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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:04 am 
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Claudio Bertinetto wrote:

Cl: My interest in this matter is practical and professional: I have to deal with language drift, in multiple languages, for a living, so take this very seriously! And yes, the implications are obvious for the setting, but then again it may be something that needs to be glossed over. A practical, in-setting solution is to have one accepted lingua franca (there are two, english and french, thanks to the remnants of a large multinational institution) and have this language taught in schools and universities to as many people as possible. Again, this has been contemplated by the setting book, with english being the obvious choice.


LB: How about Creoles? ( "Creoles" as in the linguist form, rather than its cultral expression).

I envisage some Hindu / Cantonese / Mandarin mix, with lots of English loan words on Damso. Or a Spanish / Mandarin / Dutch / English mix on Schwarzvaal. What would be the common language on the Nexi? And there is English, in all its forms.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:23 am 
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Luke Bennett wrote:
Claudio Bertinetto wrote:

Cl: My interest in this matter is practical and professional: I have to deal with language drift, in multiple languages, for a living, so take this very seriously! And yes, the implications are obvious for the setting, but then again it may be something that needs to be glossed over. A practical, in-setting solution is to have one accepted lingua franca (there are two, english and french, thanks to the remnants of a large multinational institution) and have this language taught in schools and universities to as many people as possible. Again, this has been contemplated by the setting book, with english being the obvious choice.


LB: How about Creoles? ( "Creoles" as in the linguist form, rather than its cultral expression).

I envisage some Hindu / Cantonese / Mandarin mix, with lots of English loan words on Damso. Or a Spanish / Mandarin / Dutch / English mix on Schwarzvaal. What would be the common language on the Nexi? And there is English, in all its forms.


Cl: Yes and no.

Yes on individual worlds with mixed populations where the government is not enforcing a single culture-main or dominant language theme. Creole dialects tend to appear in small nations with very mixed populations, with no single ethnic group dominant. They are also very local, tied to that specific geographic location, and are also quite limited in content: just how much grammar and vocabulary do they have? As far as I know, you get enough words to deal with basic everyday tasks, but decribiung the inner workings of a nuclear reactor or an 8 MRLS may be beyond them.

A structured language is very valuable due to its depth of resources, with engineering only one of the applications. Just think about medecine and medical technology: an open heart operation is not the right time to fumble for words, as could happen with a creole dialect. Setting-wise, the major powers all have universities, and these will be major factors in preserving the "pure" form of their respective national languages. Just look at the role of Albanian Universities in preserving and favouring Kossovar independence today.

Note that due to the fact that most Ten Worlds Governments are trying hard to assert their authority in their own backyards. A single culture, and language, is one of the best ways to go about it. Hence the Anglo-German culture war on Olympia, the fact that Arabic and Turkish are the Caliphate's official languages on Medina, as opposed to Polish and Spanish (the catholic minority's languages), Mandarin is prevalent on Xing Cheng with degenerate English taught in schools to enable contact with barbarians (all offworlders). Please note that this is a continuation of present PRC policy, but also a reflection of the fact that over 80% of XC's population is Ethnic Chinese. Other languages are spoken, but none are anywhere near Mandarin in nimportance. Altiplano's Government revolves around Spanish, Novaya Rossya around Russian, and Novo Brazil around the Brazilaian version of Portuguese. The Pacifican Commonwealth will be a special case, but I expect English will be the lingua franca.

On Schwarzvaal, the best way to communicate is to teach Alti and XC Peacekeepers their ally's language, or relying on English as an accepted compromise. Given the importance of the Alti-XC alliance, and present Chinese Military practice, I'm opting for the first option. Please note that Chinese military advisers sent to Latin America ALL speak some Spanish. Interesting factoid, eh?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:07 pm 
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Claudio Bertinetto wrote:
Luke Bennett wrote:

LB: How about Creoles? ( "Creoles" as in the linguist form, rather than its cultral expression).

