Open Source Beats Walled Gardens In Spoken Languages Too

from the what-do-french-and-aol-have-in-common? dept

Earlier this week, Webster's and the Oxford English Dictionary announced that it would include the word "google" from now on as an official word. But of course English doesn't have any one list of official words, there are just dictionaries that give their opinions about appropriate and established usage. And this is no trivial feature of the language. English's extensibility allows it to adapt to cultural and technological changes quicker than languages with centralized boards determining what words are appropriate, as exists for French (it wasn't until 2000 that French came up with an approved list of internet-related words so that speakers didn't have to use vile English ones). Of course there are some advantages to walled gardens; grammar and spelling rules are really consistent across French, unlike English's gangly mess that give kids fits in spelling bees. But this mess is a function of English speakers incorporating the best of what other languages and cultures have, and so may be one factor (among many others) of the language's success across the globe.

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  • identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, 7 Jul 2006 @ 10:23am

    Have you ever studied French?

    "[S]pelling rules are really consistent across French"... say what??? It's got the second-worst orthography in the world after English!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Grood At Engrish, 7 Jul 2006 @ 10:46am

    The extensibility of English is why I can say "FRiST p0st" and everyone knows what I mean!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Grood At Engrish, 7 Jul 2006 @ 10:49am

    aw crap

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kratos, 7 Jul 2006 @ 10:57am

    Nice try

    If only you had made first post. Alas, now that joke is worthless. :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Parad0x, 7 Jul 2006 @ 10:59am

    It's only a matter of time before "PWN3D!!!one!!eleventyone11!" makes it into a dictionary somewhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jamie, 7 Jul 2006 @ 11:01am

    Spanish is another structured language

    The royal academy in Spain organizes the Spanish language just like the French do. I don't know how successful the French are in keeping their language consistent, but Spanish is remarkably consistent in its spelling and grammar rules.
    So much so, that I was able to teach myself to read and write it without needing any instruction. As a child I was bilingual in Spanish and English. Moved to the US while still very young, and learned to read in English. I retained the ability to speak Spanish, but never read it (my parents did not speak it). As an adult, I suddenly realized that I could read Spanish perfectly. Not only that, I could write Spanish words even if I had never seen the word written down, since the spelling always matches the pronunciation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Howard, 7 Jul 2006 @ 11:51am

      Re: Spanish is another structured language

      Hmmm... I'm currently studying Spanish, and while it is mostly phonetic, certain exceptions are giving me fits. For instance, since the 'h' is never pronounced, how do you know when to write it? Or since the 'g' and the 'j' sometimes have exactly the same sound, how do you know which to choose? Or for that matter, the 'x' is sometimes pronounced the same as 'g' or 'j' -- and there doesn't appear to be any dependable rule on that: "Mexico" is pronounced "meh'-hee-co", but "exitos" is pronounced "ek'-see-tose".

      There also appears to be a large difference in the way certain letter-pairs are pronounced. Listening to native speakers pronounce 'll', I have heard at least four distinct sounds used, varying from a soft 'y' to a hard 'j', and sometimes like a combination of 'j' and 'ch'. I've even heard the word "calle" pronounced "cahd-jeh". Likewise, the sound for 'v' varies on a smooth continuum from a 'v' to a 'b'.

      Since I am a musician, it's possible that I'm hearing differences that native speakers do not notice, or do not regard as being different.

      Another explanation for this was given to me by a Columbian native. I listen to a Spanish radio station in the Dallas area, so I hear a lot of TexMex. According to the Columbian, TexMex is bad Mexican, and Mexican is poor Spanish.

