RE: future language

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue Apr 30 2002 - 23:44:46 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: RE: future language
    Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 18:44:46 -0400
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: RE: future language
    >Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 13:38:35 +0100
    >Esperanto was a deliberate effort, but what about naturally occuring
    >languages like creole (a fond subject of the anthropologists of latter
    >interested in cultural evolution IIRC).
    >Thinking about it, Bill's invective (even though I know what he meant)
    >lost languages is a bit of a misnomer, as to some extent all languages are
    >the product of acculturation, some more violently occurring than others
    >perhaps, but defending indigenous languages today doesn't necessarily take
    >into account how those languages came into use by those peoples
    >historically. It's a return to the myth of the noble savage again.
    > <As we co-mingle and co-habit and co-operate, if we don't co-opt it
    > > first, it is, culturally cohesive, that we'll co-manage language to the
    > > pidgin of a commonly shared tongue.>
    > >
    > Having said the above, perhaps a less "natural" and more colonial
    >form of arriving at a common language may occur in coming years, but the
    >same is said about cultural trends more widely- cultural imperialism,
    >globalisation etc. etc. Apart from the previously mentioned knowledge of
    >local plants for medicines, at the risk of annoying the hell out of people,
    >I don't see the loss of tribal peoples' cultures as a huge thing (unless
    >it's being done in a kind of ethnic cleansing way, which does of course
    >apply to many, many instances). I'm sure I'd feel differently if the shoe
    >were on the other foot... The reason I don't see it as a huge thing is that
    >there's a vast gap between the often tribal societies of indigenous
    >and the post-industrial societies of the developed world, and even the
    >industrial societies of the developing world. So they have unique
    >languages, customs, beliefs blah, blah, blah, what utility is gained across
    >that societal gap? Cultural diversity perhaps? (but then you might as well
    >say let's keep an enclave for the Taliban to preserve their culture for
    Taliban aside, hearing something apathetic towards loss of cultural
    diversity on a list about cultural processes is sort of like hearing someone
    on an entomology list say that it's not all that big a deal if many of the
    world's insect species go extinct. We could learn lots about European
    derivative culture and extrapolate this to those lost cultures and their
    language much like we could learn lots about fruitflies and extend these
    findings (beyond the genetics research if you catch the drift of my sarcasm)
    to cover what all those uncatalogued insects may have been like.

    Loss of learning opportunities is less lamentable than that the people
    affected may have been lost with their unique cultural attributes. That's an
    even worse consideration as I'm sure you'd agree given your ethnic cleansing
    comment above.
    > Perhaps I should stop before someone leaps on a plane to Scotland (I
    >wouldn't the weather's terrible today) to ram my keyboard down my throat...
    Nah! Besides the fear that I might see someone wearing a kilt eating haggis
    is enough to keep me off the plane ;-)

    And the bagpipes...

    Just kidding. I'd love to visit and see Nessie one of these days.

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