There's a New World Language Coming!

We are soon to witness the beginning evolution of a new world language. A single language for the world that will satisfy the long held dreams of philosophers of human language, but it will not be an artificially invented language, neither will it be phonetic. It has probably already begun its genesis on the internet. It will be developed by the free, spontaneous choices and contributions of all of us. When unicode or some better solution effectively puts every glyph of the world at our finger tips (keyboard) for easy typing without needing to change fonts, in fact not needing to do anything special before including a certain glyph or glyphs in an email or on a web page, and when it is no longer neccessary to wonder if the person reading your letter has the font, because every one will have all unicode glyphs on their system, then billions of individuals around the globe from every language family will begin innovating in their emails and chatrooms. Just as with emoticons, but with all the world's glyphs in the mix instead of just ascii. When a certain glyph or glyph combo becomes popular it will circle the globe at light speed entering all language families simultaneously. This process will take centuries, but this new world language will evolve as a new part of each language which is understood by all, until eventually all the worlds written languages will become significantly integrated. Each national written language will then be like a dialect of the new world language. Essentially, since the internet will remove all practical barriers that prevent communication among the world's populations, each separate language will begin very slowly but surely changing toward some center between them all. This will not happen to spoken language however, for a very much longer period of time, probably never. We are talking here about a world written language. Spoken languages will not evolve into this new world language because of a simple truth in human nature. None of us want to talk on the telephone to a significant number of strangers because when you surrender your ear to someone, they've got more of your unbroken attention than you wish to give. If everyone who emails me called on the phone instead, I know exactly where I'd put that phone!!! But I love getting email, it makes my day! Even more so from strangers in a foreign land, because I read it at my leisure, and answer when and if I wish. You all know this and you know exactly why you don't want your phone number on your website. Verbal language is for intimates and others who we must talk to. That won't be changed by modern communications. So, verbal languages will not unify under this new dynamic.


         What technology is still needed to get this process going?
65,000 world glyphs all equally available on everyone's keyboard and pre-installed on a future release of Windows. In ten years, an old outdated PC will have at least 10 gigs of storage with an operating system better than Windows98, so that's definitely not a limiting problem regarding this.
         The keyboard is the problem, but will be easily solved. A keyboard with just 50 keys, (50 x 50 x 50 = 125,000) could easily type any of 125,000 glyphs, by touching only three keys simultaneously or sequentially. Virtual keyboards will light up different glyph options as you type. For any key that you hold or touch, an entire character set will display on the remaining keys for you to choose from. When typing only ascii is desired, you will set a selector on your keyboard for single key typing. If you want just several thousand characters available, you set the selector for double key typing so that you will not get a glyph till you touch the second key. Set it for triple key typing for all the glyphs in the world.


There should be no required sequence for touching the keys to get a glyph, and no requirement to hold a key down while typing the next key. In Windows right now, you must hold the alt key first, then type three numbers. This slows typing speeds by disallowing touching the keys at the same time. Also holding down keys should not be required. It would be better if we could touch a key and release it and see the glyph options on the virtual keyboard change.


         Why can it be known with some certainty that a spontaneous evolution of a world language is soon to commence?


         Human language groups evolve linguistic barriers between each other because some other kind of barrier already exists, such as an ocean separating continents, major mountain ranges, deserts, tundras too cold and vast to cross frequently, etc. Lack of interaction between groups isolated from each other prevents the growth of familiarity with each others vocabulary and linguistic habits.
          Some linguistic theories claim that similar languages must have once come from a single parent language in the distant past. But it is more likey that languages are similar because the groups have been interacting with each other in the recent past. Polish and Russian are similar because those groups of people are near each other and the terrain is traversable. If a major but traversable mountain chain separates two groups of humans at the time they begin to invent language, two separate languages will evolve right from the start, and right from the start the two languages will share some vocabulary and structure, mainly centered around vocabulary for items of trade. An example is the similar word for tea all around the world.
         Now add telephone and the internet into consideration and you can expect those two language groups to interact even more unless some other barrier prevents this, and then increasing sharing of vocabulary gradually integrates the two.


