What Earth-centric language would need to change...

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by NewHeavensNewEarth, May 11, 2019.

  1. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If real-life Earth were to enter into an actual alliance with aliens, there's a good chance that we wouldn't be at the center of it.

    Because of Trek's Earth-centric perspective, lots of words & phrases are used that wouldn't fly in an actual alliance. What Earth-centric lingo would need to change in an actual alliance? I have a few examples:
    - "human rights" (as referring to non-humans)
    - "humanoid"
    - "Sector 001"
    - "Alpha Quadrant"
    - possibly the "24-hour" cycle
    - If some species live in space phenomena other than planets, "United Federation of PLANETS" wouldn't work either.
    - Words/titles/ranks/command structures taken from Earth's navies might not be used either.

    What are some words or phrases that you think would probably need tweaking or tossed out?
     
  2. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Klingons sure didn't like the phrase "human rights"...
     
  3. Abbey Halloween

    Abbey Halloween Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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  4. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Excellent choice. But that would first have to be addressed as a nation-centric issue. Aaaand I'm not so sure that humans could proficiently learn alien languages, especially if those aliens have extra mechanisms for making vocalizations (or communicating by other means altogether). A universal translator really probably would be the solution.
     
  5. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I take it you meant, "what phrases and terms would have to change", not which tongues...
     
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  6. Abbey Halloween

    Abbey Halloween Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    But the whole premise is based on the fact that contemporary American English is the default language in Star Trek. Even if English were the dominant human language 300-400 years from now, it would likely have evolved into something that wouldn't sound so familiar to us.
     
  7. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Right, that's Star Trek. And it goes without saying that any human language can be learned by any human, but the basic biology of actual aliens would almost certainly involve aspects of communication that we wouldn't be able to effectively mimic without the same biological distinctions. We take for granted lips, tongue, and every part of vocalizations we routinely make, but those things wouldn't necessarily be a given across the universe.

    I make some folks mad by how staunchly I DON'T believe in aliens or any kind of life beyond Earth's, but it's something fun to think about. ;)
     
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  8. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    - "human rights" (as referring to non-humans).
    With a interstellar alliance composed of hundreds of species, it would make sense that there would not be a "one size fits all" list of rights for all species. And there would be specific rights and protections that applied to different species. Rather than creating a list of rights that the different species would then have to conform to (like it or not).

    And maybe rights that only extend to a certain cultural group.

    So like there are "Human rights."

    - "humanoid"
    The universal translator might rend that differently for each species. And what would you use instead?

    - "Sector 001"
    Used purely as a navigational term, it would be fine. Sector zero zero one was the initial area of the Federation, it's not like it's call "Earth sector." As subsequent areas were added with the growth of the Federation, they would be labeled with a non-judgemental number, and not the identifier of a particular species name or star system.

    - "Alpha Quadrant"
    Should be dropped all together, using a quarter of the entire galaxy as a meaningful reference is silly. At eight thousand lightyears in some dimension the Federation is a tiny fraction of one of these quarters.
    At least on the Human dominated ships and bases. Aboard a Vulcan dominated starship would English be spoken at all? I think not.

    Plus, I've watched Star Trek in Spanish.
    No Laura, he said tongues and that's what he meant.
     
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  9. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Language" meaning "lingo," but the other definition is a fine issue to explore as well. In place of "humanoid," it would probably be something dealing with number of appendages/limbs like BPBA (Bipedal Biarmular). :bolian:
     
  10. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    I feel like this is mostly a matter for the UT and the programmers thereof. I'd say "humanoid" in English but it would get rendered as whatever the Klingon word is for "Klingonoid" to a Klingon listener. Or in words that explain the concept to a species that doesn't have a single word for it.
     
  11. Verteron

    Verteron Lux in tenebris lucet Rear Admiral

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    The word terraform is used in Star Trek but if you think about it, means "make like Earth". Earth is a nice example of an M-class world but there are plenty of others. It's revealed in Enterprise that M stands for Minshara (a Vulcan word), so much more appropriate in-universe would be Minsharaform, or M-form (for short).

     
  12. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Makes sense, although "terra" really means land and earth with the lowercase "e." All the same, "landforming" isn't specific at all, so the term would need tweaking for that reason, too.
     
  13. seigezunt

    seigezunt Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Man.
     
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  14. Defiler-Of-Redshirts

    Defiler-Of-Redshirts Commander Red Shirt

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    Didn't you know? In Star Trek every alien species speaks a highly erudite Queen's English with either an American or British accent. Roddenberry once joked about it, "Your TV speaker is the universal translator."

    The idea that a universal translator can read alien mind patterns (even aliens who have never seen humans) and instantly translate their language to English really does stretch credibility with me. I'll buy it for the sake of storytelling convenience but it can hardly be called realistic.
     
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  15. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That would first have to be addressed as a gender-centric/patriarchal issue. ;)
     
  16. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd say that quadroarticular, tetrarticular or similar would be a reasonable standard rendering (based on four limbs, bilateral could be added as a qualifier if necessary).

    As far as the idea that English is the main 'human' language, I think there is more logic to this than not, particularly given that aviation pilots are legalled required to be fluent in English, "Seaspeak" - the internation maritime 'language' mandated by the IMO, uses English as a base, and it's also one of the two most common languages of science and international politics - the other being French - so most of the major players of a 'unification project' would be familiar with it.

    However, I think there's a better argument vis-a-vis the idea that - like "Seaspeak" - "Earth Standard" wouldn't necessarily be entirely intelligible to non-speakers even if they are English speakers as some of the odd "mispronunications" would probably have been stripped out (a good example would be the English Loughborough - which is pronounced "Luff-Burah" but logically should be either "Luff-Boruff" or "Lah-Burah").
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  17. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Of course, an attempt was already made with the TNG intro when they changed it to "where no one has gone before". But I suppose hive-mind species and the like could still feel discriminated against ....
     
  18. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Where No Entit(ies)y Have/Has/Will Go(ne)/Is Before

    (Don't rule out species who experience time as non-linear or who time travel.) :lol:
     
  19. Nakita Akita

    Nakita Akita Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Isn't that a descriptor for human male?
    I would suspect that if there actually were alien beings, there could be more than two biological forms for the creation of offspring.
    So, in general I would think that the Universal Translator would state whatever would be appropriate for the listener.

    I think the genius concept of Universal Translator pretty much renders this discussion mute.
     
  20. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, only you can generally be pretty sure entities like the Q have been there. Also, often the 'going where no one has gone before' involves contact with a new alien species who could be offended the same way people are offended by the remark that Columbus discovered America ...

    So perhaps the safest option would be to simply say to boldly go .... somewhere. Also much better covers the general spirit of the series, when they are ferrying diplomats from and to known worlds, once again.
     
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