The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight

Universal Language..why not?

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » August 14th, 2017, 10:36 pm

But aren't pilots and programmers about to be replaced by computers anyway?
Plumbers and roofers are still human, but they don't have to converse much; farmers will be needed for a while yet, but cows don't care what language you speak, it's all two-legs gibberish to them.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » August 15th, 2017, 3:45 am

Alias wrote:But aren't pilots and programmers about to be replaced by computers anyway?
Plumbers and roofers are still human, but they don't have to converse much; farmers will be needed for a while yet, but cows don't care what language you speak, it's all two-legs gibberish to them.
Ha, good one. I am not necessarily in favor of a universal language, but we are drifting towards one anyway
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Frewah
Posts: 45
Joined: September 30th, 2018, 3:30 pm

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Frewah » November 1st, 2018, 9:11 am

The world’s most popular language is Bad English. If you want to be able to speak to the rest of the world, English is your best option. Spanish is definitely easier than English.

Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » November 1st, 2018, 10:40 am

Frewah wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:11 am
The world’s most popular language is Bad English. If you want to be able to speak to the rest of the world, English is your best option. Spanish is definitely easier than English.
Again, that's a subjective assessment. It depends on what your first language was, what your ears and mouth and pattern-recognition hardware adapted to at age 0-3, when your brain was forming around language-acquisition. After that age, learning new languages becomes progressively more difficult, and the ones most unlike your own in structure and sound will be the most difficult to master.
If English is your first language, all the Indo-European languages with the same alphabet will be relatively easy to learn - at least to the level of mundane conversation. Arabic, Hebrew and Russian will be more of a challenge; East Asian, African and Native American languages will be most difficult. I suspect it's easier for the Japanese, Russian and Iranian to learn English (or, for that matter, Dutch or Spanish) than the other way around, simply because of the the streamlined alphabet - and of course, all the peoples under European colonial rule have already been exposed to, and retained, the language of their respective conquerors.
At the moment, English still has an advantage in international commerce and diplomacy - not to mention the thriving espionage and mercenary markets - but as America sinks into self-immolation and economic decline, that will no longer be the case; as we approach the universal availability of electronic translators, knowledge of grammar will be as redundant as learning the times tables is now; soon after that, the very borders will cease to exist, erased by millions of climate-refugee feet. The survivors will figure out how to communicate, according to who wins the final showdown.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » November 1st, 2018, 3:37 pm

Alias wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 10:40 am
Frewah wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:11 am
The world’s most popular language is Bad English. If you want to be able to speak to the rest of the world, English is your best option. Spanish is definitely easier than English.
Again, that's a subjective assessment. It depends on what your first language was, what your ears and mouth and pattern-recognition hardware adapted to at age 0-3, when your brain was forming around language-acquisition. After that age, learning new languages becomes progressively more difficult, and the ones most unlike your own in structure and sound will be the most difficult to master.
If English is your first language, all the Indo-European languages with the same alphabet will be relatively easy to learn - at least to the level of mundane conversation. Arabic, Hebrew and Russian will be more of a challenge; East Asian, African and Native American languages will be most difficult. I suspect it's easier for the Japanese, Russian and Iranian to learn English (or, for that matter, Dutch or Spanish) than the other way around, simply because of the the streamlined alphabet - and of course, all the peoples under European colonial rule have already been exposed to, and retained, the language of their respective conquerors.
At the moment, English still has an advantage in international commerce and diplomacy - not to mention the thriving espionage and mercenary markets - but as America sinks into self-immolation and economic decline, that will no longer be the case; as we approach the universal availability of electronic translators, knowledge of grammar will be as redundant as learning the times tables is now; soon after that, the very borders will cease to exist, erased by millions of climate-refugee feet. The survivors will figure out how to communicate, according to who wins the final showdown.
I disagree. While the US will do what it will in the future, that's not the question. The question is what is going to be the universal language? In order to gauge this, you shouldn't count the number of native speakers (Mandarin would win by a long shot) you should count the number of non-native speakers, ie those who are seeking to learn the language as a marker for it's utility. English far outstrips any language on the planet in that regard and is alone in that it is the one dominant language that has more non native speakers than native speakers.
"As usual... it depends."

Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » November 1st, 2018, 4:04 pm

LuckyR wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 3:37 pm
I disagree. While the US will do what it will in the future, that's not the question. The question is what is going to be the universal language? In order to gauge this, you shouldn't count the number of native speakers (Mandarin would win by a long shot) you should count the number of non-native speakers, ie those who are seeking to learn the language as a marker for it's utility. English far outstrips any language on the planet in that regard and is alone in that it is the one dominant language that has more non native speakers than native speakers.
I'm not counting number of current speakers, I'm guessing what will become most profitable/advantageous to learn for the future. If the US no longer dominates global economy, it won't be English, because GB is not coming back as a world power. Mandarin was a half-joking guess; the dominant economic language might be Hindi or Arabic or Spanish.
But my bottom line was: No foreign language learning will be required when your cell-phone can translate instantly from any to any other.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » November 2nd, 2018, 2:04 am

Alias wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 4:04 pm
LuckyR wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 3:37 pm
I disagree. While the US will do what it will in the future, that's not the question. The question is what is going to be the universal language? In order to gauge this, you shouldn't count the number of native speakers (Mandarin would win by a long shot) you should count the number of non-native speakers, ie those who are seeking to learn the language as a marker for it's utility. English far outstrips any language on the planet in that regard and is alone in that it is the one dominant language that has more non native speakers than native speakers.
I'm not counting number of current speakers, I'm guessing what will become most profitable/advantageous to learn for the future. If the US no longer dominates global economy, it won't be English, because GB is not coming back as a world power. Mandarin was a half-joking guess; the dominant economic language might be Hindi or Arabic or Spanish.
But my bottom line was: No foreign language learning will be required when your cell-phone can translate instantly from any to any other.
Huh? Ok so the US is not dominant, it is one of, say five major players in the economic world. China, Germany, Japan, India and the US.

English has >700 million non native speakers scattered all over the world
Hindi has about 320 million non native speakers, BUT almost all of them live in India
Mandarin has less than 200 million and a majority live in China
German has 56 million
Japanese has less than 1 million

Spanish, Malay and Arabic have better numbers than German and Japanese but no chance of being the dominant economic power.

French is the only possible rival to English, third highest number of non native speakers, none live in France, and the Francophonie could be a power if Africa could get it's stuff together, though I will not be holding my breath.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Burning ghost » November 2nd, 2018, 3:48 am

AKA badgerjelly

Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » November 2nd, 2018, 8:32 am

LuckyR wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 2:04 am
Huh? Ok so the US is not dominant, it is one of, say five major players in the economic world. China, Germany, Japan, India and the US.
My main points were: not numbers but the future of world economics and
that learning a second language will very soon become obsolete.
No universal language - just a universal translator.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » November 2nd, 2018, 11:11 pm

Alias wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 8:32 am
LuckyR wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 2:04 am
Huh? Ok so the US is not dominant, it is one of, say five major players in the economic world. China, Germany, Japan, India and the US.
My main points were: not numbers but the future of world economics and
that learning a second language will very soon become obsolete.
No universal language - just a universal translator.
I want to make sure I understand, in the future folks will know their native language and use Siri with those who don't speak their language?

Personal question: do you commonly use professional translators?
"As usual... it depends."

Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » November 3rd, 2018, 12:07 am

LuckyR wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 11:11 pm
I want to make sure I understand, in the future folks will know their native language and use Siri with those who don't speak their language?

Personal question: do you commonly use professional translators?
Of course not! I could recite the times tables by age 9 and parse a sentence in Grade 9. Obsolete skills.
I'm from the past. I don't even have a cell-phone glued to my thumbs.
But even I use Google Translate now, as well as the maps and satellite photos and statistics and newspaper archives.
Technology happens, and it changes things.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » November 5th, 2018, 3:12 am

Alias wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 12:07 am
LuckyR wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 11:11 pm
I want to make sure I understand, in the future folks will know their native language and use Siri with those who don't speak their language?

Personal question: do you commonly use professional translators?
Of course not! I could recite the times tables by age 9 and parse a sentence in Grade 9. Obsolete skills.
I'm from the past. I don't even have a cell-phone glued to my thumbs.
But even I use Google Translate now, as well as the maps and satellite photos and statistics and newspaper archives.
Technology happens, and it changes things.
Well I do, and I can tell you they are infinitely better than Google Translate.
"As usual... it depends."

Alias
Posts: 2627
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Alias » November 5th, 2018, 4:38 pm

LuckyR wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 3:12 am
Well I do, and I can tell you they are infinitely better than Google Translate.
Today. They'll improve by the time you could master a new language - let alone three or four.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by Burning ghost » November 5th, 2018, 10:56 pm

Anyone can learn a new language fluently within 12 months. Once you’ve learnt the common grammatical structures and sounds by selecting certain languages (Arabic, English, Spanish and maybe Cantonese) it gets easier and easier.

The “ideal” is not to have a universal language, but to have a universal culture of learning languages.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3338
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Language..why not?

Post by LuckyR » November 6th, 2018, 3:39 am

Well I guess it depends on what is meant by universal. The current situation is that among the upwardly mobile, they are fluent in their native language and are at various levels of passable in English. Why English? Because it is the non native language that increases your income the highest (German is the second highest). It basically works. Any change would have to be dramatically superior.
"As usual... it depends."

Post Reply