The most straightforward and most laborious way to cross the language gap is to learn another language, and translate for others who don’t speak it. History says this work is so arduous that humankind doesn’t keep it up for long.
My help in this post is a book called Empires of the Word – A Language History of the World, written by British linguist Nicholas Ostler. In this book, he studies languages that prevailed over large areas for significant periods in human history. Ostler’s book is a quest to find out why and how those languages prevailed while others didn’t, and how they lost their significance over time (if that happened). Continue reading
This blog is about language and technology. Not language technology, although at first I plan to explore what people dreamed up and crafted through history to bring down language barriers. Hence the title ‘Dreamers and doers’ – I see development as a whirlwind where dreams and actions endlessly spin around each other. Later, we might also look at how language influenced the development of technology (or if we can talk about development at all), but first, let’s just think of this:
Language has immense power: to name things. Once you can name things, you can talk to others about it, and then several people together might even create them. Just think: humans, through language, can name things that don’t exist in the physical world – and the moment you name one such thing it is brought into existence. Maybe not in a tangible form, but it will exist.