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Old 08-18-2007, 06:04 PM   #5
dthomsen8's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA 19130
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Originally Posted by George View Post
... But we can't just let it evolve according to chance. We will get intelligent results by controlling it intelligently. So society has to be engineered -- like for raising children, it takes more than a family, but a village (as Hillary Clinton says).
Your statements about society have a parallel in the different approaches to the evolution of languages. The French have the French Academy to prescribe the rules and words of French, that is, they are trying to controll it intelligently. They disdain usages like "Le drugstore" in France, but I don't know with what success. It seems to me that the British have a quite different approach. The Oxford English Dictionary describes English words at great length, but the dictionary editors don't try to keep new words out just because they came from another language.

Perhaps I oversimplify, but I think one reason for the worldwide adoption and success of English, compared with French, owes much to its willingness to adopt new words as needed, regardless of source.
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