What I Learned about Languages

I’ve noticed that this 12-day blogging challenge is far easier than the 30-day challenge I did in April and not just because of the length. I can remember running out of ideas 5 or 6 days in during that challenge, and so far for this one (knock on wood), I can typically think of an idea quickly and am getting out the posts in far less time.

I’m following the mantras:

To be creating, you must be consuming.

To be interesting, you must be interested.

Both of these are paraphrased from various Praxis materials or just conversations we end up having in Slack. So, to have a full stocked inventory of blog post material, I need to be learning something every day.

Today I learned about languages. I listened to the 2 episodes of the Freakonomics podcast about language and the follow up episode about Esperanto, a constructed language designed to be simple enough for anyone to learn and possibly be a universal language. It’s such a great analogy for business/products where someone could create something “everyone needs” and then hardly anyone buys/uses it.

What would a universal language look like? Will the UN form a super government, take over the world, and force an existing language on everyone? Will Esperanto or another newly constructed language gain traction (like International Fleet Common in the Ender’s Game series)? It’s certainly an interesting question.

The podcast also brought up that many languages come with the baggage of their past. English has British Imperialism (not to mention the US’s involvement in everybody’s business), German from its part in both World Wars, and Sinhala caused an entire civil war in Sri Lanka!

I’m not sure I see a future with a universal language. Given the spontaneity of how they change and the size of the world and the population, I lean more toward a technological solution like live translation.

If I’m wrong, I can always try to learn Esperanto – now available on Duolingo!

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