Re: Saving the ethnosphere

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed May 01 2002 - 00:17:53 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Saving the ethnosphere
    Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 19:17:53 -0400
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    >From: "Dace" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: Saving the ethnosphere
    >Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 23:40:21 -0700
    > > The less languages around the less potential confusion will be brought
    > > about by people trying to communicate as the probability increases that
    > > they speak the same language.
    >The tyranny of utilitarianism.
    > > Extinction of redundant languages is a natural process in an environment
    > > with progressive global communication.
    >This is rationalization, pure and simple. Cultures are annihilated by
    >guns, disease, and dollars.
    > > Trying to intervene in this natural process, in the sense of trying to
    > > superfluous languages, to me seems to be as artificial as genetic
    > > engineering is to biological evolution.
    >How about superfluous species? Who says life itself isn't superfluous?
    >Perhaps humans and our natural languages will one day be rendered obsolete
    >by computers and their algorithmic tongues.
    >Btw, bacteria have been sharing genes for billions of years. Humbling,
    >isn't it?
    > > A difference between the two being that, unlike the latter, the former
    > > possible benefit other than one of sentimental and/or historic value.
    > > Phil.
    >Carve out our memory, and there's nothing left but mechanism.
    I think Dace is making reasonable points (well up o that last comment he
    snuck in about memory versus mechanism).

    For someone to underemphasize the importance of linguistic diversity on a
    list where language is often tossed about as a topic strikes me as very odd.
    I'm sure linguists would learn a lot about language if there were only one
    left. I guess I'm appealing to utility here since I think preservation
    diversity is useful for those wanting to study the complexities of a
    phenomenon like language. But, I also see the importance of diversity for
    diversity's sake.

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