      At any rate, Spanish does NOT appear to perfectly phonetic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jamie, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re: Spanish is another structured language

        Not sure about the 'h', but the 'g', 'j', and 'x' letters all have different sounds to native speakers. Sometimes to non native speakers the sounds seem the same (or may actually be the same because your voice cannot properly pronounce them). As for the 'll'. You are correct. The pronunciation can vary for different dialects/accents much like British and American English pronunciation.
        The word "exitos" is not proper Spanish. It's slang. Spanish spoken in Texas, and in most of Mexico is filled with slang. So that word is not a good example. Though that doesn’t mean you don’t have a point.
        Spanish is not perfectly phonetic, but it is more phonetic than most languages in the world. Consequently, if you can speak it, you can probably read and write it. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly functionally.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DeadlyOats, 7 Jul 2006 @ 11:17am

    Then this means that Bush......

    Then this means that President Bush speaks Extensible English rather well.

    When he say stuff like, "misunderestimated."

    Check out the President's Extensible English skills.

    http://www.bestofgooglevideo.com/video.php?video=235

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rodney, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:27pm

    Doesn't anyone remember the definition of Google?

    First of all google was a word before the company used it as a name. The word should have already been in the dictionary - it refers to a very large number specifically a one followed by one hundred zeros.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cheryl Geller, 8 Aug 2006 @ 8:43am

      Re: Doesn't anyone remember the definition of Goog

      I remember that "google" was a mathmatical term used to stand for "the largest number" in the whole world. That when math found what that mythical number was, it would be called a google. I loved that word before it became what it means now. My other favorite "words" are "pyroclastic flow" & "load bearing wall". But they are really phrases. I was trying to find the mathmatical definition for google when I found this blog. I cannot find the mathmatical definition of google anywhere, it is really scary in a way. My computer dictionary has google as meaning the search engine, and looking on internet based dictionaries yielded the same definitions. I thought I was going crazy till I found this blog. I'm gonna go see if google, the math term, is in my dictionary. Somehow, googling google just doesn't seem right.

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      • identicon
        jerry carter, 6 Oct 2006 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re: Doesn't anyone remember the definition of

        I remember seeing the word "google" in a dictionary somr time ago and recall it said something like a "9" followed by about 60 zeros. Does that sound close ?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:34pm

    Google was already a word? Like googley-eyed? Or do you mean "googol"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      misanonymous, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      In theory, shouldn't all the Romance languages be "similar" in structure?

      googol is 10^100

      google is a search engine

      Check it out for yourself. Google "define: googol" and "define: google"
      =)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cheryl Geller, 8 Aug 2006 @ 8:55am

      Anonymous is correct

      Ah, I was misspelling it. "Anynomous" is right, it is googol.
      It is 10 to the power of 100.
      Thanks Anynomous! My spelling is atrocious, it is why I am such a fan of the national speeling bee. I love watching good spelling since it is an art I never mastered.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        cheryl Geller, 8 Aug 2006 @ 9:33am

        The

        Rethinking my last comment, I realized that I consider spelling an honorable skill; math is the artistic endeavor. I'm no good at either. I think it is sad that most kids are taught math as a set of rules instead of as the intangible set of ideas that it really is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justin, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:36pm

    Don't you mean...

    The Colombian would be upset if you wrote "Columbian" (I know my friend was when I misspelled it ;p )

    also, the number 10^100 which you are referring to, is called a "googol", not "Google".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Huh?, 7 Jul 2006 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Spanish is another Structured Language

    Howard, "Since I am a musician, it's possible that I'm hearing differences that native speakers do not notice, or do not regard as being different."

    Are they teaching linguistics in music class now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AJ Mancini, 8 Jul 2006 @ 12:56pm

      Re: Re: Spanish is another Structured Language

      Not necessarily, they say that people who are good at music and are good with complex rythms often encountered in music are inherently better at math and linguistics. Also, the ability to distinguish sounds is honed by practicing music, therefore musical people can better distinguish the sounds of language

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    raj, 7 Jul 2006 @ 11:25pm

    english doesn't have an official list

    Actually, it does. It's called the Brown's Corpus. There are a couple of other corpora, but Brown's is one of the premiere one's, and created by a university in Britain.

    I'm working on a free "Web" corpus, but it's a long-term project, and I haven't finished refiing my corpus-crawler bot yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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