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#1 2008-05-21 04:47:07

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: New language for Mars?

Does anyone think that there would be any value in having an entirely new language for the Mars civilisation?

I think my own answer is no. I would settle for English which has become (and will in my view remain) the lingua franca of Earth.

However, it is an interesting question and I can see some arguments for it as a way of creating a new identity and social solidarity.

I can only think of one instance where a new language has successfully been adopted somewhere in the world on a voluntary basis and that is Modern Hebrew in Israel. Although most people who emigrated to Israel were not Hebrew speakers, they nevertheless were familiar with many ancient Hebrew terms, so it had a cultural platform from which to work.

If a new language were to be created for Mars I think it should be
entirely new. We would have linguists work on a melded version of all the main earth languages in terms of phonemes they use. Then, perhaps try and develop a "rational" use of roots and stems. Eg. If the root word for "me" was say "zu", and "body" was "bay" and "extension" was "ho" and high was "fee" then for "my arm" it might be fee-ho-bay-zu maybe spelt Fehobazu (high-extension-body-me).  Whereas leg using "gon" for low would be Gonhobazu.  If you is "tu", then "your arm" would be "Fehobatu" and "your leg" would be "Gonhobatu". 

Fun but ultimately a bit pointless!


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2008-05-21 09:17:33

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: New language for Mars?

that would be stupid and inefficient,

the language of Mars will be whatever languages the majority of the martian population speak.

if we to impose a made up language, probably esperanto

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#3 2008-05-21 12:50:24

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: New language for Mars?

Yes - but nothing is more inefficient and potentially dangerous than people not sharing the same language - that's what has slowed up the new Airbus production in effect, because the computers in France and Germany are not speaking in a common language.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2008-05-23 14:33:37

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: New language for Mars?

I would agree with esperanto, because it is more or less international, unnational


-Josh

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#5 2008-05-23 17:33:48

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: New language for Mars?

Jumpboy -

Esperanto? It's very Euro-latin-centric. Complete ignores African, Chinese and Indian languages.

It's not that easy to learn either, being so inflected and is no more rational than most languages.

I see no reason to opt for Esperanto which is spoken by hardly anyone in any case. Better to start afresh if it were to be attempted.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#6 2014-02-04 08:01:39

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,304
Website

Re: New language for Mars?

Why not let a thousand tongues bloom? tongue There will be plenty of micronations around, once colonisation gets into full swing.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#7 2014-03-30 09:36:48

martienne
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From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Re: New language for Mars?

louis wrote:

Jumpboy -

Esperanto? It's very Euro-latin-centric. Complete ignores African, Chinese and Indian languages.

It's not that easy to learn either, being so inflected and is no more rational than most languages.

Esperanto is really popular in Asia nevertheless. That's where it's growing the fastest. China, Central Asia, Vietnam, Korea (both) according to the Esperanto mag recently.

Learning Esperanto is 1/5 of the effort of learning English, for the same level of fluency.
There is a LOT of effort wasted towards learning English, then perfecting it. A natively English speaking scientist never has to waste all that effort but can get straight at writing his scientific paper and read whatever material without the effort.

English has irregular grammar, peculiar expressions and completely inconsistent spelling rules.

And I am certainly not supporting Russian, Chinese, French, German or any other existing language because each of these have their drawback too.

I know it's a pipe dream, but Esperanto would have been a much better choice. And it's a breeze to learn compared with English, trust me.

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#8 2014-03-30 10:06:56

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: New language for Mars?

Martienne, would I be correct in asserting that you are a native French speaker (based Martienne being French for Martian)?

If so, you do perhaps have a leg up on most of the rest of the world's people when it comes to learning Esperanto, insofar as many of the words are based on romance languages.  Having said that, this is as much a strength as a weakness because Romance languages are the most widely spoken language family on Earth.

Meanwhile, Martienne was correct in stating that Esperanto is easier to learn than any natural language.  The reason for this is that there are no complicated grammatical structures:  Verb tenses are reviewed here.  You will see that only six tenses are pretty much sufficient to say anything you would need to.  There is no very conjugation in Esperanto.  The various forms of "esti", to be:

mi estas, vi estas, hi/sxi/li estas, ni estas, vi estas, ili estas

There are no exceptions to any grammatical rule in esperanto.  Gxi estas lingvo tre bona kaj mi pensas ke gxi estas eventualon ke ili uzos sur Marzo.
Cxu vi estas esperantisto, Martienne?


-Josh

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#9 2014-03-30 11:11:10

martienne
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From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Re: New language for Mars?

