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Have you ever Wondered??????????

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:01 pm
by Sir Alex
If money does not grow on trees!!!!!! Then Why do banks have Branches? :shock:

Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer? :roll:

Can blind people really see there dreams??? Do they dream? :lol:

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:14 pm
by Samara
I have often wondered whether language limits the ability of the mind to conceptualise new technology? For instance, if the language doesn't have a word to describe say, 'silicon chip' how much further can you go? Having Russian parents, and what little of the language I recall, I know that there just weren't words in the Russian language to describe some modern western concepts. ie older example; 'Tank' in the western sense we all know what it means in the military sense, but the Russian language had to adopt 'tank' into their language because the concept couldn't be described so simply.
Any thoughts?

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:22 pm
by Jerry
Samara, now I know where your name comes from. This is a very interesting post.

Tank is an odd word because it doesn't decribe the vehicle. It was a code word (devised by Winston Churchill, I think) to disguise the weird things when being transported about in England before being deployed on the western front in 1917. Otherwise what word would have been used? H.G. Wells, when describing tanks as a future development, called them 'land ironclads' in his story (as distinct from armoured warships). The Germans called them panzerkampfwagen (armoured fighting vehicle), a hell of a mouthful. Russian could have done the same, but opted for the simplified tank. And of course, so did we. We could have called German armoured divisions just that (we had the concept), but normally used the word 'panzers'.

There is always controversy when a national language takes on large numbers of loan words. In Welsh the effect is a bit comical as words like 'television' keep cropping up. The French get worked up about 'unnecessary' anglo-saxon loan words - 'le week-end' - and many English people deplore the large quantities of Americanisms flooding English speech. Words like: 'Cool; guy; date; I guess; grand (money) were all around in the 1940s-50s (like snog and dosh) but were never adopted until very recently.

There were plenty in Russia in the 18-19th centuries who are appalled to see native words overwhelmed by German imports and the same goes with regard to Anglo-Saxon words now. I'm sure your parents will be as depressed as I am that in newspapers at least, the lovely Russian word for girl 'devushka' (stress on first syllable) is often replaced by 'gerla'.

Elaine will know more about your particular point, as she is a scientific translator, but Russian has no linguistic problem in dealing with advanced scientific concepts. Whether the mud men of Papua New Guinea would be so competent, I rather doubt.


Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:48 pm
by Jerry
As Tommy Steele once sang

'There's a little man in the fridge...

His job was to switch the 'lightie' on. The freezer would be too cold for him


Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:14 pm
by Elaine H
My freezer has a light in it :lol:

As for the language thing, well, Jerry you pretty much summed it up already.
Basically one of two things happens. Either the term used in the language of the country that developed the technology, or equipment, or whatever, is adopted and becomes part of other languages too, or, if that is not viable for whatever reason (like the word is too long, or cannot be pronounced), then we simply create a new word in our own language that somehow conveys what we are talking about. I have created a number of them myself over the years, mainly for customers who have developed brand new technology, for which a name did not yet exist.
The adoption of foreign words into a language is nothing new. In fact all modern languages have evolved from a mixture of other languages and will continue to do so. But as technology and trade and travel are becoming more and more global, this lingual integration is happening at a faster rate than in the past. Who knows, perhaps one day, we may all end up speaking some version of one and the same language.

In my opinion, language does not limit the ability of the mind to conceptualise new technology. It complements it. Think of it this way, just a few decades ago, there was no such thing as a silicon chip. Then suddenly, someone developed the silicon chip and a word had to be created for it. BUT - who really knew what a silicon chip was at that time? Only those who had created it and given it that name. Now, of course, we all know what a silicon chip is. Why do we know that? Simply because we have been exposed to it, or it has been explained to us in some form or another. It's as simple as that. And as it was presented to and explained to others in other countries, they then created their own name for it in their own language.
As such, it is not language that allows us to conceptualize technology, but exposure to the technology itself. Language is secondary.

