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Universal Language for the Human Race.
Thread poster: Syeda Tanbira Zaman

Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 07:10
English to Assamese
+ ...
Nov 15, 2004

Imagine - one language. Understood, spoken and written by all the people of the world. A language that can express all the shades of human emotions and can be used to describe everything as accurately and as easily as possible. A language that is easy on your tongue, throat, nose and lungs and does not hurt your ears. A language that is very easy to learn.

It will be a language with a minimum vocabulary but with mximum flexibility. Like the system of nomenclature of organic compunds, it will have a strict set of rules and with a single fundamental structure where every word will fit in. Like the radicals attaching to the different carbon atoms in an organic compound, every word in this language should have provisions for extension to denote different shades of meaning of the same root word.

It should also be a very thrifty language. it will not use a sentance where a mere word will do, it will not use a whole word when only a part will suffice. It will be a language manufactured in the laboratory by people with scientific temper but with aesthetic tastes. Like the human GNOME project, it should be an international effort. If we can invent languages like C++ or Java to be understood by machines through compilers , why can't we invent a language understood by both man and machine.

All languages and the sub languages and dialects of the world have evolved "naturally". But why leave it
to nature? When we have no qualms in changing the natural environment inherited by us through scientific innovations so that we can have a comfortable world to live in, why should we allow nature to dictate the way our languages are shaped? Moreover, the people who have coined the words in any language or have played a part in its evolution by changing an existing word were not necessarily scientifically inclined or rational. Despite some sporadic and unsuccessful attempts by Universities and other institutions at setting down rules of grammer or standardising spellings or prepare glossaries, languages by and large follow the whims of the masses.

Great authors sometimes coin their own words. But these words are mostly unscientific, irrational and arbitrary and they almost always confine themselves to a compartment called formal language. And why should languages be divided into strict compartments of the formal and the informal. Why should there be two sets of vocabulary, one for the so called 'cultured-elite' and one for the plebeian where some words or phrases are termed as slangs and others not, when "shit" and "excrement" infact means the same thing.

One may argue that some classical languages follow strict rules and are very "scientific". But these languages always remained within the realm of the scholars. They contain words which are not easy to remember or pronounce. What good is a language that does not make the task of human communication easy.

Great languages of the world like English and Mandarin are spoken by billions of people. They evolved independently in two corners of the world and are hence poles apart in grammer and lexicon. Speakers of one do not understand the other. They have divided the world. Both these languages are more often archaic, irrational and are very difficult to learn. One may argue, why the total number of people speaking these language constitute roughly half the population of the universe. Why are they so popular? But mere popularity can not be the justification of their continuation. Many things have been existing in this world for centuries enjoying great popularity among a wide section of the people - smoking, racial hatred, superstition, prostitution. Just because they have been existing from time immemorial and have been enjoying petronage from millions of people all over the world, should these be allowed to exist?

People tend to associate their group identities with languages. These separate identities are the main cause of strife in this world. Nations build around languages and it is the nations between which wars break out.

If we talk of ONE WORLD we must also speak in ONE LANGUAGE, not shoved down through the throat of the people but accepted spontaneously throughout the world for its sheer efficiency. Like the Personal Computer, which has changed our lives, this LANGUAGE OF THE WORLD will be invented by the scientific community of the world for the people of the world.

It will be difficult at first even to conceive such an idea or to orient our thinking around a language that will be
strictly scientific in structure. What will be the fate of literature then, one may be tempted to ask. Will such a language allow creative expressions where every word will be straight jacketed into a single shade of meaning? Will there be any scope for colourful experiments? Will poetry simply die out for sheer predictibility
of this language. All these apprehensions are quite natural because we are conditioned into absorbing certain sets
of beliefs right from our childhood.

Mathematics is an exact science where there is no room for ambiguity. But mathematicians for that matter physicists who use mathematics as a tool are the most creative people in the world and it is their creativity that makes our world worth living in. There is poetry in mathematics.

Believe me, we will find our children free from all these pre conceived notions about beauty but will watch them playing at the very edge of creativity . They will hack and chisle and polish, in short innovate with the greatest tool of communication ever known to mankind and human civilisation will continue to fluorish unhindered.

Let us have such a language.










[Edited at 2004-11-20 02:25]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:40
English to Russian
+ ...
a thought Nov 15, 2004

All 'common language' attempts are failing and the constructs are what they - ARTIFICIAL languages, i.e. 'unnatural', thus irrelevant or even redundant.
ONE WORLD is fine, but why 'one language'? Let it be a thousand worlds and million languages and cultures, enriching each other.

