Friday, 7 April 2017

Linguistic Change

How will language change?

In A High-Tech Future (Poul Anderson's Technic History)
English shifts enough to become "Anglic" and also becomes the main international language without suppressing the rest.

In A Post-Tech Future (SM Stirling's Emberverse)
"...her fine ear noticed that his accent sounded a little stronger; speech was changing faster than it had in the old days, without national media or recorded sound to stabilize it. Highway 20 connected the Mackenzie territories with the CORA lands around Bend and Sisters, and the two communities were friendly and traded a good deal, but by pre-Change standards they had less contact then America had had with Bolivia back then."
-SM Stirling, A Meeting In Corvallis (New York, 2007), Chapter Thirteen, pp. 360-361.

Technology standardizes and unifies languages.
Post-tech diversifies them quickly.
No media or recorded sounds so people soon speak differently!
It would be too easy to write about a post-tech future without considering that consequence.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    A classic real world example of the kind of linguistic change discussed here is the Roman Empire. Before the Western fell, Latin was one of the two dominant languages of the Empire, west and east. Frequent communication, writing, and traveling helped to keep Latin stable for centuries. But, after the Western Empire fell, Latin started diverging and developing into languages like French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian.

    One of the many flaws in Asimov's FOUNDATION books is how, implausibly, the common language of the First Galactic Empire REMAINED that common language even after it fell. We should have seen new languages starting to arise even before the Great Sack of Trantor.


    1. Sean,
      Very good example: what happened to Latin after the Empire.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      And, of course, "standardized" Latin did continue to survive and was used for many centuries as an international common language by scholars and educated persons. And was used by the Catholic Church as her official and liturgical language.


    3. Sean,
      I am trying to respond to every question or discussion point in current posts. Please let me know if I miss any.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      I try! Altho on some the matters you discuss, such as economics, I feel constrained by my ignorance to not speak too far beyond what I know.