Hi Josh, no, I can get by in French but it is not my native language. The nick just popped into my head, I couldn't think of anything good, Only expresses gender and my long fascination with Mars. Plus, I feel like Martian sometimes, lol a fish out of water.

As for Esperanto, I did a course on it in school and it was a lot of fun. Some very cool people around the world were into it, it's a very, very nice and positive movement.

The problem was, as you say - it really blurs into other languages, like French for example - and I needed to learn several "real" languages, so it quickly got too much. Esperanto was just a club, so I dropped it after a while.

Recently I decided to take it up as a hobby after I came across the Esperanto magazine by chance. So it was very cool to see it mentioned here.

I understand the question, but I'll respond in English. What about yourself you like it too?

I really think it would be fresh and cool for Mars - acknowledging that Mars is not an outpost of the any one country, region or worldview, but of something very international, and that among the first colonists there is not one group that constantly has to speak a foreign language, while others continue to speak their native language.

There is apparently another constructed language that is more "international" and less European, perhaps that would be fairer, however Esperanto has a much bigger following and something of its own culture.

Another aspect of all this: Even if English is choosen, then among the permanent inhabitants of Mars, I think there'd be plenty of new vocabulary and slang that did not exist on Earth, since the lifestyle and landscape is so different!
Plus, with an international crew, the standard of English would not necessarily improve if it's not the mother tongue of the majority. Any children born there would probably not speak it with either a British or US accent.

louis wrote:

I can only think of one instance where a new language has successfully been adopted somewhere in the world on a voluntary basis and that is Modern Hebrew in Israel. Although most people who emigrated to Israel were not Hebrew speakers, they nevertheless were familiar with many ancient Hebrew terms, so it had a cultural platform from which to work.

Nice comment! That's a really good and interesting example. I don't *think* the early settlers in Israel had any other second language in common though, possibly Hebrew was the closest?
My limited understanding is that the majority spoke either Russian, Polish, German or Yiddish. No idea as to whether most of them knew some Hebrew before, or not! But what a project, and what idealism! I really admire that aspect of Israel.

You really have to wonder how they had time to learn Hebrew with everything that was going on there in the early days of the country. Of course, it glues them together too!

Imagine if they had picked German or Russian, just because the majority of them could speak either one of those, and because they couldn't be bothered with the effort of Hebrew. They were really visionairies and idealists.

Last edited by martienne (2014-03-30 11:23:03)

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#10 2014-03-30 11:36:54

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: New language for Mars?

Fair enough.  I'm often asked if I'm from the US state of New Hampshire; In fact, the NH4H in my username references Ammonium Hydride, a nonexistent chemical compound that would be a fantastic rocket fuel if it did exist.

If you would like a language that is truly culture-neutral, there's Lojban.  It's newer than Esperanto and it's claimed to be more logical, but by the same token it's also harder to learn because it is not based on any language.

I learned it over a summer a couple years ago.  My knowledge was never complete and I have since forgotten some (As well as, most unfortunately, losing the book from which I learned it), but I still love the language.  It feels like a natural language when speaking it, does it not?

As a language, English is not better than any other language; However, at the present time it is the international standard for communication.  I would expect Mars to be rather like New York City in some respects: You go to Chinatown and hear Mandarin and Cantonese.  Twenty minutes on the subway and you're in Washington Heights, surrounded by people speaking Spanish.  Drive down to Brighton Beach and you hear Russian and Polish.  Take the Long Island Esperessway to Queens and you'll hear Korean and Japanese.  Drive back to Brooklyn and up Atlantic Ave and you'll see Arabic, Japanese, Portugese, Hindi, Swahili, Greek, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, and even Yiddish and Hebrew on stores and buses.  Walk down the busier streets or get on a bus or subway and you'll see European tourists speaking French and Spanish and Italian and German and other languages that I always try (and usually fail!) to identify.  Meanwhile even among native English speakers each borough and certain ethnicities have different accents, and sometimes even each neighborhood. 

But if you're walking up to a stranger, especially one who is not identifiably a member of your linguistic group, you'll assume that you should speak to them in English because there are more English speakers in the City than anything else and it's the language of commerce.

Fun fact, by the way:  My grandpa's best friend once dated L.L. Zamenhof's granddaughter


-Josh

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#11 2014-03-30 12:10:10

martienne
Member
From: EU
Registered: 2014-03-29
Posts: 146

Re: New language for Mars?