I believe, that in the future there will be one (or even several) inter-languages (on the basis of English or Spanish or, say, Greek, with simplified grammar and alphabet, probably with some kind of pictograms) to communicate between cultures, but every living culture has to have its language which had developed ('grown') with time locally and accumulated knowledge/beliefs / vision of its speakers.


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Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:40
English to Croatian
+ ...
Exactly! Nov 15, 2004

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:

ONE WORLD is fine, but why 'one language'? Let it be a thousand worlds and million languages and cultures, enriching each other.


Let's develop the feeling of unity, but not uniformity. Otherwise, why not wear same kind of clothes, eat same kind of food... Somehow I believe that one world will become possible if we learn how to celebrate, not erase differences...

Stay Happy!

Seadeta


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A Giridhar RAO
Local time: 07:10
English to Esperanto
+ ...
A common language for the world Nov 15, 2004

But there _is_ such a language, and I have been using it for the last 10 years because it fulfills so many of your poignant criteria:

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:

* Imagine - one language.
* Understood, spoken and written by all the people of the world.
* A language that can express all the shades of human emotions
* A language that is easy on your tongue, throat, nose and lungs
* A language that is very easy to learn.



I learnt Esperanto in the summer of 1994, and have still not got over the delight it has given me in building meaningful bridges across cultures and, indeed, worlds! Last March, I started a database of people I chat with on the Net in Esperanto. Today that database has 1088 names from some 75 countries -- all this in some 18 months.

And these too are people -- professors, plumbers and parliamentarians -- who are full of wonder that something like this exists and works....

Do explore this possibility a little more. Two possible starting points are "An Update on Esperanto" (http://www.uea.org/info/angle/an_ghisdatigo.html), and http://lernu.net

I hope that you'll be as amazed as so many have been.

Regards
Giridhar
Hyderabad (Deccan )
India


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Subhamay Ray  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Bengali
+ ...
You don't mean this, do you? Nov 16, 2004

You make me feel so concerned about the fate of literature and the death of the translator! If we have one language in the world will that be the end of all our strife? You mean people who speak the same language don't kill each other? You don't want our children to read Shakespeare, Flaubert or Tagore? I know even in your immediate surroundings everyone is not agreeing with you!

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A Giridhar RAO
Local time: 07:10
English to Esperanto
+ ...
One World Language does not mean Universal Monolingualism! Nov 16, 2004

> If we have one language in the world will that
> be the end of all our strife?

Certainly not! But a common language is one more "tool for conviviality". And what better tool than a neutral one that evens out the playing field of conversation (all having taken the same trouble to learn it), and assures the speaker of a "small" language the same respect as that accorded to the speaker of a "big" language.

> You don't want our children to read Shakespeare,
> Flaubert or Tagore?

But certainly, I do! But the last two I can read only in translation. And if I'd not had some two decades of intensive training, the first too would come to me (if at all) through a glass, darkly.

With Esperanto a certain level of meaningful communication becomes quickly possible for everyone (no nightmarish spelling system, no pronunciation pitfalls, regular grammatical features with few exceptions...). Besides, it is not the automatic cultural 'property' of any nation or ethnic group.

For those with the inclination (and the leisure), there is always the vertiginous pleasure of learning other languages. But for communication across cultures and languages -- for trade, science, and yes, even culture -- we need rather badly the linguistic equivalent of SI units; a more rational, long-term solution than the one(s) the current linguistic world order offers.

Think of Esperanto as a metric system with poetry. :>)

Giridhar
Hyderabad
India


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Subhamay Ray  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Bengali
+ ...
Sorry... Nov 16, 2004

I have nothing against a universal language. I only asked a few questions light-heartedly, almost in a soliloquy, and I hope the original poster of this thread will know what I meant. Best wishes!

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Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 07:10
English to Assamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hey, that was not necessary. Nov 17, 2004

Subhamay Ray wrote:
I hope the original poster of this thread will know what I meant. Best wishes!


I must assure you that your response was taken in the right spirit....and you were right about one thing. There is no taker for my grand vision...especially in the immediate circle. For someone suffering from occassional bouts of insanity, having a moderating influence in the proximity is a divine blessing.

Again, for academic interest...no proz member will ever be unemployed. That massive international project for designing the Universal Language will need us right from the start. We will tell them what not to do.

As for Tagore and Shakespeare... They will be read by archeologists.


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Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 07:10
English to Assamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It is not about Nov 17, 2004

Seadeta Osmani wrote:

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:

ONE WORLD is fine, but why 'one language'? Let it be a thousand worlds and million languages and cultures, enriching each other.