In the absence of barriers keeping people apart, languages converge. In the presence of barriers, languages diverge.


         To help you think about this principle, consider hypothetically, that a telepathic species would evolve a single language because the geographic barriers would fail to prevent interaction of the separated groups. The average person might have telepals anywhere on the globe. These telepal communications would keep separated groups interacting, thus sharing familiarities of language. Ofcourse, if the telepathy was of the verbal kind, privacy would be lacking because you can't get away from a voice by turning your head or closing your eyes. Now think of the internet. The interconnectedness of the world of the future will someday be as complete as this hypothetical telepathic world, with one big difference. We choose how, when, and with whom to connect. Each person can interact with hundreds, even thousands of strangers from foreign lands every day if you include visitors to a persons website. While there is no direct to and fro communication with most website visitors, we are never the less changing each other, and each other's linguistic habits.


         Now let's discuss why telephone is negligible with regard to this dynamic and therefore why spoken languages will not integrate. Then we will discuss what extremely advanced technology we would need before an integration dynamic begins for verbal language.


As modern as our world is, jet travel is still incredibly slow, and does not move enough people around the world into strange foreign (to them) cultures to get them interacting verbally. So in this case the barrier is simple distance and time. Remember, verbal communication tends very stongly to be used only with intimates, and other people within our physical environment. And even then we usually don't initiate conversations with people who talk "funny" even when we do travel. But on the internet, we all frequently encounter foreign language writing, and with no embarressment or shyness involved as is often the case with strangers in person.


Over centuries, the world's populations will become increasingly familiar with foreign writing if only by frequent accidental visits to pages, and eventually, familiarity with the general appearance of foreign writing will give way to understanding a few words and increasingly everyone will become a little bit multilingual. Over centuries, each language group will absorb the vocabulary of all the others and the borders between will fall away.


But the dynamic is not there for verbal language, and for another obvious reason besides the expense of long distance phone calls. Nobody phones people who cannot understand their language! Never! That is why the invention of the telephone did not introduce a dynamic like this years ago. The attempt to talk to a foreigner must be in person for two reasons. Usually you rely on someone translating so you need a minimum of three people. Also you need to point to things to get the other person to tell you their words for objects. Anyone who has tried this knows it must be done in person.


         So when might this verbal language integration dynamic begin? Not for a very long time. It won't begin even in a small way until an Orient Express type airliner can get you from New York to Tokyo in under an hour, and inexpensively so that a significant portion of populations can interact personally. A prototype may be tested in ten years but it will be decades before they are as common as 727s. Even this though will not be significant enough to start a dynamic similar to what is now starting with written communication.


Really, for this integration dynamic to start with verbal language would require technology from Star Trek; the transporters that allow instantaneous light-speed teleportation. So at this point I will stop talking about verbal language and now concentrate only on written language.


         Now back down to earth to a little phenomenon going on right now in chat rooms and email messages: Emoticons. Ah you say, what do those silly smileys have to do with a major new world dynamic? Well some of you may be laughing at me right now, but think for a minute. Those little glyphs have grown in number beyond counting and circled the globe into all languages for two simple reasons. They are so incredibly easy to type, and they begin as faces, which everyone from all language groups understand. Even when they are not explained well in text translations, they have a way of clarifying themselves to new users of every language by speaking directly to their eyes. Add to this the phenomena of all these computer icons on everyones computers and we add more vocabulary to this coming world written language, which ofcourse is not a language, yet.


Then add to this the increasing use of fonts like wingdings, dingbats, and numerous other glyph type fonts that are now included with every installation of Windows. Anyone in the world can put "font face" tags in their web pages for these fonts and don't need to worry whether the guy on the other end has the font.


The key to this whole process getting into full swing is UNICODE, and keyboard software which provides easy use of hundreds, even thousands of fonts as if they were all one font. In practice unicode will be one world font.