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Arguably the biggest blessing / curse of the English language is its plethora of synonyms from a variety of foreign languages. This bake takes advantage of English's verbal kleptomania to maximise comprehension for speakers of a specific foreign language, by suggesting English words closest to those
in the audience's native tongue.
For example, when talking about a strong blend of coffee, the adjective "stark" might be used if the audience includes a lot of Germans, or a "fortified" flavour if French, corresponding to the cognates "starke" and "fort" respectively, both of which (according to my team of translators) mean "strong". This software has etymological data about every word in the world. Neat!
This is useful both for allowing partial comprehension of those who understand no English at all, and for ensuring the greatest comprehension of partial English speakers. This might also be a useful tool for those writing a beginner's English course, and could even be used in reverse for the aid of English speakers abroad.
Not entirely un-thought-about before [hippo, Jun 24 2015]
||I really don't think pandering to foreign types who
haven't taken the trouble to learn English is going to
help the situation. The correct solution is to talk
loudly and slowly until they give in and learn.
||I think it's a mistake to stop talking loudly and slowly to foreigners once they have learned English well. After all, it's necessary to remind them of their Foreign status.
||Yes, but that is what the famous Withering Look is
||There are roughly 500m people on Earth with English as their first language and roughly 2 billion with English as their second language. It is therefore the public-spirited duty of every person with English as their first language to speak English when in foreign parts, so as to encourage and help others with their acquisition of this great language. However, a [+] because it's a clever idea (and see link).
||English is clearly the most efficient language because
it requires no effort at all to learn it. I already knew
it. All the others are far too difficult to learn and
years go by and it never finishes theres never a
point where one thinks at last, I know [x foreign
language] now.. Therefore, why waste time with
languages that require tedious learning? Just use
English, which aint difficult cos its already here,
and get on with something else in your life.
||Alternatively, just merge all the other languages and
give it the name of Foreign Language. Not like
esperanto, I mean actually merge. Multitrack overlay
each word in all the other languages and listen to
what the mixed result sounds like, then write that
||A group of mechanical linguisticians at MIT (or
possibly Caltech) did that a while ago. To be
precise, they developed a coding system which
allowed them to do Boolean operations and
arithmetic on phonemes.
||Their goal was to re-create the first human
language, reconstructing it from its descendants.
In fact, the only interesting things to emerge from
their work were
(a) that if you AND all the
European words for "tomato", the result is very
nearly but not quite "otamot" and
words for "tomorrow" in any two Sino-Tibetan
languages produces a word which is an expletive in
at least one Sino-Tibetan language.