What if, in a twist of irony, incorporating multiple vocabulary and grammatical elements from multiple language systems, in what we Malaysians call ‘rojak’ (mixed), actually helps to preserve the individual source languages, instead of destroying them?
What if such an elaborate collage of languages were to be the key uniting lingua franca, not merely shoving down specific language lessons down your throat for the sake of a holiday? What if instead of expecting a certain language dominance, we absorb and develop a new language system based on existing contemporary languages?
Bilingualism will still be crucial to maintain identity of self, as native languages, dialects, accents, and context will still be crucial within a community or region. The new language, however, will hopefully be much easier to pick up as it would appear much less alien, having integrated enough linguistic and cultural elements into a condensed system that indirectly teaches us how we might share common aspirations in communication.
Think of it as a thickening of the Thesaurus, with nouns, adjectives, and verbs being interchangeable between cultures. Again, the native individual tongue is preserved, and the inclusion of multiple worlds of languages might actually open the door for all of us to welcome, appreciate, and even learn in depth about other cultures outside our own.
It’s like what English is trying to do, but more. Like Marco Polo instead of Christopher Columbus. Learning and embracing local cultures, rather than merely picking up whatever is convenient for economic purposes. Instead of leaving the locals looking puzzled thinking you’re smarter just because you speak in an unfamiliar language, it might be less hostile to our intellect to organize a discussion on how the local tongues might fit into the new lingua franca, and in the process, exchange ideas and cultural perspectives between the larger human community and the regional micro-climates of culture.
The language systems we use now are products of thousands of years of trade by ship and carriage. Morse Code was conceived with the invention of the telegraph, but that’s just binary representation of alphabet systems. Since then we have developed computer languages for ease of communication with electronics. With the internet, it is possible to devise an upgrade of the human language. Sites like Urban Dictionary help to collect vocabulary, while Rap Genius offers in depth analysis of the English language made richer with Rap’s tendencies to be playful with efficient and condensed communication of meaning.
Collect, analyze, integrate, update. Much like dictionary systems in place today, only online, mobile, and in real time.
It might be linguistic hell to achieve, and it will take more than a few decades of research and discussions to get a practical basis. However, the main point is embracing our differences and our own identities. Rather than isolating each other in islands of language, we’ll have a solid and open network of islands instead.
Enforcing bilingualism would not be easy, unless the two languages share similarities that educators(humans or AI) can utilize to help with understanding. Multilingualism would be a luxury of the mind to achieve as it already is today, yet we can’t ignore the need to adapt to at least one more language than our own to thrive in the 21st century.
It is more or less like the languages we use in computers. The circuitry operates on a core language but communicates with the users(and each other) in different languages, but each merely an extension of the core languages. In this case, we would be doing it the other way around, compiling different human languages into a core language, itself an extension of all other language systems.
Communities would maintain their local languages, and the high level of integration of that local tongues into the new language ensures that almost nothing is lost. The native tongues would be much like Latin and Sanskrit being incorporated into English, but maintaining the longevity similar to the Arabic language, by not being forgotten thanks to the borrowed vocabulary. In fact, learning the origins of words could offer valuable insight into any culture or community.
Isolated cultures survive through integration, promoting unity along the way, while still maintaining self identity. That is my vision for this.
What do you think?