2008/1/4, [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>:
> (MF*$^#^ HTML removed)

Put it back in just for you. *^^*

> [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.

I wasn't talking about changing the languages though - the first step would be to change redundant vocabulary, but keeping the spelling exactly the same. After that users could opt to change the orthography somewhat in accordance with their native tongue, which is where the consonant shift would come in. It wouldn't involve changing the source though, just a type of screen for individual users on top of removing the redundant words.

> >       -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.

I'm talking about companies that work in English, that would have access to a tool that makes their correspondences easier to understand. You already see language restrictions in aerospace companies today (I don't remember which one but we've talked about it here before), so it's certainly not far-fetched. Plus it would be a free tool, just a script.

> 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.
I've seen it too. It's kind of sad when that happens.