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Nik Taylor wrote:

> Well, I don't think natlangs can be classed as superior or inferior,
> without specifying a qualifier (e.g., "superior for discussing
> technological concepts"), for example "primitive" languages - by which I
> mean languages spoken by people with primitive technology, are inferior
> at discussing computers than English.

Even qualified, these sound like you're heading down a slippery slope.
Your first 'primitive' (as in "primitive" language) is politically
correctly placed in quotes, but the 'primitive' in 'primitive
technology' (and, gee, what cultures and/or races could be described as
having "primitive technology"?) stands glaringly unmarked as does the
following 'inferior'. Inferior to what? Inferior to English (and, gee,
who speaks English?). And why? Because we can discuss computers
(implication: industrial/info-tech societies are superior). Now I'm not
trying to throw racist/supremist aspersions your way - you undoubtedly
*meant* to mention that English was inferior to the "primitive" language
in discussing the curative powers of the local flora :) - but I am
trying to point out the perils of heading down such a path. I think
Raymond and Shaul are quite justified in their concerns.

> But, let me put this out to the list: If God has a language, would not
> that language be superior to all human languages?

Presuming it would even fall within our normally accepted definition of
what "language" is.

> Probably impossible
> for a human to learn, but still it would be superior.  That's what I was
> getting at earlier, the concept of a language being superior is valid,
> IMVHO.

Well, sure, as a concept. But the concept of the perfect person, the
superior person, the U"bermensch is also valid (and culturally
delimited). Great philosophical treatises employ the concept. The
pitfall lies in the fact that people will apply this label to themselves
which, by definition, implies that "others" are a little
less-than-superior. We've seen the consequences of that mindset.

>However, natlangs are all roughly equal, and I doubt if any
> human being has the capacity to exceed natlangs, so the whole discussion
> is kinda moot.

Moot, but with far-reaching implications, which is why, I think, it has
generated so many thoughtful responses.

Kou