Re: OT: Isolation of English Dialects (was Re: THEORY: Anglic languages)
|From:||Peter Collier <petecollier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 23:13|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Gary Shannon" <fiziwig@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:58 PM
Subject: OT: Isolation of English Dialects (was Re: THEORY: Anglic
> There are a number of converging trends which point to scenarios for
> various dialects of English that are not only plausible, but probable.
> [...] the US
> economy is likely to collapse in the not too distant future.
> [...] Balkanization of North America [...].
> [end of oil stocks]
> Transportation fuels will continue to rise in price until, by the next
> generation at the very latest, travel will be an expensive luxury enjoyed
> by very few people.
> [...]Brownouts and
> blackouts will become commonplace [...] the Internet will be a luxury.
> That assumes that computers can
> even be found at any price [...]
> [...] Republic of Cascadia [...] Aztlan [...] nation of Vermont. [...]
> This kind of fracturing of English-speaking groups into dozens, if not
> of local regions with little or no mutual communication will, within a
> half-dozen generations, produce as many mutually unintelligible dialects
> what used to be English. This is especially true since as North America
> into third-world status, or worse, literacy will fall to 50% or less.
> And none of this takes into account the vast socio-political upheavals and
> dislocations caused by global climate change in the next fifty to a
Wow, you don't take the optimistic view then?!
Nothing is ever impossible of course, but I think perhaps some (OK, most) of
those ideas verge on the fatastatical.They overlook some very crucial
points. For example, the power of a state and the lengths to which it it
will go to ensure it endures, coupled with national identity. While
something may or may not happen with Quebec, a widespread balkanisation of
North America is not something that would ever happen while nation states
persist. Much longer term, projects similar to the EU (free trade, freedom
of movement and labour, trans-frontier regional cooperation) might see the
relevance of nation states diminish to the point where they almost become
almost an irrelevvance to their citizens but in that sort of a scenario,
integration would by definition be greater, not less.
Mineral oil stocks will run out eventually, they can't not if we continue to
consume them. However to suggest that's what will happen and the world ends
when it does is bizarre - as if everyone is sitting around doing nothing,
there are no technological advances, and suddenly one day we all wake up and
nothing works. Like someone suggesting in the 18th C that the industrial
revolution was doomed to failure because coal stocks would eventually run
out and then all the steam engines would stop working. I work in this
industry, so I need to have an idea of where things are going. There are
already many alternatives to mineral fuels being used/developed, and even
those machines still powered by them are more efficient than yesteryear.
What I think you will find will happen is that increasng mineral oil prices
(it all boils down to money in the end, after all) and environmental
concerns will spur increased development of other fuels (this is happening
already) which will be increasingly used in place of mineral fuels, and
gradually we'll stop using them together. I suspect in fact we'll stop using
oil for most things long before it runs out (existing known global stocks
can be measured in decades, not years). Think about it - bio-oils and gases,
shale, ethanol, solar, hydrogen, wood pellets, wind, wave, nuclear,
geothermal.... and that's just the stuff we use now.
Brownouts and blackouts? No - for the same reasons as above. Internet a
luxury? You can even buy clockwork laptops these days!
Not that your suggestions don't make for good sci-fi, and provide the basis
for many conlang ideas of course. But I'm afraid my thoughts on the future
of English were too well embedded in the probable, insofar as it can be
discerned from our viewpoint. What the 20/20 hindsight of history will show
of course, is that we were all completely wrong about everything....