Languages of the future after fall of the American Empire?

Guest too   Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:02 pm GMT
You're to close to the mountain, if you watch it from far away you see the whole picture.
Q.E.D.   Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:53 pm GMT

Mathematics are abstract. They are the blueprints of whatever marvels surround us today. If I understoof your point correctly, then you say that having the blueprint is congruent with having the full product rolled out of the factory door.
This is a wrong approach, you may find a real example in Soviet attempts to build a national automobil. After frustrating attempts, they decided to steal the technology from the West: they had the blueprints for a compact automobile but they couldn't build the car. So they stole the whole horizontal and some of the vertical industry to have LADA (which is an italian FIAT) rolling. The same model was 30 years later happily produced, with some minor changes here and there, mostly screws (and I think was also a lawsuit against Soviet Union about it).
Now, you can tell me that there were brilliant Soviet engineers, mathematicians, physicians in those times, and they still are now. Why they couldn't build their car?
At this point the implementors of blueprints are as important as the creators of blueprints. It is a simbiotic relationship. The relational algebra (Aho and Ullman) is a beautiful piece of mathematics. It is reflected in what today is RDBMS - relational database management systems (where is the Latin connection here with database? I did not get that one). Moreover, canonical forms Boyce-Codd that state how the RDBMS should be designed are beautiful pieces of mathematics, but it is I, the DB guy that decide to use them fully, partially or not at all because I have the skill, knowledge and I'm paid (eventually) to deliver a decent product.
My point is that English is reflected in every point of the CS language and those terms mean the same thing for the Indian guy I work with or for the Chinese gal whose system is integrating with mine or for the Russian guy that implements a complicated fly path algorithm (primary key, index, clustered index, constrictions) as we all the techies understand Djikstra algorithm (Djikstra - Netherlands, algorithm - al garitmi, medieval arab mathematician), regardless race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or eye color. We, the implementors toiling over APPS like this forum, write our CODE using KEYWORDS like FOR, WHILE, IF THEN ELSE, COMPILE the SOURCE CODE into something that is understood by a VIRTUAL MACHINE, FRAMEWORK, OPERATING SYSTEM, DEPLOYED on a WEB SERVER, accessed by a BROWSER using HTTP protocol. Please note the caps, they all are universal software terms.
Now, please implement your differential equations so that the bridge engineer, the civil construction engineer, the surveyor can use them without pencil and paper (and error free, otherwise your bridge will fall down) from here to Africa, Asia, Europe, americas, Micronezia, Australia and everywhere on Earth.
In my opinion, there is no turning back from English (or a pidgin version of it) unless a major disaster strikes the Earth and a new era of discoveries will begin.

All the best,

And man, I love mathematics. They are the most pure things that exist out there.
rara   Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:54 pm GMT
Once again you're missing my point.

And as for the computer science terms, yes you are right that that is how it is today, everything is done in English, but remember we're talking about once the USA has collapsed, at which point it will stop producing so much research and others will ask themselves "why are we working in English if they are not at the top of the field"?

The English terms may remain in the CS language forever, but people will no longer have to know English to work in the field. It will be like a doctor who has to learn many Latin/Greek terms ("meningococal", "vasectomy", "arthiritis", "haemorrhage" and many more I can't even imagine) or a chemist who learns terms like polybutadiene, polyvinylidenedifluoride, polytetrafluoroethylene, etc, but they do not KNOW Latin/Greek, they just learn the terminology and leave it at that. They see the word and then read the description of what it means IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. If someone asked them to say something in Latin they would laugh out loud!

It will be the same with CS and English. People will learn the English terms but they will not learn English. They will know what a "if then" statement is in the same way that a mathematician knows what "Quod erat demonstrandum" means. But they will speak and work in another language. The English terms will look just as foreign to them as "polytetrafluoroethylene" looks to us.
pfarfflinger   Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:06 am GMT
<<In my opinion, there is no turning back from English (or a pidgin version of it) unless a major disaster strikes the Earth and a new era of discoveries will begin.>>

All it takes is for a different civilization (China for example) to totally surpass the West in terms of scientific discovery, technology, manufacturing, engineering, philosophy, media, literature, etc. Perhaps the US and the Western-oriented areas lose a major war ot two, decline into poverty, and stop producing scientific discoveries almost completely. After a long enough time, most of the useful information would be in some different language, and English would then be of little use, internationally.

Germany used to lead the world in science (chemistry, aerodynamics, optics (especially), etc.), but all it took was a couple of lost wars to tip the balance over to English. Back in the 30's, German was mandatory for many science majors in US colleges, but by the 60's, German was no longer required at all.
Q.E.D.   Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:02 am GMT
I think I see your point now. Well, I guess we'll never know what would be and there is no tragedy into it - life will be always interesting. I very much enjoyed the discussion.

Agreed (man, I'm in a very harmonious mood today, is it because I finally got over nicotine withdrawal symptoms or because I had only 2 cups of coffee?). I would add to your comment that it took couple of wars PLUS a disastrous political system that drove out non German scientists to other friendly places. I don't judge that period as I don't feel any guilt for my grandfather actions in WWII.

Best, q.e.d.
Bill   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:20 am GMT
Probably a mixed Spanish Portugese language or a mixed Spanish French language.