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[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of MacLeod Dave

> ...

> 	-writing: Kazakhstan is planning to switch to the Latin
alphabet within the next decade or so, and that's a good thing
as it'll help facilitate communication between Turkic languages.
Uyghur is another language that could benefit from this. I'm of
the opinion that Persian should switch over to the Latin
alphabet as well since the Arabic alphabet it uses is rather
silly considering its lack of short vowels. There are a whole
host of examples in this area.

I agree that unifying a script would be a step in the right
direction but it seem to be easier said than done.  ISTR hearing
Kazakh had that plan about a decade or so ago so if they aren't
there yet, I'd except it to be much like our conversion to the
metric system in the U.S. which they told us in school would be
in place by 1975.    I also recall reading that Uyghur did
actually try Roman script for a brief period only to return to
Perso-Arabic.  Omniglot has a pretty good overview of script
histories.

>	-vocabulary usage: most people don't know which words in
their language are shared by others. The average English person
doesn't know that water is Wasser and book is Buch, that
international is internazionale and so on. There are also a lot
of redundant or somewhat overlapping words in each language,
such as dog and hound and street and road. It would be
interesting to create a forum with a script that changed what a
person types in their own language into words that are more
easily recognized to others when the word is redundant. It would
make things a bit awkward here and there (since not every dog is
a hound) but it might be an interesting experiment to see how
easy it is to read what other people are writing in their own
language. Some changes to the writing might be possible as well,
so if a user is registered with English as his native language
the German Wasser would change to Water, Dutch zon to son and so
on. On the other hand, a person with German as his native
language would have a screen that changes English help to helf
and so on.

To some extent, this is possible but I wouldn't expect it to
work well beyond a group of related languages.  As you already
mentioned, there will be issues with  cognate words have
different meanings in different languages, even if the
difference is somewhat minor.  The other has to do with inherent
phonological and morphological differences.  Yes, you could make
"wasser" into "water", effectively removing the shifts in
High-German from Low-German, but then you wouldn't have German
any more.  You'd have really just another dialect of
Plattdeutsch.  Then I'd also have to ask, why bother with
"water" as all.  I'd guess "aqua" is more well known.  Then
you'd have to ask how far back you want to take these language
mergers. Taken too far you'll end up with PIE.


>	-There would even be some immediate use for this where a
company could put their correspondences through the tool to make
them a bit more legible to people in another country. It would
be free, and there would be no worries about a weird machine
translation. I guarantee that a great number of companies would
often use this tool if they know it's guaranteed to make their
correspondences that much easier to understand.

Most companies will just rely on hiring employees that know the
current international language, English.

>	-Promotion of language standardization, languages worth
learning and bilingualism - if you're of the opinion that the
languages of the world are eventually going to merge into a big
creole the best thing to do could be promoting an existing
creole. Bislama for example is mostly standardized but the
orthography isn't quite 100% fixed so this is your chance to
promote the one you think is best (probably the most phonetic
one), so you could start a website in the language (forums for
example) that uses the orthography you prefer. Or perhaps the
best way to promote the language is to improve the economy of
the country that uses it (so that people have more time to use
the internet and think about other things besides day to day
life) so that could mean volunteering to build houses in Vanuatu
or somewhere. And of course bilingualism never hurts (it's
usually passed on to your children if you have them) so if
you're Canadian and haven't learned French yet, that might be a
good idea too.

Promoting bilingualism works great if everyone is learning the
same second language.  That's what the whole idea of an auxlang
is about.  No, I don't really think the languages will merge
into a big creole.  I see a new crop of regional English-based
creoles developing over the next couple of generations, and of
course they will be still be on a continuum with standard
English.  As time goes onward, standard English will still be
favored and the creoles will become more like regular English,
though I'd expect English to pick up.

Just learning any second language really doesn't do much unless
you are actually in a position to use and exploit your new
skill.  There's no point in learning French if I'm never going
to France or any other French-speaking part of the world.  I've
studied French, mainly because of my interest in languages, but
rarely have had any real use for it.

As to children, bilingualism is still a controversial issue
because there are claims that it tends to leave them in a
linguistic limbo where a person is functional in both but master
of neither, effectively have either no "primary" language.  I
have seen this first hand so it's something that need careful
consideration.