OT: Isolation of English Dialects (was Re: THEORY: Anglic languages)
|From:||Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 20:59|
--- Peter Collier <petecollier@...> wrote:
> I have no crystal ball, but from the way things look
> now I cannot see divergence of the main English
> dialects being likely, indeed perhaps even the
> opposite. That is not to say English will not develop
> and change, it clearly will, I just don't think it
> will split.
> Two interconnected reasons for that - Firstly
> divergence requires isolation, and secondly there
> seems to be more of a trend towards standardisation.
> With the collapse of the Empire you have a situation
> where Roman dialect groups are separated by vast (for
> the period) gepgraphic distances with no means of
> instantaneous communication between the various
> Compare that to the current situation with
> telecommunications, media, global trade, etc where
> geographical distance is now irrelevant and you remove
> the possibility of isolation - barring some kind of
> catastrophic instantaneous collapse of all
> civilisation and technology, which seems more than
There are a number of converging trends which point to scenarios for isolating
various dialects of English that are not only plausible, but probable.
The economic dominance of the United States is rapidly waning. China and India
are emerging as the economic powerhouse nations of the next few generations. As
a debtor nation which continues to go deeper and deeper into debt, the US
economy is likely to collapse in the not too distant future.
There are good reasons (see the cost of travel and the difficulty of
communication below) to believe that the Balkanization of North America could
occur within the next few generations. Instead of a single monolithic "USA" and
a single monolithic "Canada" there will be a few dozen independent countries,
including the Spanish-speaking nation of Aztlan that used to be Southern
California and the desert southwest.
In May of 2005 the amount of crude oil pumped out of the ground per day, world
wide, hit a peak which has never been matched, before or since. After 2006
world oil exports went into net decline of around 3.3% per year. The UK North
Sea and Mexico's Cantarell giant oil fields are collapsing already. (Pemex
claims their super giant Cantarell field has seven years of declining
production left before going dry. That's the end of the third largest supplier
of crude to the USA) Demand continues to rise forcing reserves lower and lower.
Transportation fuels will continue to rise in price until, by the next
generation at the very latest, travel will be an expensive luxury enjoyed only
by very few people.
Already increasing fuel costs are making the supply of electrical power more
unstable in numerous places around the globe. South Africa and adjoining
countries face electric energy shortages and outages regularly. Brownouts and
blackouts will become commonplace in the former USA as aging infrastructure
fails and the economic wherewithal to repair it is nowhere to be found. What
little electricity is available will come from aging hydroelectric and
coal-burning plants. With, perhaps, only a few hours a day of reliable
electricity, the Internet will be a luxury. That assumes that computers can
even be found at any price given that transportation costs are so high that
only locally produced goods are affordable.
In two or three generations people from The Republic of Cascadia (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_%28independence_movement%29 ) will have
neither the means nor the inclination to communicate with people from Aztlan,
less than a hundred miles to the south (Goggle MEChA), let alone with the
unimaginably distant New Confederation, or the nation of Vermont. (Goggle Green
This kind of fracturing of English-speaking groups into dozens, if not hundreds
of local regions with little or no mutual communication will, within a
half-dozen generations, produce as many mutually unintelligible dialects of
what used to be English. This is especially true since as North America slips
into third-world status, or worse, literacy will fall to 50% or less.
For an entirely plausible look at how this might all unfold read
And none of this takes into account the vast socio-political upheavals and mass
dislocations caused by global climate change in the next fifty to a hundred