They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by indolover, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    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.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    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.
     
  4. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Roman plumbing was actually quite advanced -- unless you're big on privacy.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    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! :lol:
     
  6. Captain Rob

    Captain Rob Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ Must be the Pompeii privy.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Yup - the medieval times would not be the standard against which the neo-Roman wannabes would evaluate things...

    You'd have to be quite the optimist to find joy in the statement "well, at least it's better than in the middle ages"!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Even the most traditional Society for Creative Anachronism member prefers indoor plumbing when it's available, refrigeration, and cooking on a stove! (that's a medieval-era re-creation society, btw)


    Anyway, on the topic of languages and universal translators:

    "Shaka, when the walls fell."

    You've got the words, but NO context. Your universal translator is not much help in this kind of situation, and you don't have Deanna Troi handy to tell you what the alien is feeling. Of course we know how the episode turned out, but you've got to admit that most people would have been screwed in that situation.
     
  9. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    The universal translater had no trouble working on the Companion. Her contexts would be even ore alien than in Darmok. Spock did have to tweak it a bit but he did so with the basic tools found on the shuttlecraft. It's not like he needed the ship's computer. It even picked up on the gender of an energy being. Quite a trick.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Probably the UT is helped by the fact that its users expect certain results, and the UT is quite qualified to read them. The Companion probably has no gender of any sort, but making her female meets the expectations of the users. Traduttore, traditore - translations are always lies, but nobody really minds.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Psi'a Meese

    Psi'a Meese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I question that the language being shared amongst a multicultural Federation is English at all. In Archer's time, maybe. But by the 23rd or the 24th century it's more likely something of a new language was developed by linguists from the five founding worlds. Perhaps rooted in Latin and other alien languages to become a Federation Standard.

    It just looks like English when read from computers or starship hulls. And sounds like English when heard for our purposes of storytelling.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Esperanto ?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that the English language has been mentioned numerous times in Trek. Captain Christopher, Khan, and Zefram Cochrane all explicitly said that Kirk and his crew spoke English. In "The Changeling," Chapel urged the mind-wiped Uhura to speak English rather than Swahili. McCoy referenced speaking "plain, non-Vulcan English" in "The Doomsday Machine." There are numerous references to English being spoken in Enterprise as well.

    TNG and DS9 never explicitly mentioned the language they were speaking, but 20th- and 21st-century Americans like the trio in "The Neutral Zone" and the characters in First Contact never had any trouble with comprehending either spoken language or text used aboard the Enterprise. In Voyager, "Message in a Bottle" has the Doctor say "In English!" when he's exasperated at another character's technobabble, and "Drone" has the character "One" refer to an "English adjective" in a sentence Seven speaks to him.
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPOLfbidOFA[/yt]
     

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