Friday, July 25, 2008

English Language - sorta

The following is a response to an on-going debate I have with a friend who seems to think that certain government mandates are contributing to the downfall of every culturally native language except English. He also states that English should not be the main language in America, as other countries make up America, i.e. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, etc. He proceeds to quote PhD holders from UCLA to back-up that English is not the only "living language", and should not be the only one used. So, I quoted the books I had from people that were NOT PhD holders. My argument is the following response:

"I don't know if you're agreeing or disagreeing, so I'll put it another way ... languages have survived without governments, and if someone wants to use "government" as a crutch that "all" languages survive or die, that's poppycock. I'm not going to learn 15 different languages so that I can speak with my neighbors, but if you move here from another country then you better damn well learn English. (Just as I would have to learn a native language if I moved to another country). Or, as an aside, I would learn their language as secondary to my English.

Lingua Franca – Norman French hybrid language (Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, etc.) English is considered to be the first global lingua franca. I have no use for PhD pedantry that can otherwise be proved by the history of formulated usage. "Living language" is used as a metaphor for something still in use and continually changing. Something evolves from nothing but a quick fix for words stemming from a group of certain cultures in order to communicate. English has metamorphed its phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, and intonation theories into one that is a rapidly rising global standard. David Crystal (Patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and David Graddol are (knighted British) pioneers in sociolinguistics regarding this global change. (In case the folks over at UCLA forgot where modern English came from - it's from the Brits and Old English). 83% of English vocabulary is Germanic in origin. (Brought by the Romans who swept through NW Germany, which also encompassed Norman French and Spain and also encompassing their native Latin) – (A Grammar of Proto-Germanic - Jonathan Slocum and Winfred P. Lehmann.) That being said, the rest of the percentages are made up of French, Latin, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Greek, and a small percentage that is of unknown origin (Origins of English Language - Joseph Williams). (Police is a French origin word, yacht is a Danish word, computer (der Komputor) is a German word).

(Native languages of Britain before the Romans arrived, I'll save for another story.)

Pidgin Language – language created under stressful times that evolve over time (Creole, for instance, or your Mussolini anecdote). The unknown percentage of the evolution of modern English can be explained as words created from a pidgin language. Slaves often developed their own language. (Monolingualism of the Other - Jacques Derrida).

Latin, (from Latium along the Tiber River), is considered by many a dead language. However, it is still in use in the Roman Catholic Church, but nowhere else. Either way, it hasn't evolved – (wordsmithing here) – not a living language. Sanskrit is a precursor of Greek and Latin and Avestan (Zoroastrian) is an early relative of Persian (Sir William Jones). Both of these languages gave Greek and Latin words, but not structure, according to modern philology. Neither are used in their original forms, (although studied purely for their linguistic historical importance), and are considered dead languages. (By your PhD arguments, studying a language is keeping it alive, as the people who study it also speak it.) When English evolved from the above statements, the English language gave structure to these words – and the structure has changed since it's humble beginnings. (The Indo-European Dialects - Antoine Meillet). (The Discovery of Language - Holgar Pederson).

So, with all that said, it looks like to me that borrowings are the ONLY way a language changes, and thus, survives. It's BECAUSE the English langauge has borrowed that it survives by changing and adapting unlike any other language.

My great-grandparents, whom came here legally, did not speak a lick of English when they arrived here. But, they did instill in their children that German was not to be spoken at home, only English, in order to communicate and live in this New Country. I'm sick and tired of not being able to communicate with the amalgam of Spanish speakers at my school because they REFUSE to speak English.

No one is stating that native languages be lost, rather, English should be the one everyone speaks IN ADDITION TO their native language, whatever that may be.

Also, last time I checked, our Constitution was written in English, not a little bit of this and a little bit of that from the rest of "America"".

Original Posting

Respect is taken, when respect is given ...

