Establishment of a common language or lingua franca?

(Chris S.) #1

As I have scrolled through the forums and searched through the book dedicated to the cause of Seasteading, I do not believe I have encountered the topic relating to an establishment of a common language among seasteaders. Or perhaps a lingua franca to be used by the community to share and exchange ideas. Now this probably isn’t the first time someone has brought the question up but remains unanswered; should we require new citizens or immigrants to established seasteads to learn the local language or let them live their lives as they would have in their former country? It is suggested that to learn a new language and speak it as natives do it takes around six years of study and interaction to be able to pronounce and use the language in everyday life. If it takes an average person six or so years to become a native speaker and the person trying to integrate into the new society does not want to put forth the effort to learn said skill, what else do they have to offer the community if they are not able to communicate and exchange ideas for the growth of the movement? I know that sounds a little radical but that is something I have been thinking about for a while when families come into my grocery store where I work and not I see families who do not speak a word of English. Need I digress, according to the U.S Census of 2012 took a survey on the English-speaking ability of foreign born in the United Sates ages 5 and older. This survey was broken up into five categories, as seen in Table 1, which were “1) spoke only English at home, or spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English, 2) “very well,” 3) “well,” 4) “not well,” or 5) “not at all.” And of this consensus it was determined that half of the nationwide population of foreign born determined that they spoke English in the categories of less that “very well”. Now if we take into context that there is no way of fact checking these findings as they are personal reports it is unknown what the subjects mean as “very well”. Another consensus taken that same year, Figure 6, of language spoken at home and English-speaking ability of the Foreign-Born Population by Educational Attainment: 2012. Those of foreign birth who have at least “Some College” education have an English-speaking ability or “very well” which can be expected of the English specific curriculum. As I finish my post I was wondering if any of you have any ideas about the implementation of a common language or use of a lingua franca for an easy way to communicate and the exchange ideas. Maybe we could hire translators who translate and help those of foreign decent acquire their new society’s language and culture? I am open to hearing your thoughts about the subject.


(Larry G) #2

You have just pointed out the difficulty of learning to use a new language with native facility. So I don’t think there is any ‘easy’ way to guarantee a lingua franca that all parties have equal ability to use, other than recruiting from a specific ethnic group. And then there are visitors, not part of your seastead, who may need accomodation for reasons of trade and tourism.

I think this is the kind of thing that works itself out. Definitely making everyone learn and artificial language like Esperanto does not appeal to me.

(Bob LLewellyn) #3

Not just for seasteaders but a common language for the world. It would help with tourism if everywhere they went, they could understand what is said. It would help with airline and oceanic travel as well as emergencies. This one idea would save lives, help prevent wars and make research more available to everyone.

The website is down now but the fund raising page still exists.

Like seasteading, it’s an idea whose timing isn’t quite here yet.

(.) #4

Translation can be done by computers. There are common denominators between humans that
transcend the use of a specific language. This is not apparent to most of those who speak only
one language.

It might happen, that English is not going to be the dominant language and culture of seasteading.
Right now, and right here on this forum , it is requested that members post on English language.
The official language in French Polynesia is French. In the Memorandum of Understanding between
TSI (The Seasteading Institute) and the government of FP (French Polynesia) states, that if there
is a translation difference in the documents between French and English, the French language

" I am open to hearing your thoughts about the subject." = yes, I guess as long as it is on English
language. On what other languages are you open to listen to my ideas?

So far most people speak Chinese.

After all, English is a good language. I always wanted to learn English.

(Bob LLewellyn) #7

Good for what? English is my native language, every year of school, I had to take English. When I got to collage, guess what, more English. Any language that is that difficult, should not just be eliminated from being an international language but should be restricted to England.

Any world language would have to be easy for everyone to learn and not be already identified with any one group of people. All languages to date are accidental but the universal language will be intentionally developed along with natural human lingual traits. No male tables and female chairs. Everything is neutral except living beings. We have linguistics people that love to make up their own languages like Klingon as an example.

We used to have a type of universal language and we can still understand what the writers intended, they used pictures. Those pictures stood for an idea just as words do. They learned to communicate over time while we can’t talk to most of the world. I would like to think that we could be a little more advanced than that.

English, that language that gives you the letter C, which has no sound of its own but sounds like K in cat, like S in city, like two letters ch in church and sh as in Chicago. English was forced on me by my mother but I would not wish it upon anyone else.

(.) #8

Well, if you do not know what English language is good for, then you can stop using it.

(Bob LLewellyn) #9

:roll_eyes: if that could only be.

(.) #11

Multiple times I had been in situations where I could not communicate verbally with
people around me. I got used to this. My comfort level around people is independent of a common
language. The comfort level, for me, depends more on non verbal common denominators.
I get along with the deaf mutes too. I learned sign language. I learned some Spanish and Tagalog, and I have never been to Spain nor the Philippines yet.

To me the word “establishment” l, it does not ring well.
So anyways, I am planning to establish kelp harvest first.

(Josée Lepage) #12

Aaaahhhh! As quebecer, relation about french/english speakers and wich one is more accomodated for immigrants is a topic always on the front! Happy you brought that point.
Maybe we could go on with application of télépathique theories on seasteading?!! Just to bring the subject somewhere else :wink: because it is a sensible topic.

