The Questionable Quest for Linguistic Purity

This post makes another detour from my original topic. Roughly a month ago, after I wrote my last post about romanticism and the place of translation technology in university curricula, I was in for another surprise – which eventually connects to the same train of thought.

Within a week, I saw two articles that lamented about the deterioration or even the eventual death of the English language. I’m not a native speaker of English, nor am I a specialist of its history, and I don’t know how often such articles are published – but I definitely wasn’t used to seeing such pieces about English coming from high-profile news sources. That said, I am always ready to admit that this is due to my ignorance about the history and the current goings-on of English.

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Universal Understanding, Universal Machine

Roughly six weeks ago, I went to see The Imitation Game – I caught one of the last English-language screenings in my city. Opinions might vary about this movie, but Alan Turing’s attitude, as shown in the film, reflected the mindset of a true programmer. True programmers, when they face a specific problem, tend to go one abstraction level up, and create a solution not just for the problem at hand, but for an entire class of similar problems. In fact, this is the very attitude that gave us language technology.

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