JoshNH4H wrote:

I would expect Mars to be rather like New York City in some respects: You go to Chinatown and hear Mandarin and Cantonese.  Twenty minutes on the subway and you're in Washington Heights, surrounded by people speaking Spanish.  Drive down to Brighton Beach and you hear Russian and Polish.  Take the Long Island Esperessway to Queens and you'll hear Korean and Japanese.  Drive back to Brooklyn and up Atlantic Ave and you'll see Arabic, Japanese, Portugese, Hindi, Swahili, Greek, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, and even Yiddish and Hebrew on stores and buses.  Walk down the busier streets or get on a bus or subway and you'll see European tourists speaking French and Spanish and Italian and German and other languages that I always try (and usually fail!) to identify.  Meanwhile even among native English speakers each borough and certain ethnicities have different accents, and sometimes even each neighborhood.

Hm, I see what you are getting at. Well maybe that's what will happen.

But I would prefer if it was a sort of America style melting pot where all languages and cultures were equal and well mixed, not the groups living in little cliques next to each other, and white Western, English speaking being the norm, and anything else being "Chinatown" or the like. 

Ideally, "when you arrive at Mars you leave your nationality behind, and become a "Martian".
A new start for a new kind of human; scientific, ethical, fair and compassionate. Not a narrowminded person who thinks in terms of nation states, ethnicity, profitability and egoistical concerns.

I am thinking that the first few settlers would be some of the best and brightest from Earth. Extremely smart and well educated (you'd have to be, to join a science program, wouldn't you), adventurous, curious and hopefully idealistic.
I think some of the emigrants to North America had some of those qualities and perhaps that explains parts of how the US grew successful.

But to continue with the language of British imperialism, or the US and its various endeavours over the last few decades.. Well just seems like extending the same system of society to a new planet. 

I hope Mars will become something better and more enlightened. Perhaps that's a pipedream, and Mars could never be any more than a scientific research station or some kind of mining community. But one can dream!

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#12 2014-03-30 12:37:20

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: New language for Mars?

While the melting pot is a wonderful ideal, and one which I think we as a country really do try to live up to, we have never completely done so.  The existence of ethnically distinct neighborhoods in this country is not new and goes back a long time.  Typically it's the second generation that integrates fully while the first often self-segregates, at least to some degree, for economic and cultural reasons.  We do all participate in the same institutions, however, and from coast to coast we are all American.  It's really surprising to me, sometimes how a nation can be so diverse and so homogeneous at the same time.

I would expect that Mars would be more communal than anywhere on Earth, and this will certainly help to forge a single Martian identity out of all of Earth's nationalities.  It won't happen instantaneously, though, and no matter how interlinked people from different places are I would expect them to bond both with those of similar origin and with others in two relatively separate groups.


-Josh

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#13 2014-03-30 17:37:28

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: New language for Mars?

JoshNH4H wrote:

While the melting pot is a wonderful ideal, and one which I think we as a country really do try to live up to, we have never completely done so.  The existence of ethnically distinct neighborhoods in this country is not new and goes back a long time.  Typically it's the second generation that integrates fully while the first often self-segregates, at least to some degree, for economic and cultural reasons.  We do all participate in the same institutions, however, and from coast to coast we are all American.  It's really surprising to me, sometimes how a nation can be so diverse and so homogeneous at the same time.

I would expect that Mars would be more communal than anywhere on Earth, and this will certainly help to forge a single Martian identity out of all of Earth's nationalities.  It won't happen instantaneously, though, and no matter how interlinked people from different places are I would expect them to bond both with those of similar origin and with others in two relatively separate groups.

New arrivals keep on showing up, that is how the ethnic neighborhoods maintain themselves.

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#14 2014-03-30 17:48:17

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: New language for Mars?

^In fact, 36% of the population of NYC is foreign born. 

Of course the neighborhoods do change quickly.  Little Italy (in Manhattan), for example, is not all that Italian anymore, and what Italians are left are Italian Americans.  The Bronx and Harlem are at least as hispanic as they are black, white yuppies and hipsters are moving into formerly black/hasidic areas in north Brooklyn, Queens is increasingly Asian (Less than 20% of people in Flushing speak English at home).  Meanwhile the non-hasidic jews are moving out of South and Central Brooklyn to North Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Suburbs, and upper-middle class suburbanites are moving in.  The lower-east side used to be filled with tenements that were German, then Irish, then Italian, then Eastern European and Jewish, and have slowly turned into all of the diverse neighborhoods we see today.

Edit:  In case you haven't noticed, I'm Jewish so I know more about where Jewish people live than anything else.

Also in case you haven't noticed, I know absolutely nothing about Staten Island except that it should be in New Jersey.


-Josh

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#15 2014-03-31 05:01:34

Glandu
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From: France
Registered: 2011-11-23
Posts: 106

Re: New language for Mars?