I envisage some Hindu / Cantonese / Mandarin mix, with lots of English loan words on Damso. Or a Spanish / Mandarin / Dutch / English mix on Schwarzvaal. What would be the common language on the Nexi? And there is English, in all its forms.


Cl: Yes and no.

Yes on individual worlds with mixed populations where the government is not enforcing a single culture-main or dominant language theme. Creole dialects tend to appear in small nations with very mixed populations, with no single ethnic group dominant. They are also very local, tied to that specific geographic location, and are also quite limited in content: just how much grammar and vocabulary do they have? As far as I know, you get enough words to deal with basic everyday tasks, but decribiung the inner workings of a nuclear reactor or an 8 MRLS may be beyond them.

A structured language is very valuable due to its depth of resources, with engineering only one of the applications. Just think about medecine and medical technology: an open heart operation is not the right time to fumble for words, as could happen with a creole dialect. Setting-wise, the major powers all have universities, and these will be major factors in preserving the "pure" form of their respective national languages. Just look at the role of Albanian Universities in preserving and favouring Kossovar independence today.

You actually may be talking about a pidgin language. Pidgin's are contact languages that form between two populations that speak different languages when there isn't a third language known well by both parties that can be used. They are learned as second languages and tend to be rather simple simply because neither party has a good handle on the other's language.

Creoles are full-fledged languages that develop when the local kids get a hold of a pidgin and make it into their native tounge. A creole tends to be more complex than the pidgin it came from.

Languages tend to make up or acquire words for concepts that they don't yet have words for... A great deal of technical and scientific vocabulary in English is of Latinate, rather than Germanic, even though English is a Germanic language. About the only thing that limits what vocabulary a creole can have is the presence of a taboo on using it in certain settings. If such a taboo exists, then vocabulary will be lacking for terms that are rarely used outside those settings. A creole-speaking surgeon may use English if most medical personel in the area speak English, but as soon as he's in an operating room full of people he knows are most comfortable speaking his creole, its a good bet he'll be using that creole right in the middle of that open heart surgery. Sure, he'll use English terms for anything there isn't a word for in his creole, or else make up a word on the spot, but the grammar and basic vocabulary he uses will be that of the creole.
And as for fumbling for words or using a word that means one thing to you and another to your listener, that can happen even when you're using the same language. My dad uses "lawn broom" and "garden rake" for two objects that for me are simply two different types of "rake." So, one time when he asked me to bring him a "lawn broom," I went to the garage, found a push broom, and brought that to him. It was not, of course, what he was looking for...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:18 pm 
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Jonathan Brase wrote:
Claudio Bertinetto wrote:
Luke Bennett wrote:

Creoles are full-fledged languages that develop when the local kids get a hold of a pidgin and make it into their native tounge. A creole tends to be more complex than the pidgin it came from.

Languages tend to make up or acquire words for concepts that they don't yet have words for... A great deal of technical and scientific vocabulary in English is of Latinate, rather than Germanic, even though English is a Germanic language. About the only thing that limits what vocabulary a creole can have is the presence of a taboo on using it in certain settings. If such a taboo exists, then vocabulary will be lacking for terms that are rarely used outside those settings. A creole-speaking surgeon may use English if most medical personel in the area speak English, but as soon as he's in an operating room full of people he knows are most comfortable speaking his creole, its a good bet he'll be using that creole right in the middle of that open heart surgery. Sure, he'll use English terms for anything there isn't a word for in his creole, or else make up a word on the spot, but the grammar and basic vocabulary he uses will be that of the creole.


Cl: A question: Where did the surgeon and the surgical staff learn their trade? In 2265, it is automatically in one of the few existing medical faculties, all of which will teach using an established earth language. It may be too early, setting-wise, for a creole language to have taken root. Pidgins are possible, indeed probable. My point about the professions is that in 2265 Ten Worlds population sizes are too small, and the setting too unsettled to create universities in any new language. What higher learning institutions do exist is inherited from parent nations on Earth. Teaching is thus limited (in 2265, setting-wise) to pre-loss Earth languages. Just think about translating, or creating afresh, the thousands of text and references books required by a single faculty. This would be difficult for the larger in-setting nations, let alone the smaller entities in out-of-the-way corners of the Ten Worlds. These smaller players are themselves at risk of great instability, by the way.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:35 pm 
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Claudio Bertinetto wrote:
Jonathan Brase wrote:
Claudio Bertinetto wrote:
Luke Bennett wrote:

Creoles are full-fledged languages that develop when the local kids get a hold of a pidgin and make it into their native tounge. A creole tends to be more complex than the pidgin it came from.

