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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old August 24 2008, 07:51 PM   #136
BrotherBenny
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

ToddCam wrote: View Post
On the other hand, references to languages like "Cardassian" or "Vulcan" really get on my nerves. I don't speak "Human" or even "Terran."
Trek portrays these races/cultures as having adopted one language as a planetary one. On Earth, the three most spoken languages today (in order) are Arabic, Chinese and English, but by the 24th century English has been adopted as the Federation Standard. It's a plot device, nothing more.
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Old August 24 2008, 08:39 PM   #137
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Federation Standard is not the same thing as "Human." It is what it is, the standard language of the Federation. Now if it were called Earth Standard, you might have a point.
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Old August 24 2008, 09:31 PM   #138
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

On the other hand, we use the name "Chinese" for both the language and the people of the country we call "China," even though the natives of that country use three different names for those things (the country is Zhonghua, the people the Han, and the primary language putonghua)*. And we no doubt do the same with other countries/languages. So it's likely that Vulcans, Cardassians, or whoever have distinct names for their planet, species, and language, but English-speakers use the same term for all three because it's easier to keep track of.

*Well, actually there are multiple names used for any one of those things, but I'm simplifying.
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Old August 24 2008, 09:52 PM   #139
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
On the other hand, we use the name "Chinese" for both the language and the people of the country we call "China," even though the natives of that country use three different names for those things (the country is Zhonghua, the people the Han, and the primary language putonghua)*. And we no doubt do the same with other countries/languages. So it's likely that Vulcans, Cardassians, or whoever have distinct names for their planet, species, and language, but English-speakers use the same term for all three because it's easier to keep track of.

*Well, actually there are multiple names used for any one of those things, but I'm simplifying.
I lived in Prague for five years, and the Czechs speak Czech...

For that matter, the Germans speak German, the Japanese speak Japanese, the English speak English, the Russians speak Russian, the French speak French...
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Old August 24 2008, 10:12 PM   #140
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Since we've moved on to languages, do the Czech, the Germans and the French have a specific name for their languages?

The Irish, Scottish and Welsh all have their own name for the language itself. for example, the Welsh speak cymraeg - but English people call it Welsh because we call the country Wales. In cymraeg, Wales is called Cymru.

IIRC, the Vulcans do actually have a name for their language, but I don't remember off hand what it is. The Klingons do, but don't ask me to spell it, and as for the Romulans, it's evolved from Vulcan. The Cardassians may but we've never really gone that deep into their culture, and the Bajorans may well do, but I don't remember it's name if it has been given.
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Old August 24 2008, 10:39 PM   #141
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Xeris wrote: View Post
ToddCam wrote: View Post
On the other hand, references to languages like "Cardassian" or "Vulcan" really get on my nerves. I don't speak "Human" or even "Terran."
Trek portrays these races/cultures as having adopted one language as a planetary one. On Earth, the three most spoken languages today (in order) are Arabic, Chinese and English, but by the 24th century English has been adopted as the Federation Standard. It's a plot device, nothing more.
Not to be a Grammar Slammer Bammer about this, but (regardless of the definition of "spoken," whether it includes only native speakers or also secondary speakers) Arabic is never listed in the top three.

Native-speaker lists usually list Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish as the top three, while secondary-speaker lists bump English up to second place...

...and of course, talking about "Chinese" as a language (rather than separating out distinct languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese) is an example of the very thing you're complaining about.
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Old August 24 2008, 10:51 PM   #142
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Did anyone say "racist?"
Yes, Andrew Harris did, about 90 posts back, and the term been used in this thread/discussion multiple times... including uses by yourself.

Let's not inject inflammatory terms needlessly. The term I used was "essentialist," which is a technical term in sociology and historiography.
This, however, is the first use of the word "essentialist" in over 100 posts.

Thank you!

I enjoy good discussions but I must admit, sometimes I am hesitating to post because I am aware of it that I am not a scientist and can`t compete with some people and the knowledge they have. On top of that, English is not my native language.

