Language

A long time ago we discussed why space settlement should choose an artificial language as their official language. In short our arguments are as follows.

First the population of space settlements are most likely to be multi-ethnic, and choosing a natural language as the official language will give an unjustifiable advantage to the native speakers of that language. Hence every ethnic group will propose their own language as the official one. Consequently ethnic diversity will lead to ethnic rivalry, which will ultimately undermine social unity in such Space Settlement.

Multilingualism will not solve this problem, since those groups whose language is not recognized will feel alienated and they will start a campaign to have their language recognized. But the more language are given the status of official language, the more the purpose of an official language, enabling mutual communication among citizens, is undermined.

By opting for a single artificial language, which is not associated with any particular ethnic group, as the official language, all this problems are solved.

Secondly there is the issue of cultural identity. Since the purpose of space colonization is the establishment of a new society with desired social reforms. By its choice for an artificial language, a Space Settlement puts emphasis on its independence from other nations and cultures.

If a Space Settlement would opt for an existing natural language, outsiders might associate that Settlement and its policies with a certain culture. A choice for English as official language, would suggest that this Space Settlement is somehow associated with British or American imperialism or its commitment to casino capitalism. For the international reputation of a Space Settlement it is best to avoid any of such associations.

Somewhat ironically this also means that the most known artificial language, Esperanto, is probably a bad choice. The Esperanto-community has developed over the course of more than a century a reasonably large community. Generally Esperantists are highly idealistic and very committed to the language, but the Esperanto community has also developed a certain culture which is treated with a certain disdain by non-Esperantists. Further the emphasis on Esperanto as an international language, is quite at odds with choosing it as a national language for a Space Settlement.

For this reason it’s likely that Space Settlements with different ideologies, will also choose different languages in order to stress their independence from each other.

Though most people will probably agree with these reason, many will remain skeptical whether it the introduction of an artificial language will be successful. The first objection might be that it would require people to learn a new language, but this will also be true in case of a choice for a natural language, at least for those immigrants who aren’t yet affluent in the chosen language.

Further the artificial language could be constructed in such way, that’s it easy to be learned by as much as possible people. Besides learning the official language of a Space Settlement will also serve as a test for the willingness of immigrants to assimilate in this new societies.

One of the more interesting methods to learn a new language is the direct method, which unlike traditional methods does not require any knowledge of the language of the student. This method is suitable for both children and adults, and it allows schools to teach in the official language even if the children have no prior understanding of this language. However, in order to ensure that all children have a sufficient comprehension of the national language at a young age, we suggest to make kindergarten compulsory.

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