Languages tend to make up or acquire words for concepts that they don't yet have words for... A great deal of technical and scientific vocabulary in English is of Latinate, rather than Germanic, even though English is a Germanic language. About the only thing that limits what vocabulary a creole can have is the presence of a taboo on using it in certain settings. If such a taboo exists, then vocabulary will be lacking for terms that are rarely used outside those settings. A creole-speaking surgeon may use English if most medical personel in the area speak English, but as soon as he's in an operating room full of people he knows are most comfortable speaking his creole, its a good bet he'll be using that creole right in the middle of that open heart surgery. Sure, he'll use English terms for anything there isn't a word for in his creole, or else make up a word on the spot, but the grammar and basic vocabulary he uses will be that of the creole.


Cl: A question: Where did the surgeon and the surgical staff learn their trade? In 2265, it is automatically in one of the few existing medical faculties, all of which will teach using an established earth language. It may be too early, setting-wise, for a creole language to have taken root. Pidgins are possible, indeed probable. My point about the professions is that in 2265 Ten Worlds population sizes are too small, and the setting too unsettled to create universities in any new language. What higher learning institutions do exist is inherited from parent nations on Earth. Teaching is thus limited (in 2265, setting-wise) to pre-loss Earth languages. Just think about translating, or creating afresh, the thousands of text and references books required by a single faculty. This would be difficult for the larger in-setting nations, let alone the smaller entities in out-of-the-way corners of the Ten Worlds. These smaller players are themselves at risk of great instability, by the way.


Why isn't the lingua franca of the Ten Worlds the lingua franca of the FN-- french. Stupid as it sounds for the lingua franca to be a language that nobody speaks (except for a small group of marginalised personnel in the ODSF, and some beurocrats) the advantages are legion. As too few people speak it natively, but many people will have learned it and many schools will have taught it, most people will be able to find out what french documents mean and french will never drift in meaning. There is a reason that all official documents in the Roman Catholic Church are written in latin. Latin, being a dead language, is no longer subject to change and the documents mean the same thing now as when originally written.

When the subject drifts to language, I like to quote my friend James Nicholls (sp?):

"People who try to preserve the purity of the english language amuse me. English has all the purity of a yellow mongrel dog. English does not just borrow words from other languages, it lures smaller languages into dark alleys, beats them senseless, and then turns out their pockets for spare vocabulary. [some paraphrasing]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:22 pm 
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There are about 10 million Arabic speakers in the setting, another 10 million English speakers, 6 and a half million Spanish speakers, less than 6 million Chinese speakers (remember, that dialects can be mutually incomprehensible), about 4 million Turkish speakers, almost 3 million German speakers, about 2 million Farsi speakers, a million Czechs, a million Poles and lots and lots of others, down to the point where you reach about a quarter of a million French speakers.

The FN had two official languages, French and English. There are certainly whole heaps more who have English as a second language in the setting than French.

Also, keep in mind that Olympia, Medina, XC and Altiplano were deliberately anti-FN in their policies, and would be unlikely to encourage French speakers.

We don't actually have enough time for documents to become incomprehensible, it hasn't been a century since the Loss, and I don't have too much trouble reading Shakespear, after all.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:19 am 
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The other day, I saw an interview with a representative of France 24, the French 24-hour television news service. It was on the occasion of their adding a third broadcast language to their previous two, French and Arabic. He said that they added English because it was indisputably the world's universal language, and that it was spoken by 80% of the people their broadcasts (I know, not really broadcasts) could reach. If the French have given up on their language being the Lingua Franca, I think the idea's all done.
-Kle.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:47 am 
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Klebert L. Hall wrote:
If the French have given up on their language being the Lingua Franca, I think the idea's all done.
-Kle.


