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Constitutional Language Update

Because things change...
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The Constitution of the United States of America is an interesting document. That it is a fixed document is part of the point. Unfortunately, the English language isn't as stable as paper. It's inevitable that the document will be unintelligible to the majority of the population within a few hundred years*. Imagine what people would make of it written in Chaucer's English?

Unless the language is updated to convey the appropriate meaning, it's possible to envisage a time when America worships a piece of old brown paper, doesn't know why, and locks up people who say bad things about the shade of brown.

Now, obviously, you keep the original. BUT, it is self- evidently a good idea to at least have a plan for conveying the meaning of the document to future peoples. If current trends are anything to go by, the whole thing will be translated in to a series of amusing animated cat gifs.

*countries are supposed to last hundreds of years, unless you're playing at it

bs0u0155, Aug 13 2014

Why is Bert the symbol for "woman" in linear B http://www.financia...drawing-symbols.jpg
....call in Mulder and Scully [not_morrison_rm, Aug 14 2014]

Bert http://www.sesamest...d-a1a2-3f408a4274b3
[not_morrison_rm, Aug 14 2014]

Beaker http://img1.wikia.n...pg/258px-Beaker.jpg
[RayfordSteele, Aug 14 2014]

[link]






       // Imagine what people would make of it written in Chaucer's English? //   

       Chaucerian and Shakespearian English are still (with a little effort) perfectly comprehensible to a large proportion of English people (as opposed to mere "speakers" of "English"). Magna Carta is still a "live" legal document, and that's written in Latin.   

       // If current trends are anything to go by, the whole thing will be translated in to a series of amusing animated cat gifs. //   

       It won't. By the time things get that bad, the U.S. will have been annexed by Canada, much as a kindly family might take in a frail, elderly neighbour with Alzheimer's...
8th of 7, Aug 13 2014
  

       //it's possible to envisage a time when America worships a piece of old brown paper, doesn't know why, //
Heheh
calum, Aug 13 2014
  

       // Imagine what people would make of it written in Chaucer's English?//   

       Some of England's most important documents were written in Chaucer's (or earlier) English. Somehow, we seem to manage OK.   

       The bibles, however, are a very different matter.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 13 2014
  

       I preferred the "Not" bible.   

       Well, doing the Constitution in Linear B would be best, as then no one would understand it. Like the Bible.   

       Having looked at the symbol for woman in the script it bears an uncanny resemblance to Bert off Sesame Street....see link...
not_morrison_rm, Aug 14 2014
  

       The invention of dictionaries has done a lot to stabilize a language. "Fad" words get removed due to obsolescence about as often as they get added due to popularity. But the rest of the language holds pretty steady, at least partly because of pronunciation guides, in those same dictionaries.
Vernon, Aug 14 2014
  

       Shortest constitution in force, 27 amendments, never read it, probably like quite a few lawyers in the U.S. (not the shortness, the never reading part)
4and20, Aug 14 2014
  

       // it is self- evidently a good idea to at least have a plan for conveying the meaning of the document to future peoples.//   

       Baked I think, by the Supreme Court
theircompetitor, Aug 14 2014
  

       Yes, but how long before Disney buys out the franchise ... ?
8th of 7, Aug 14 2014
  

       I'm not seeing Bert. I'm seeing Beaker.
RayfordSteele, Aug 14 2014
  

       Over the long haul, there is no way that any particular document written by a people frozen in time can anticipate the issues of peoples hundreds of years into the future. Constitutions should be highly-moderated wikidocuments.
RayfordSteele, Aug 14 2014
  

       Given the Orwellian nature that politics can take, it almost doesn't seem to matter whether words are changed, or the meaning of words changes. Which does not mean, though, that one should go gently into that good night.
theircompetitor, Aug 14 2014
  

       //doesn't seem to matter whether words are changed//   

       Imagine a boot, stamping on the 4th amendment - Forever.
bs0u0155, Aug 14 2014
  

       Imagine the ACLU camping on your doorstep - Forever.   

       // I'm seeing Beaker //   

       It'll be purple flashing elephants next. Take more water with it.
8th of 7, Aug 14 2014
  

       How can any other way of reading it ensure limited government? If a key point of a Constitution is to limit what kinds of laws may be passed, how can it be safe to read it any other way?
theircompetitor, Aug 14 2014
  

       Any constitutional process that simultaneously allows to both create, and repeal something like Prohibition, to have equal protection under the law and progressive income taxes, to have drug laws and a right to privacy, is pretty freaking flexible already. Be thankful.
theircompetitor, Aug 14 2014
  

       Yes, but does it say anything about the current Bert/Beaker controversy?
not_morrison_rm, Aug 14 2014
  
      
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