(Bob LLewellyn) #13

I believe that it was the French government that proposed dropping the gender article and using a gender neutral one. I agree that learning a language is tough enough without trying to remember if the couch is masculine or feminine.

However, that won’t change the world but if everyone was taught “Terren” as a second language in school, everyone could communicate with anyone else any where else in the world. (

If they can talk, maybe they can talk things out instead of fighting.

(Kat) #14

I completely agree that the issue of languages is critical and needs to be solved now, or you’ll end up with something like the U.N. and it’s myriad of official and working languages and the incredible amount of energy and money and time that’s poured into translations. I’m keeping in mind that machine translation is going to keep improving, and can be used to automate a lot of the basic language tasks, but I think it would be unwise to depend on it.

But I think you might have a problem if you want to try to replace a national language with some other national language. National languages carry baggage (historical, cultural, ideological), and most of them (not all, but most) carry such a high mental overhead in terms of grammar, vocabulary, and grammatical exceptions that it’s just, well, hard to learn a new language, especially if that’s not really your passion. People who are born to the language will have a natural advantage – people born on top of the mountain (whether it be a sharp, high peak like English or Chinese or a gentler slope like, say, Spanish) are already there, and the rest of us have to climb this peak.

Granted, I think that Seasteaders would have more motivation than most to do it. But I doubt that the people who are going to be able to afford this (at least in the beginning) are going to be inclined to put all that effort into learning a new language, even if we can avoid the standard arguments that boil down to “how very dare you insist that your language better as a common language than my language”.

An alternative would be to have an auxiliary language: everyone continues to speak their own languages, but has an easy-to-learn “hip pocket” language that they can pull out of their pocket when they encounter someone who doesn’t speak their own language. This is what Esperanto was designed to do, and it is demonstrably easier to learn than “natural” (national) languages. Lots of people poo-poo it, saying things like “it’s a dead language” (not true), or “we already have an international language, it’s English” (I’d argue that, China notwithstanding, what I call “Scripted English” is a better name for the “English” that is “international”), but it’s insanely flexible, rapidly acquired, and useful. Plus, since it’s artificial, it doesn’t have the same cultural baggage as a national language.

In short, if Seasteaders are really serious about having a common language, give Esperanto a try.

(Bob LLewellyn) #15

Admittedly, it would be easier to get started because Esperanto already has speakers, I think a whole island full. But I still think we miss the opportunity of developing a more perfect language as a base of a new era. When new technology was developed, it took on the name in the language of it’s creation.

This adds a lot of scribble to Esperanto itself. But if this world language was developed by, lets say the UN, then new technology would be named in the language of Earth, Terren, (From the scifi writers’ name for Earth.) then the language could remain pure. With a unified language that is taught at all the schools as a second language, people would be citizens of their own country, speaking their own native language, keeping their heritage alive. They would also become citizens of the world with its own language, developing a more unified culture rather than a culture of war and conflict.

If that were available, I would learn it and encourage all seasteaders to do the same. It would only make sense as children of the sea, the whole Earth is our home. We should have as our native language, the language of the whole Earth.

Another already developed language that has no current affiliations is Latin. With some modifications, like adding the number zero, it could be developed to do the job. It won’t be pure but I guess we can’t have everything.

(Chad Elwartowski) #17

Stopped there.

How would you require it? Guns? How much money will the jail cost for those that don’t comply? How much will you be taking from people to pay for that jail? How will you require people to pay for it? Guns? How much money will the jail cost for those that don’t comply?..etc.

Who is the victim of this crime?

(.) #18

At the place, where I got stopped is “…should we require…”.
Who are the “we”? On the highs seas, who can require anything from anybody?
The high seas are sovereign area and the seasteaders would be sovereign beings.
The requirements are set by natural laws, like ocean waves, weather patterns, … etc.

But, I do not want to rain on anybodies parade. The parade can go on, I will watch it.

(.) #19

Esperanto is OK with me. I learned a bit in childhood.
In high school I took 4 years of Latin language too, so I have a bit of understanding of it.
English, well, I can speak a little bit of it.
I also speak, read and write Russian.

Make your recommendations, go ahead, make my day!

(Bill Noyb) #20

I think y’all have gotten yourselves into a blind alley with the issue of one language or another. In a multicultural society, especially one devoted to liberty, you should recognize the value of learning to speak multiple llanguages, even in a less than fluent way. Language conceptualizes thought, and the more different ways we can express things, the more opportunity for innovation.

(.) #21

Hi Bob, What other languages and/or cultures do you understand?

(.) #22

“… lingua franca…” that’s not English

(Bob LLewellyn) #23

Spanish a little. However my spelling deficiency carries over to Spanish as well. I can read it, speak and understand poorly but writing is still a problem. I don’t feel that bad about about my spelling problem though because they invented the spell check and I read and understand math very well.

I lived in Nicaragua for two years, working on a real estate deal. I love Belize and the Caribbean way of life. I will miss it.

(.) #24

Yes, well, I meant Bill, but nevermind.