Does that mean we should campaign to change the phrase to "lingua Anglia" then? 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:00 pm 
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Davyd Atwood wrote:
Klebert L. Hall wrote:
If the French have given up on their language being the Lingua Franca, I think the idea's all done.
-Kle.


Does that mean we should campaign to change the phrase to "lingua Anglia" then? 8)


Seconded!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:38 pm 
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The "Franca" in Lingua Franca actually comes from the fact that the Arabs lumped together all Europeans as "Franks." There was acutally a Mediteranean trade pidgin, based primarily on Italian, that was called "Lingua Franca," from which we get the modern term.

http://www.biocrawler.com/encyclopedia/Lingua_franca

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:21 pm 
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This whole discussion is why, when I seize Ultimate Power and Rule The World (tm), everybody is going to speak Esperanto.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:05 am 
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Michael Strain wrote:
This whole discussion is why, when I seize Ultimate Power and Rule The World (tm), everybody is going to speak Esperanto.


You know, when my wife was in Elementary school, they actually made her take an Esperanto class. In a trailer, in the parking lot.
-Kle.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:14 pm 
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Michael Strain wrote:
This whole discussion is why, when I seize Ultimate Power and Rule The World (tm), everybody is going to speak Esperanto.


If you are going to go that route, you should use sanskrit. Sanskrit has a context free grammar, so any correctly formed statement can be definitively parsed by a computer program that can be certified as bug free (the Halting Problem is solvable). This is ideal for any documentation where you do not want any questions of interpretation-- laws and contracts.

No one should be forced to speak the "Language of Documentation" as the lack of ambiguity eliminates too many opportunities for humor; although, there are people who will not miss the ability to say puns


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:43 pm 
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Mark Graves wrote:
There are about 10 million Arabic speakers in the setting, another 10 million English speakers, 6 and a half million Spanish speakers, less than 6 million Chinese speakers (remember, that dialects can be mutually incomprehensible), (SNIP)
We don't actually have enough time for documents to become incomprehensible, it hasn't been a century since the Loss, and I don't have too much trouble reading Shakespear, after all.


Cl: XC's education system is built around teaching Mandarin, and would've borne fruit almost 60 years after the Loss. Every XC citizen will speak _some_ Mandarn, and anyone wantng to get into the professions, public service, politics or the Military will be quite proficient. English is also taught, as it is recognized to be a lingua franca for contact with offworlders. It's nowhere near a important as mandarin, however.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:27 pm 
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Richard Bell wrote:
Michael Strain wrote:
This whole discussion is why, when I seize Ultimate Power and Rule The World (tm), everybody is going to speak Esperanto.


If you are going to go that route, you should use sanskrit. Sanskrit has a context free grammar, so any correctly formed statement can be definitively parsed by a computer program that can be certified as bug free (the Halting Problem is solvable). This is ideal for any documentation where you do not want any questions of interpretation-- laws and contracts.


No language has a context free grammar. Sanskrit has pronouns such as "I" and "you," and such words are context dependent. When Jonathan Brase is speaking, the word "I" has a different meaning than when Richard Bell is speaking. Jonathan Brase doesn't think Richard Bell really wants a context free language, because Richard Bell will find a context free language to be fairly cumbersome to speak. Contextualization is a feature, not a bug.

Sanskrit is very regular though, but this is primarily because it is dead. Dead languages that have religious or other cultural significance tend to get picked apart by grammarians and given a regularized structure. As long as such a language is used only by the educated and mercilessly proofread, or set phrases are memorized word for word by the masses, or anything like that, it will remain fairly regular. But as soon as it is successfully revived (which is rather difficult) and actually becomes the native language of a group of people, well, there goes your regular and (nearly) context free language. The human brain leaves things to context whenever it can.

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