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:46 pm
by Samara
Wow, this is really interesting. Thank you for your input. Being born in Australia, and being brought up as an Aussie girl, my family rarely spoke the language. I'm not quite sure why, perhaps because they came to Australia in the late seventies during the heights of the cold war, and didn't want to be distinguished as 'Commies', perhaps they wished to leave the old country behind and start afresh?? So, my understanding of the language is limited to the absolute basics, (hello, good bye, please, thankyou etc)
Since my mother died 3 years ago, the family has become very divided. My brother went bush, and my dad spends a lot of time overseas. I'm probably closer to my dad's brothers family, they came to Australia about a year ago. They too are trying ahrd to become 'Aussie'. Which is weird too. Many other cultures who come to Australia seem to want to hang on to a piece of their former lives and culture. Not my family. I wonder whether its because the great country that was the Soviet Union, has now crumbled, turned in on itself, and is no longer the stong and proud nation it once was. Dunno, never discussed it with the family, just a passing thought.

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 12:49 am
by memor
Samara English changing all the time.

We use word "ROBOT" it quite common word but it really Czech word meaning "WORKER."

I believe in Australia you use the word "DUNNY" for toilet. This word in common usage in UK from middle ages onwards till 19th century.

It strange you still use word and not go onto something else.

Ozzy language in doldrums or am I wrong ?

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:33 pm
by sherri
Don't fret, memor. Aussie language isn't in the doldrums. It's alive and kicking, with expressions apparently not found elsewhere. So my friend from Surrey says, anyway. She likes to pick out all the different words etc.
But dunny lives on, it is true. When we like something, we stick to it. :wink:
Mind you, it also has other names.
In US, on the other hand, it doesn't seem to have a name at all. My US friend only ever called it the bathroom.
She came to visit me on a holiday,asked for the bathroom,I directed her there and she came back to say it was only a.... bathroom! Not what she was after at all. LOL
Toilets are often in their own separate rooms here.

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:40 pm
by Elaine H
In the US, they call it the John. However, that is considered rather vulgar, so they don't use it widely.
Be thankful your friend asked for the bathroom. Here, they are normally very conservative and ask for the restroom. The first time someone asked me where the restroom was, I didn't have a clue what they wanted. LOL

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:39 pm
by Bushmermaid
So do American and English people use the word TOILET at all?

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:47 pm
by baldy.smith
Here in Geordie land it was always called the netty. These days it gets called the Loo or the more vulgar refer to it as the bog. The word toilet is seen on the doors of most netties, bogs or loos over here. In Italy it used to be called the gabinetto but now it is il bagno (the bathroom). If you ask me though; it is all a load of crap :lol: :lol: :lol:

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:07 am
by brian c
Bushmermaid-----normaly to describe where they work----as in "This place is a ******"

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:58 am
by Scrappy
Its called going to the loo... 8)



Re: Have you ever Wondered??????????

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:16 am
by Axeman
I've always wondered.

If we all look at a field of grass we all see green......right?

We all call it green.....right?

But what if I see blue and you see yellow and someone else sees red.

What makes us think we all see green?? the colour.....we might all call it green, but I might see it as a different colour to you, but call it green.

You see it as another colour, but call it green..........................Oh.

Ehmmm.......where's me p*lls. :bduh:

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:03 pm
by mrp
I've thought about that before, and if you have a complete mirror image to me, or a complete shift in the colour wheel, I find it difficult to see how you could show it.

Maybe everyone sees in different colours, but everyone sees all colous as different so there is no real difference when we see something happen (like a shark eating a seal), you may see blood the colour of "red", but to you, if you say my "red", you'd say that grass is that colour!

I can't think of a way to prove we all see the same or roughly the same spectrum.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:07 pm
by brian c
My son, being colour blind sees green as brown.

But to him grass and traffic lights are still green

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:17 pm
by mrp
What I mean is if you have a colour wheel, and you shift it in one direction so you recognise just as many colours as everyone else.

How do you know your and my colous are the same?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:57 pm
by memor
The proper English name for going Poo's or Pee's is

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:33 pm
by Bushmermaid
Before I send my little ones to bed I tell them to "go to the toilet"
What do the English and Americans say to their kids?
I am trying to establish if the word toilet is used at all in your vocab.

As far as the colour thing goes.....I have also wondered the same is the green I see the same green that someone else sees? Is there a test available to determine this?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:39 pm
by Elaine H
The word toilet is not used much in America. They'd tell their kids to go to the bathroom. OR, if the kids are younger, they'd tell them to "go potty". Now that has a different meaning in British English of course, where to go potty also means to go crazy.