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May 1

What dost the future spk like?

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 in Something to think about


We don’t have cable tv.  People are often shocked by this, they can’t understand how we can surive without ‘Celebrity Jigs and Reels’, or ‘Coronation Street’ or what have you.  They are scared by the prospect of not having such reliable entertainment, and can’t understand how we’ve occupied our time in the last year.  I tell them we read books, rent or buy box-sets, play the playstation, talk, etc… but this falls on expressions of blank amazement. 

We have, however, recently run out of material to sit down to of an evening, so have had to resort to the dusty material on the top shelf.  Last night, we started watching ‘Battlestar Galactica’.  You won’t catch me watching this stuff ordinarily- I’m no trekky, but this was actually pretty entertaining, in a visual-bubble-gum kind of way.  It had lots of aspects you could pick holes in, for example the exaggerated rocket and laser sounds of spaceships shooting the crap out of each other, even though you shouldn’t be able to hear that because of the vaccuum in space.  Also every actor had an american accent, even though Earth was allegedly just a legend in their time. They had managed to create extremely high-tech robots that could assimilate humans, but were still using 21st century equipment and technology. 

One thing that DID bug me though, was the syntax and language they used.  It was exactly the same language we use today.  If this programme is set in the distant future, thousands of years from now, wouldn’t the english language have changed dramatically?  For example, this is the way we spoke recently, only one thousand years ago:

“Eft he axode, hu ðære ðeode nama wære þe hi of comon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hi Angle genemnode wæron. Þa cwæð he, “Rihtlice hi sind Angle gehatene, for ðan ðe hi engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hi on heofonum engla geferan beon.”

(Roughly translated as):

“Again he [St. Gregory] asked what might be the name of the people from which they came. It was answered to him that they were named Angles. Then he said, “Rightly are they called Angles because they have the beauty of angels, and it is fitting that such as they should be angels’ companions in heaven.”

Language then was full of ‘Dost’, ‘Thou’, and ‘Oft’, in the manner of ‘I, the sandwich ate’… Anglo-Saxon style.

What will happen in the future?  The internet, txt spk, and other forms of new communication should drastically change the face of our language.  If there is a tendency for the language to progress towards simplicity,  will a newt turn into an ewt?  Will the three theres turn into one?  Will punctuation be eradicated? 

I think its amazing tat ppl in d nxt century mite study Stephen King and wonder hw we spok tat complicatd way in d same way we vew Chaucer nowdays

Or maybe I should stop thinking in such a meep and deaningful way, go drink some more coffee and get on with the present tents.

Bring on the comments

  1. baino says:

    Ah K8 . . . I love language and it’s idiosyncracies but sadly, kids today just don’t get it. . .we’re introducing a whole new readn’ writin’ rythmatic’ syllabus in Oz. The problem is that the teachers aren’t much better – over 60% cant spell or do not understand the simple morays of grammar.

    I’m crap at spelling (too much other stuff to think, about) but I love a middle English yarn. Where else can you get the world’s rudest expletives expressed in context . . aka (oops, msg language krpt in) the Cantebury Tales or the lusty Baird. (Interesting that your blog name is K8 the Gr8!)

    Lurve Baino (another Aussie quirk, shorten it or die).

    Oh, oh, oh . . . Not a trekky either but often dust off an episode of Star Wars . . .”Looook, I ahm your faaaaarther!”

  2. Or it could be like that episode of South Park, where we speak a mish-mash of all languages.

    I have to read Beowulf for a course I’m doing. It’s like an Anglo-Saxon Lord Of the Rings …

  3. Brianf says:

    Why is the first thing we export to outer space, war?
    I was never a big fan of BattleGalacticStarBlasters or whatever it was called.
    A thousand years from now they will have realized that the English language had reached it zenith of evolution in the late 20th century and they will have decreed that all beings will speak American English except for the Vogons who will continue to speak with a British accent and will continue to be overly bureaucratic and officious.
    When I tell people I do not have cable TV I get the same blank stare. I really like watching all the different expressions dance across peoples faces when I tell them I have never seen an episode of CSI, any CSI because apparently there’s about 4 or 5 different versions.
    Then they start with naming all the TV shows they watch and I keep up with the, “Nope, never saw it”, or, “I saw an ad for it once”. I lovingly refer to these folks as, Vidiots.

  4. K8 says:

    Ah CSI is ok… I got one or two of the boxsets. It’s cheesy, but not stilton cheesy. More like those plasticky cheddar slices you put in hamburgers.

    DARIO! You reminded me of the Southpark episode where the kids go to bring all the starving Ethernopians to the planet ‘Marklar’, where all names, places and things are replaced by the word Marklar. As in… Marklar told me that the marklar was quite marklar but not too marklar!’ Genious.

    “we’re introducing a whole new readn’ writin’ rythmatic’ syllabus in Oz.” Rap-writing? Sounds a bit mad! And you’re right, you can never slate the old Star Wars. George Lucas is a geezer with a wacky mind…

  5. Grandad says:

    Brianf – Can one be Vogon with an Irish accent?

    K8 – Think of all you are missing.. Pat the Plank? Party Political Broadcasts? Marklar? Marklar? Bertie on the News every 5 minutes? On second thoughts….. Got a spare room??

  6. The reason why the BSG crew use 21st century technologies is because the Cylons are capable of inflicting a virus on their more modern technologies.

    BSG = best Sci-Fi series ever.

  7. K8 says:

    Ok, if you say so. I’ll keep watching :)

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