Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cognate substitution suggestor

Software to replace words in a document with ones most easily recognisable by specific foreigners
  [vote for,

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.

idris83, Jun 24 2015

Etymology_20markup_...20word_20processors 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.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2015

       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.
pocmloc, Jun 24 2015

       Yes, but that is what the famous Withering Look is for.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2015

       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).
hippo, Jun 25 2015

       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
(b) ORing the words for "tomorrow" in any two Sino-Tibetan languages produces a word which is an expletive in at least one Sino-Tibetan language.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 27 2015


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