Can I really imagine the language of the future?

Do you think you know what human language will be like In the year 2100?

Partial tree of Indo-European languages. Branc...
Partial tree of Indo-European languages.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you weren’t aware, the back trail of human history is littered with languages long dead, recently deceased, and terminally ill. Languages die every day, and along the way from their first conceptions to their deaths they tend to change more or less over time. The longer a language lives, the more different it is when you can finally call it dead than it was when you first gave it a name.

And languages don’t pop out of thin air, you know. Every language comes from another language, like mothers and their children; at first the language seems a little too big for it’s own good and the next thing you know there’s a distinctly separate entity new to the house, split off from the original. What makes it different? That’s why we have linguists; it’s their job to fight over that.

So back to these dying languages – they’re dropping like flies because the people who used them are switching to more common languages that provide more utility in the context of their respective lives – English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Chinese. The world’s linguistic pool is getting smaller by the day and so it’s imaginable that the world of 2100 will be down to just a few languages.

Ninth of Henry Holiday's original ilustrations...
Ninth of Henry Holiday’s original ilustrations to “The Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s not to say that English won’t be drastically different. Kids, who think that rules are for suckers, and the tech industry will keep pushing the language in new directions. What will it look like? I can’t imagine – I’ve spent so long speaking proper English that I lack the facility to imagine the mere shape of it. The words might sound similar to those created by Lewis Carroll – mashups and conglomerations like “chortle”, “galumph”, and “snark”. Carroll was an even more audacious wordsmith than Shakespeare; where The Bard achieved volume by adding “un” to many words, Carroll got outlandish and imaginative. In many ways, Carroll was the Tesla to Shakespeare’s Edison.

What I’m more certain of is that languages won’t be gutted or transmogrified to a kind of verbal shorthand to suit convenience; language not only deserves, but begs to have the capacity for richness and context that humans need to communicate effectively, both for now and well into the far future.

Can you imagine a single unique word or phrase from the year 2100? What would that be?


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.\

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