Let's develop the feeling of unity, but not uniformity. Otherwise, why not wear same kind of clothes, eat same kind of food... Somehow I believe that one world will become possible if we learn how to celebrate, not erase differences...

Stay Happy!

Seadeta


My original post was only about ONE LANGUAGE. Not ONE CULTURE. I would relish Croatian dish and love to hear its folk music anytime. For that I do not have to spend three or four years learning how to eat Croatian food or how to listen to Croatian Music. It is true about any culture in the world. But when you want to communicate with a Croatian or enjoy their literature, you must know the language well. In short one has to spend thousand lives just trying to learn each and every language in the world. What do we do now? Either we utilise the services of a translator or an interpreter. But these are indirect methods of communication and have their own limitations, which we all are aware of as translators. What about a common language? First condition, both have to know the language well to communicate with cent percent efficiency. Also, does not the very need for a common language only vindicates my theory that we NEED A LANGUAGE UNDERSTOOD BY EVERYONE. If we can agree on this and by common agreement it becomes the native language of the world, why do we need to bother about using another language except for pastime or pleasure. I speak, read and write four languages. Except my native tongue, I had to spend a huge Chunk of my life trying to learn the other three languages, a time that could have been better spent. Had there been only one language in the world, a Tagore, a Shakespeare, A flaubert would have written in the same language. Because it would be their native language and they would be understood by every soul on earth. Look at the tragedy now. How many of those one billion strong speakers of Mandarin have had the opportunity to enjoy Shakespeare or Milton except through translation which can never be a substitute for the original. The converse is also true.

I know, it is an idea very difficult even to conceive by this generation of ours. It will be a thing of the future. Beyond our comprehension just as the TV, the computer, space exploration was for the 19th century man.

The Universal Language will be there not because I want it to be. But because it is inevitable. Personally, I would rather do without it. I suffer from the same apprehensions as you do because my mind is conditioned to the idiosyncrasy of the age I belong to. But the future belongs to our grand children. Not us...and they would be far clever than we are.

[Edited at 2004-11-21 09:31]


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Loktak
Local time: 07:10
Hindi to English
+ ...
good idea Nov 17, 2004

I think it is a very good idea

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Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:40
English to Croatian
+ ...
A small request Nov 17, 2004

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:

In short one has to spend thousand lives just trying to learn each and every language in the world.


I hope to visit India next year and I won't be coming back home unless I learn some basic Hindi words Hope Hindi will treat me with at least some of its delights! Could you, perhaps, begin this adventure of mine by teaching me how to say "Your country is beautiful." ??

Best,

Seadeta


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Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 07:10
English to Assamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sure Nov 18, 2004

Seadeta Osmani wrote:

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:

In short one has to spend thousand lives just trying to learn each and every language in the world.


I hope to visit India next year and I won't be coming back home unless I learn some basic Hindi words Hope Hindi will treat me with at least some of its delights! Could you, perhaps, begin this adventure of mine by teaching me how to say "Your country is beautiful." ??

Best,

Seadeta


"AAPKA DESH SUNDAR HAIN" (Your country is beautiful).

I would say, "BHARAT MAIN AAPKA SWAGAT HAIN" (Welcome to India).


[Edited at 2004-11-19 10:11]


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Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:40
English to Croatian
+ ...
Thank you! Nov 18, 2004

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:

"AAPKI DESH SUNDAR HAIN" (Your country is beautiful).

I would say, "BHARAT MAIN AAPKA SWAGAT HAIN" (Welcome to India).


My first steps into Hindi Thank you!

Seadeta


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A Giridhar RAO
Local time: 07:10
English to Esperanto
+ ...
"Your country is beautiful" Nov 19, 2004

> "AAPKI DESH SUNDAR HAIN" (Your country is beautiful).

Umm. That should be

"AAPKAA DESH SUNDAR HAI" (Your country is beautiful).

आपका देश सुन्दर है।

And, yes, may I add my welcome too!

Regards
Giridhar
Hyderbad
Bharat


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Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 07:10
English to Assamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A correction Nov 19, 2004

Seadeta Osmani wrote:

Syeda Tanbira Zaman wrote:

"AAPKA DESH SUNDAR HAIN" (Your country is beautiful).

I would say, "BHARAT MAIN AAPKA SWAGAT HAIN" (Welcome to India).


My first steps into Hindi Thank you!

Seadeta


It would be AAPKA DESH SUNDAR HEIN.

[Edited at 2004-11-20 02:30]

[Edited at 2004-11-20 02:31]


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