Namaste and Slainte

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Xeno Paradox of Life

""The Tortoise challenged Achilles to a race, claiming that he would win as long as Achilles gave him a small head start. Achilles laughed at this, for of course he was a mighty warrior and swift of foot, whereas the Tortoise was heavy and slow.
"How big a head start do you need?" he asked the Tortoise with a smile.
"Ten meters," the latter replied.
Achilles laughed louder than ever. "You will surely lose, my friend, in that case," he told the Tortoise, "but let us race, if you wish it."
"On the contrary," said the Tortoise, "I will win, and I can prove it to you by a simple argument."
"Go on then," Achilles replied, with less confidence than he felt before. He knew he was the superior athlete, but he also knew the Tortoise had the sharper wits, and he had lost many a bewildering argument with him before this.
"Suppose," began the Tortoise, "that you give me a 10-meter head start. Would you say that you could cover that 10 meters between us very quickly?"
"Very quickly," Achilles affirmed.
"And in that time, how far should I have gone, do you think?"
"Perhaps a meter – no more," said Achilles after a moment's thought.
"Very well," replied the Tortoise, "so now there is a meter between us. And you would catch up that distance very quickly?"
"Very quickly indeed!"
"And yet, in that time I shall have gone a little way farther, so that now you must catch that distance up, yes?"
"Ye-es," said Achilles slowly.
"And while you are doing so, I shall have gone a little way farther, so that you must then catch up the new distance," the Tortoise continued smoothly.
Achilles said nothing.
"And so you see, in each moment you must be catching up the distance between us, and yet I – at the same time – will be adding a new distance, however small, for you to catch up again."
"Indeed, it must be so," said Achilles wearily.
"And so you can never catch up," the Tortoise concluded sympathetically.
"You are right, as always," said Achilles sadly – and conceded the race.""

One could say that life is just like this race. Everytime we feel like we get caught up on something, something else comes along and puts us back a little bit farther. There is no way to catch up to where we need or want to be, thus stays the paradox.

While the calculus method of handling infinite sequences may solve the distance problem, and quantum physics solves the mark between two points, there is the philosophical answer to the paradox: keep going, try something new, and never give up.

I've tried to fill my life with as many eclectic paths as possible. I travel down each one for a short bit of time, until I catch up as much as I can, and turn toward a different direction. This helps keep the mind free and open. My gambit is the possibility of sacrificing certain aspects that some people may find offensive, in that not enough time is spent in one area, and too much in another.

My life "To-Do List: is as follows:

*To write a Letter of Intent to a high-powered political official
*To finish and publish the 9 books I've started
*To continue to write: poetry, blogs, stories, notes, scribbles, ideas
*To re-build a compressed air engine, and build and adapt a Tesla turbine using recycled compressed air, with gyroscopic encasements/compartments
*To re-build an electric engine using Xenon and a friction based power source
*To continue to sit on the board of The Thomas Foundation
*To finish work on my un-named community non-profit endowment
*To continue to be culturally open-minded, and non-biased
*To travel to other countries
*To immerse myself in my educational career
*To make people happy with my small business of jewlery making
*To learn as much as possible about psychology and philosophy
*To continue to enjoy my outdoor activities; hiking and camping
*To reduce my meat intake to 15%, and increase vegetarianism to 85%
*To continue to learn and play percussion, tin whistles, and guitar
*To play the song I wrote for my grandma in public
*To continue to meet and greet new people
*To love my two best friends as the real and genuine people that they are
*To continue to protest things that I feel are wrong, and promote things I feel are right
*To continue to love my family, and all the eccentricities we entail
*To be a life partner with the right woman, and have children together
*To continue to learn things I do not know, but want to
*To never lose sight of who I truly am

All of the above I have started, and will continue to work on until the end - but one never truly stops being ones' self, if one passes on knowledge to another ...

I'm a strong believer that all lists should be long, so that everything can be garnered an achievement if tried. I heard it said once "Do or Do Not, There is No Try" - but, if we don't try, nothing can be done ... to try, is to do - to do nothing, is to not try ...

Respect is taken, when respect is given ...

Namaste and Slainte