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Old December 14 2012, 06:05 PM   #31
Greg Cox
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Oh, that's no problem. They conveniently speak modern English on Roman gladiator planets.
Good point.
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Old December 15 2012, 03:16 AM   #32
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

And on Mirimanee's planet too. Kirk didn't have a UT for the months he was living there.
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Old December 16 2012, 10:48 AM   #33
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

This is a factor only if it is possible to separate a man from his universal translator. Which becomes fairly difficult if the device is actually an implant. (Not in the mechanistic sense, as a sharp knife solves most of the problems of this world and others, but in the sense of figuring out that there even exists a UT to be dug out.)

The bulkier external devices, commbadges and whatnot, might be necessary for deciphering newly encountered languages, such as Gorn, Companionese or Basics Caveman. But the implant might be programmed with already known languages, such as the Latin they speak at Merikus' planet, or the NavahoMohicanDelawareish they speak at Miramanee's.

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Old December 16 2012, 06:27 PM   #34
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

They're going to program it in Latin and NavahoMohicanDelawareish but not Klingon (as seen in TUC)? Also, the TOS universal translator is the size of a flashlight. I don't even want to start thinking about where and how they would implant that.
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Old December 16 2012, 08:50 PM   #35
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

They're going to program it in Latin and NavahoMohicanDelawareish but not Klingon (as seen in TUC)?
Where would they have learned Klingon? The first two are Earth languages, well known to the Federation. In case of the latter, scholars are limited to phrases like "Prepare to be boarded!", and even those are no doubt more commonly delivered in the language of the victim, just to get the message across.

Kirk's ability to imitate a Romulan officer in "The Enterprise Incident" is not particularly contradictory, as we later learn that (sorry, Diane Duane!) Romulans do not speak a language markedly different from Vulcan...

Also, the TOS universal translator is the size of a flashlight.
That would be the UT capable of deciphering new languages. The one merely storing known ones could be microscopic rather than "microphonic".

Besides, we didn't really see any actual TOS universal translators. We saw a gadget Spock built out of existing elements to serve the special needs of the day in "Metamorphosis", and an alien one provided by the Metrons. Starfleet-issue "external" UTs might well be the size seen in ENT or somewhat smaller, quite possibly integrated into the communicators.

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Old December 16 2012, 09:12 PM   #36
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
And on Mirimanee's planet too. Kirk didn't have a UT for the months he was living there.
Nobody had a UT in Trek TOS, except for the handheld universal translator in "Metamorphosis" and perhaps two or three other episodes where computer translating circuits were mentioned. The concept of the UT being a commonplace tool didn't exist until TNG. Before then, we just assumed everybody in the galaxy spoke English. (Well, shouldn't they?)
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Old December 16 2012, 09:18 PM   #37
Timo
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Even as retcons go, that's a pretty huge stretch.[..]Essentially the concept of the UT didn't exist until TNG.
But once the retcon is said and done, it dovetails perfectly to TOS. DS9 gives us explicit ear implants (for the Ferengi, but the technique would be sound). VOY shows us that after the removal of commbadges and other external devices, aliens who should have no business knowing English (the Kazon and Neelix - Kes is admittedly a quick learner) continue to be perfectly understood by our English-speaking (?) heroes, but the acquisition of a new language becomes impossible. And ENT brackets this with stories involving an external UT and others involving translations achieved without such. Kirk having an implant is a good "out" here, especially as implanted IT devices of all sorts are likely to be exceedingly common and expected by the audiences of today and tomorrow...

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Old December 20 2012, 07:34 AM   #38
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Timo wrote: View Post
To get at true meaning, you need to go back to primary sources and original language.
Only if the translation is imperfect. But the Universal Translator gets puns and nuances across all right - and even translates an alien term for a cave-dwelling slave race as "troglyte", inserting suggestive Greek roots where there originally were none, to demonstrate that it is way smarter than its users!

The UT makes language a completely outdated concept. Not just the learning of languages, but their very existence. It is the new thing that replaces language.

Or at least it should damn well suffice for one. No hero ought to require even a native language in order to be perfectly understood and to perfectly understand everybody else, across lightyears and millennia and cultural and biological borders if need be. Every time this does not happen is an inconsistency in Star Trek, really.

...Perhaps the UT only replaced language in the 24th century?

Timo Saloniemi
What a depressing way to look at it.

I used to type essays and term papers for college and university students. One of my clients was from a Cree reserve. Her first language was Cree. She told me that she sometimes had trouble completing her assignments because some of the concepts she wanted to discuss simply had NO WORDS in English to adequately describe them and convey the meaning she wanted to get across.

If the concept itself doesn't exist in a language, good luck with that universal translator.


And consider this: Latin is mainly used by doctors and scientists, and people who want to learn it so they can read the old Roman poets, playwrights, and historians in their original versions (that's why I'm trying to learn it). But just because very few people use it NOW, who is to say it won't ever go through a revival? I can just see a bunch of historical re-enactors who decide to go off and set up their own "New Rome" colony somewhere. It would be entirely natural that they would want to learn Latin and use it in their daily lives.