I have experienced it before that I tried to make a point, the next poster kind of polished what I wanted to say into a more scientific English and gets praised for it. It is frustrating sometimes but on the other hand, it is an opportunity for me to learn and follow an interesting discussion.

Therefore I am grateful for this post.
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Old August 24 2008, 11:09 PM   #143
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Xeris wrote: View Post
Since we've moved on to languages, do the Czech, the Germans and the French have a specific name for their languages?
What do you mean by 'specific name'? The names of language are translated from language to language like anything else; it would be rather strange to have a people refer to their language using another language's terminology. In French, the name of the language is franšais; Spanish, espa˝ol, etc.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old August 24 2008, 11:16 PM   #144
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Xeris wrote: View Post
ToddCam wrote: View Post
On the other hand, references to languages like "Cardassian" or "Vulcan" really get on my nerves. I don't speak "Human" or even "Terran."
Trek portrays these races/cultures as having adopted one language as a planetary one. On Earth, the three most spoken languages today (in order) are Arabic, Chinese and English, but by the 24th century English has been adopted as the Federation Standard. It's a plot device, nothing more.
Not to be a Grammar Slammer Bammer about this, but (regardless of the definition of "spoken," whether it includes only native speakers or also secondary speakers) Arabic is never listed in the top three.

Native-speaker lists usually list Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish as the top three, while secondary-speaker lists bump English up to second place...

...and of course, talking about "Chinese" as a language (rather than separating out distinct languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese) is an example of the very thing you're complaining about.
The United Nations list of approximate number of native speakers across the planet by the millions. And it is Arabic, Chinese (including all regional and national dialects) then English. If you find a more accurate list then I will gladly stand corrected.
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Old August 24 2008, 11:24 PM   #145
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
On the other hand, we use the name "Chinese" for both the language and the people of the country we call "China," even though the natives of that country use three different names for those things (the country is Zhonghua, the people the Han, and the primary language putonghua)*.

*Well, actually there are multiple names used for any one of those things, but I'm simplifying.
yep, very much so.

the primary language is zhongwen, hanyu, or something else I forgot (wen and yu both means language), putonghua is just the word for how it's spoken.

Xeris wrote: View Post
The Irish, Scottish and Welsh all have their own name for the language itself. for example, the Welsh speak cymraeg - but English people call it Welsh because we call the country Wales. In cymraeg, Wales is called Cymru.
I'm guessing what you described here is what Andrew meant. France-francaise, deutschland-deutsch, zhonggue-zhongwen, etc.


TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
...and of course, talking about "Chinese" as a language (rather than separating out distinct languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese) is an example of the very thing you're complaining about.
actually I rather say my first language is chinese than mandarin, because mandarin is the spoken form of the language, not the language. and it's also not my first spoken language, which is what those forms ask for.

I'm guessing Mandarin/putonghua is to Chinese what Queen's English is to the English. the difference between the various dialects in Chinese is much bigger though, I found a lot of the Japanese pronounciation of hanzi or kanji is a lot similar to Mandarin than Cantonese (4000km away) or Shanghai dialect's pronounciation (2000km away) of the same characters. years of Opera (the 100+ types of opera in China are all in local dialects) means I'm pretty good with the dialects, but it always take a while to figure one out. thank goodness for the written language!
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Old August 25 2008, 01:22 AM   #146
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Andrew Harris wrote: View Post
I lived in Prague for five years, and the Czechs speak Czech...

For that matter, the Germans speak German, the Japanese speak Japanese, the English speak English, the Russians speak Russian, the French speak French...
No, the Češi speak čeština, die Deutschen speak Deutsch, the Nihonjin speak Nihongo, the English speak English, the Russkie speak russkiy yazyk, and le Franšais speak franšais.
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Old August 25 2008, 06:44 AM   #147
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Xeris wrote: View Post
TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Xeris wrote: View Post
Trek portrays these races/cultures as having adopted one language as a planetary one. On Earth, the three most spoken languages today (in order) are Arabic, Chinese and English, but by the 24th century English has been adopted as the Federation Standard. It's a plot device, nothing more.
Not to be a Grammar Slammer Bammer about this, but (regardless of the definition of "spoken," whether it includes only native speakers or also secondary speakers) Arabic is never listed in the top three.

