is good enough? -:)


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