Besides... Patrick Stewart did a masterful job of portraying the villainous Lucius Aelius Sejanus in the BBC series I, Claudius. Star Trek and Latin are a natural fit.
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Old December 20 2012, 08:34 AM   #39
Timo
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

If the concept itself doesn't exist in a language, good luck with that universal translator.
Well, English copes easily enough by simply assimilating, and if need be, adjusting. There's no need to translate schadenfreude or ombudsman or blunderbuss, let alone learn German or Swedish or Dutch in order to get the translation, as long as you learn that this new English word has this certain meaning. This counts as "learning English", not as "translating".

The UT automates even that process by inventing words like "troglyte" for the user and letting him slowly catch on.

Do languages undergo revival? It appears that they simply die out one by one, until presumably only one is left (and with something like the UT, perhaps none). Except of course as hobby projects for an insignificant minority; there is always an insignificant minority available for X regardless of the value of X.

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Old December 20 2012, 08:41 AM   #40
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Timo wrote: View Post
Do languages undergo revival?
Hebrew did.
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Old December 20 2012, 08:58 AM   #41
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Timo wrote: View Post
If the concept itself doesn't exist in a language, good luck with that universal translator.
Well, English copes easily enough by simply assimilating, and if need be, adjusting. There's no need to translate schadenfreude or kindergarden or blunderbuss, let alone learn German or Dutch in order to get the translation, as long as you learn that this new English word has this certain meaning. This counts as "learning English", not as "translating".

The UT automates even that process by inventing words like "troglyte" for the user and letting him slowly catch on.

Do languages undergo revival? It appears that they simply die out one by one, until presumably only one is left (and with something like the UT, perhaps none). Except of course as hobby projects for an insignificant minority; there is always an insignificant minority available for X regardless of the value of X.

Timo Saloniemi
Let me guess - you don't live in a region where multiple languages are routinely spoken/heard in daily life? I live in a city of 80,000+ people in the province of Alberta, Canada - not a large city by many peoples' standards, but still the 3rd largest in the province. On any given day I can hear English, Spanish, Mandarin/Cantonese, whatever non-English language is spoken in the Philippines, the dialect of German spoken by the Hutterites, one or two Middle Eastern languages, and there's a large Cree reserve nearby. Oh, and even though Alberta is in the western part of the country, I do hear French on occasion.

Canada has a shameful legacy of deliberately trying to stamp out the First Nations languages by forcing the children into residential schools. They were taken away from their families and forced to assimilate into a culture that was completely alien - and cruelly punished for speaking their own languages. Now that the residential schools have been shut down and the government has been attempting (in fits and starts) to make amends for many decades' worth of attempted cultural genocide, some Native groups are making a deliberate effort to relearn their original languages. Time is of the essence, though, since in many cases there are just a few people left alive and able to teach the younger generations.

A language is more than just what people speak in everyday situations and what may be written down - when a language goes extinct, so does the knowledge that was only passed along via oral traditions. If something was never written down and the language is lost, the knowledge is lost. Forever.

As an anthropologist/historian, I find that tragic.

So yes, languages do undergo revival. It takes considerable work and dedication, but it is possible. I can't believe that the Federation (Starfleet in particular) wouldn't hang on to linguistic knowledge, for the sheer pleasure of having that knowledge available, never mind the considerable work done by linguists, anthropologists, historians, diplomats, etc.
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Old December 20 2012, 09:01 AM   #42
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Fair enough. Perhaps Latin returning will be related to all the fascinating revelations about the interstellar pedigree of the Roman gods? Possibly a Roman (counter)culture will arise and launch a colonization program intent on restoring the full might of the past, starting with the language and the fashion, then halting for a while at the thought of the cooking and the sanitation, then regaining full pace with the promise of the circuses.

Let me guess - you don't live in a region where multiple languages are routinely spoken/heard in daily life?
My remote corner of the western world is infamous for very actively forgetting about foreign languages when the opportunity arises. Our former landlords the Swedes and the Russians are still major trade partners, but it's so utterly unfashionable to learn these languages nowadays that trade noticeably suffers. A few centuries back, we'd have been polyglots out of necessity, getting around with Swedish for old times' sake and with Russian, French and German to interact with the east (because Russian protectionism kept the west out of the picture, but OTOH Russia was rather German and French from the inside). Earlier still, it wouldn't have been unusual for the merchants to acquire Dutch, Polish and Estonian for basic interaction, and of course medieval times would have involved heavy cultural exchange with central Europe.

Today we have education, which means we don't learn languages.

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Old December 20 2012, 09:10 AM   #43
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

The Romans actually had better cooking and sanitation than a lot of medieval-era cultures. Their problems were overcrowding, lead contamination in the pipes, and living too close to marshland where stagnant water helped the mosquito population along, and they in turn spread disease among the humans.

None of that is any reason not to learn Latin.
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Old December 20 2012, 09:23 AM   #44
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
The Romans actually had better cooking and sanitation than a lot of medieval-era cultures.
Roman plumbing was actually quite advanced -- unless you're big on privacy.

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Old December 20 2012, 09:32 AM   #45
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Considering that they had communal baths, it probably wasn't a big deal for most people. I'd imagine the aristocrats would have had more privacy than the average citizen.

Of course nowadays, we have the luxury of privacy. Even my cats don't want me to look in their direction when they use the litter box!
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