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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Maybe this is me being ethnocentric (with a mix of naivete), but why can't we standardize on one language? Is spoken language like programming languages in that regard, where some tasks are better done in C++, some in Perl, and some in Assembly?

    I won't be so naive to suggest that English be the standard language - after all, Spanish is more widely spoken than English.

    I can sympathize with the loss of a language, but I suggest that Darwin's Rule of "Survival of the Fittest" applies. The outgoing langua

    • Zeroth off, thanks for playing devil's advocate. It lets me talk more, which I always enjoy.

      First off, "survival of the fittest" is the fishiest of theories. Without getting into its "unfalsifiability" problems, it's just plain tautological: it defines fittest as just a property of whatever survives, which ends up saying nothing more than that the survivors survived. But moving on:

      Second off, I see nothing wrong with a world where every person can speak English. But I see everything wrong with a worl

      • Just to provoke more thought: I (humbly) disagree with your assessment of "Survival of the Fittest." In your perception, SotF is an explanation of a result that has already taken effect. I see it more of a basic law of nature, which predicts trends as well, although I agree that we usually can't comprehend "fittest" until it has already survived. Fittest is not what merely survives (though that is true), but it also describes something that will survive the test of time.

        I'm short on brainpower right now, so I'll make up an example. Let's say within the possum species, there are two varieties: one that plays dead and another that fights back, both when threatened. Now let's say the predator of the possum (for some reason) only attacks/eats "live" possums. So over time, the variety that fights back diminishes, either by predatory practices or by converts (smart possums!).

        So you would say playing dead is the fittest for the possum species (and I would agree), but I would further state that "fittest" was defined before it survived by the laws of nature that were in place.

        Furthermore, I would assert that if we were in a world where every person could speak English (or Spanish or some one language), but also had the capability to speak other languages, we would find the secondary languages diminishing over time until they were gone altogether (keeping those "jewels" we already talked about).

        I also don't comprehend the using different spoken languages for different tasks, but I blame that on inexperience. I was brought up on English and took the mandatory classes on French, Latin and Spanish, but the focus of all those classes were to convert my thoughts into voice using that particular language. But here's the kicker - I think in English. I don't have enough experience/depth in the different languages to think otherwise. So my perception of other languages is merely to take my raw English thoughts and run a conversion.

        Maybe it's time for me to get back into the ring and tackle a language hard-core.


        PS: I think what I'm trying to say about SotF is that it depends on the "world" (socioeconomic and nature factors/laws) that surrounds the target and can be pre-defined before it survives.

        • `Fittest', or more correctly, `best fitted' is precisely just those things which have survived. Evolutionary theory also doesn't really apply here as a language is subject to so many directed processes. Groups of people try to keep their language alive, and languages don't change through random processes in the same way. While it's interesting to note the parallels between the processes through which languages change over time, and those which affect the biological sphere, it is a little broken.