mon 30 apr 2007 20:41:50 raamgracht
more about language
what i suggest is that in the next language, we get rid of the following:
-- any same words which mean more than one thing
-- any meaning-critical sounds which are too hard for all people to say.
-- pronunciations that can't be predicted from their spellings.
-- non-informative inflections at the ends of words. (we can keep the meaning-critical ones).
-- genders in inanimate words.
about this gender thing, i was just recently reading in a "geschiedenis van de nederlandse taal" about how hard they wrestled with trying to figure out the genders of these nouns. but i never found the paragraph where they explained why a tree *should* be a he or she. maybe the aristocrats thought it would make their language more poetic. of course, it serves the purpose of confounding foreigners. and it makes you seem more german, if that's what you're groping for.
what i want is a non-secret language, that a person can speak correctly just by following the rules. you don't have to be an insider.
a related topic.
let's standardize place names, so we can all know where we're going. stop painting nouns with politics. let's eliminate situations where the same town has multiple names, like in belgium. it can be "anverse" or "antwerpen", i don't care, just make up yer fucking mind already. if you insist on reminding the whole world of your parochial history, the world should forget you altogether. i don't mean to pick on belgians, this also goes for the little nations in the middle east and you-don't-goslavia, and anywhere else that wants to waste the world's consciousness on its petty feuds. the next language is partly about getting over yourself already.
likewise, let's stop changing place names as if they were haircuts. if it was "bombay" last year and it's "mumbai" this year, fine, but please don't change it to "booboy" or "moumee" next year just because the phones got thinner. let's just decide what a place is called, and leave it that way for at least a thousand years, please. don't wake me up tomorrow and tell me there's no such place as "africa".
and let's do away with situations where one street changes names four times as it crosses one city -- just so some politicians can honor their latest hero. streets should be named for clarity and continuity, so people can easily and meaningfully find their way around. note the value difference between "leidsestraat" (leiden street) and "tweede constantijn huygensstraat" (the second street named after constantijn huygens, even though i'm sure he woulda been happy with just one).