Native-speaker lists usually list Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish as the top three, while secondary-speaker lists bump English up to second place...

...and of course, talking about "Chinese" as a language (rather than separating out distinct languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese) is an example of the very thing you're complaining about.
The United Nations list of approximate number of native speakers across the planet by the millions. And it is Arabic, Chinese (including all regional and national dialects) then English. If you find a more accurate list then I will gladly stand corrected.
Considering this is the International Year of Languages, the United Nations website was uniformly unhelpful is giving me these figures. :/

The only copy of the UNESCO estimates I could find online is here, and it lists Arabic fifth.

"Arabic" is a problematic term itself, since (much like "Chinese") not all languages in that family are mutually intelligible, and I (at least) am one of the people who has trouble thinking of dialects as part of the same language if they can't understand each other.

Here's some discussion about this problem.

Anyway, the point is that there are some cultures whose word(s) for their language/nationality are the same (franšais, portuguŕs), some who do not (see extensive discussion of distinctions made in China), and some who depend on the situation (I'm Canadian and speak mainly English, but a citizen of England wouldn't need two different words).

So...would you consider a character who didn't adhere to these distinctions unlikeable?
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Old August 25 2008, 07:43 AM   #148
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
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I lived in Prague for five years, and the Czechs speak Czech...
No, the Češi speak čeština...
Sorry, but I have to punch your punk card here. As I mentioned, I lived in Prague for five years, so you might imagine that I speak a bit more Czech than Wikipedia.

You're making the typical mistake of someone who's unfamiliar with the language. Czech has one of those crazy, tortuous systems of cases, genders and declension, in which the suffix of the word constantly changes based on its position and use in the sentence--whether it's the subject or object, or the genetive case, the vocative case, etc. etc.--there's actually 21 different potential suffix forms for each word.

Thus, "I speak Czech" is "mluvim cesky".

"I am Czech"is "jsem Cech."

The "Czech Republic" is "Ceska republika."

A Czech-English dictionary is "Cesko-anglicky slovnik".

The "Czech Railways" are "Ceske zeleznice".

And on and on, up to 21 times. In English, it's spelled the same every time. In Czech, they're spelled different each time.

But the thing to remember, and what most Americans don't immediately fathom, is that in Czech, even when they have different suffixes: They're all considered the same word.

You might very well be reading a news story and see the name "Billa Clintona"; because the changing suffixes (which also sometimes eliminate the letters before them) are not considered to be actual parts of the word. It's not like English (such as, for example, with late-later-lately), in which the suffixes create actual, different words. In fact, Czech words conjugated into their various suffixes don't even appear in dictionaries.

So, yes, the Czechs really do speak Czech. Honest, swear-to-God. And calling them "the Češi" is incorrect, because the Czech language doesn't have a word for "the".

Just something to consider in the context of a discussion about how one cultural bias (America, Federation, poser-academia) inflicts itself on other cultures.
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Old August 25 2008, 07:55 AM   #149
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
"Arabic" is a problematic term itself, since (much like "Chinese") not all languages in that family are mutually intelligible, and I (at least) am one of the people who has trouble thinking of dialects as part of the same language if they can't understand each other.
ah, but the written language is the same so we can understand each other.

seriously though, sometimes there's more in common between English and German than some of the chinese dialects.
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Old August 25 2008, 10:10 AM   #150
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Rosalind wrote: View Post
TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
"Arabic" is a problematic term itself, since (much like "Chinese") not all languages in that family are mutually intelligible, and I (at least) am one of the people who has trouble thinking of dialects as part of the same language if they can't understand each other.
ah, but the written language is the same so we can understand each other.

seriously though, sometimes there's more in common between English and German than some of the chinese dialects.
Because English is derived from Old High German, so that would make sense
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