(MF*$^#^ HTML removed) [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.