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Re: Information on future English language development?

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, October 29, 2004, 13:34
Sally Caves scripsit:

> John, would you consider Lojban, in part, a kind of "future" language, > given that it consciously develops patterns of logic that would make > machine/language interface easier?
Perhaps. I myself have never given much credence to this part of the Lojban story.
> What incentives (fictive, philosophical, linguistic, scientific) > drive one to invent a future English?
Pragmatic, I'd say: it's easier to understand (given a modicum of linguistic knowledge) how one's own language might change than another language.
> Do you consider _A Clockwork Orange_ to be an example of future English?
It's just a specific slang embedded in 20th-century English, I think. Galach has been mentioned, but it's not well-developed in the _Dune_ books themselves. L. Sprague de Camp wrote a classic article in 1938 "Language for Time Travelers", about the problems the latter would have when they touched down in the 22nd century; it contains samples of several different future Englishes of different kinds (vowel shifted, holophrastic, etc.) I particularly cherish the Fresh and the Jumms (of Jummy). _Riddley Walker_ by Russell Hoban is of course entirely written in a future English (specifically Kentish): He said, 'Whats the use of helping qwirys on him that poor simpo I dont think he knows nothing to tel no moren any of them ever do. I do like other Pry Mincers done befor me becaws thats what the Mincery wants. Im terning them frontwards in a woal lot of ways only I cant do it all at 1ce. We aint none of us what you cud call qwick but mos of them roun me theyre 2ce as unqwick as I am Iwl tel you that. May be you ben thinking Im your nemminy but that aint how it is. You think like I do you feal like I do we aint nemminys. Its them as cant think nor feal none of them things theyre the nemminy. Them peopl as jus want to hol on to what theyve got theyre afeart to move even 1 littl step forit. I dont care if its Mincery of forms or fentses its them as wont move theyre the nemminy. Riddle may be you dont know it but you dont have no better frend nor me?" Embedded in the text is a story written in a different version of English, archaic from Riddley's viewpoint: On the stags hed stud the Littl Shynin Man the Addom in be twean thay horns with arms owt strecht & each han holdin tu a horn. There's also the Poul Anderson story "A Tragedy of Errors", which is specifically about semantic shift: the words "friend" and "business" have dropped out of the local language (in favor of "camarado" and "'change"), but have been recently reintroduced, by an incursion of pirates, in the senses "pirate" and "piracy" respectively (as in "We're your friends, and we're here to do business with you.") The next set of travelers who arrive saying "We're friends" get shot at. Because "slave" has locally come to mean "worker" or "employee", they shoot back, with disastrous results all around. is a useful "linguistics and SF" summary as of 1995.
> Whether "lie" will disappear from English altogether and be replaced > with "they"?
I know what you meant, but this is a neat idea anyhow. -- Time alone is real John Cowan <jcowan@...> the rest imaginary like a quaternion --phma