IMHO, it's rather tough to control what language people speak. Usefulness usually precedes standard. I know it from near because I'm french, my wife is polish, & we speak together in english. that is, each year God makes, the "english" is more & more polluted by Polish or french words, or even sentence structures. My own daughter is perfectly biligual, yet clueless in english(age 6).

Therefore I've read quite a few books on the topic, and my uneducated guess is that there will be a local pidgin for Martians, a kind of mix between origin languages, plus new words specific to local conditions. Later it should evolve in a creole, and, finally, after a few centuries, in a full language, as wicked as current ones. I don't believe in a standardized, simple language like esperanto, for the very reason that useful languages evolve as quick as their environment. Whatever the original language.


"I promise not to exclude from consideration any idea based on its source, but to consider ideas across schools and heritages in order to find the ones that best suit the current situation." (Alistair Cockburn, Oath of Non-Allegiance)

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#16 2014-03-31 16:29:32

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: New language for Mars?

Glandu wrote:

IMHO, it's rather tough to control what language people speak. Usefulness usually precedes standard. I know it from near because I'm french, my wife is polish, & we speak together in english. that is, each year God makes, the "english" is more & more polluted by Polish or french words, or even sentence structures. My own daughter is perfectly biligual, yet clueless in english(age 6).

Therefore I've read quite a few books on the topic, and my uneducated guess is that there will be a local pidgin for Martians, a kind of mix between origin languages, plus new words specific to local conditions. Later it should evolve in a creole, and, finally, after a few centuries, in a full language, as wicked as current ones. I don't believe in a standardized, simple language like esperanto, for the very reason that useful languages evolve as quick as their environment. Whatever the original language.

You can work it both ways. My grandmother was beaten at school for speaking her home language in school.  The state can have a big effect on what languages are spoken.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#17 2014-11-12 12:30:58

Quaoar
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Registered: 2013-12-13
Posts: 489

Re: New language for Mars?

JoshNH4H wrote:

I would agree with esperanto, because it is more or less international, unnational

Why Esperanto? It's an absurd language created by an ophtalmologist. Sindarin is a far better language, created by a linguist. Even Klingon is better than Esperanto: why not adopt it for Mars colonists?

Last edited by Quaoar (2014-11-12 12:31:46)

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#18 2014-11-12 12:59:48

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,149
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Re: New language for Mars?

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#19 2014-11-13 12:05:34

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,304
Website

Re: New language for Mars?

Some kind of simplified language would be useful to have, though not for everyday use - people have their own languages for that. But such a language, easy to learn and useful as a common tongue, is probably emerging at the moment from business english...

I do like the creation of new languages, though. Maybe one language isn't enough, much like how one computer language won't be optimised for everything. Maybe we need to have multiple languages in our toolkit - they *are* tools, after all. I want to speak one that is based around things being spectrums rather than binaries, waves as opposed to particles. That would prove useful I think.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#20 2017-10-12 19:24:57

Komiyama
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From: Earth
Registered: 2017-10-12
Posts: 8

Re: New language for Mars?

Initially, I was in favour of something like Esperanto, but after reading some of the comments in this thread, maybe not so much now. English would be the obvious answer, but as others have noted, it comes with a sense of parochialism. That being said, trying to invent a new language would be a waste of time when there will be more important things to focus on for first-gen Martians. It's not without its faults, but I think English would be best and most efficient. In time, no doubt, it will evolve into something like Martian English.
Now, with all that being said, one shouldn't be discouraged from speaking their native Earth language in a non-official environment.


Earthling. Unprofessional writer. Bromancer.

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#21 2017-10-13 16:27:53

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: New language for Mars?

I think English is the best solution.  It is the language of nearly all international conferences. Of course people can still  speak their home language with others who speak the same language.  There should be no language oppression on Mars.

Whether Mars English and Earth English will diverge significantly is an interesting question. I doubt it. I think there will be so much cultural interaction that it will be a bit like American English and British English - pretty close with only occasional crises of comprehension.

Komiyama wrote:

Initially, I was in favour of something like Esperanto, but after reading some of the comments in this thread, maybe not so much now. English would be the obvious answer, but as others have noted, it comes with a sense of parochialism. That being said, trying to invent a new language would be a waste of time when there will be more important things to focus on for first-gen Martians. It's not without its faults, but I think English would be best and most efficient. In time, no doubt, it will evolve into something like Martian English.
Now, with all that being said, one shouldn't be discouraged from speaking their native Earth language in a non-official environment.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#22 2017-10-15 03:24:26

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,269

Re: New language for Mars?

Whatever language the manual on how to keep the power reactor running will automatically be the default language. Everything else is just poetry.

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