Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Human beings in our planetary society, our pale blue dot

I enjoy scientific literature that talks about "humans" and our "planet". Here are some examples of this from linguistics.

Human beings on our planet have, past and present, used a number of languages. 

From the description of the BCP 47 codes.

The Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech communities is the first classified inventory of the
linguasphere, the communicational environment which humankind has progressively extended around the globe since the invention of speech. 
(..)
The intended audience comprises not only specialists in linguistics and specific languages, but above all a general readership concerned with the future of humankind, and with the need to reflect on a collective global environment and a shared cultural heritage.
(..)
Every person is intimately involved with one or more languages as a central factor of their life on this "planet of speech", and everyone is already – or soon will be - directly affected by the greatest revolution and extension of the power of speech since the threshold of its original creation. 
(..)
 The chapters below are therefore devoted to complementary frameworks for the consideration of the languages of the world, and of speech as a global phenomenon. These are: Chapter 1, which presents a conceptual framework, based on the activity, the structure and the content of speech, viewed as a planetary phenomenon 
(..)
Volume Two comprises an annotated classification of over 30,000 languages and dialects spoken during the 20th century, providing a complete transnational system of linguistic reference for the documentation, study and continued exploration of humankind as a planetary society. 

From the description of the Linguasphere-project

As Cosmos is being remade with Neil deGrasse Tyson, I am reminded by the words of the original series and the late Carl Sagan

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. 

Earth. Planetary society. Humans. Taste those words, doesn't it feel wonderful?


.. If you ever wondered why physicists/mathematicians and linguists get on so well.. perhaps it's because we represent the epicness of the natural sciences and human sciences respectively. Epicness or hybris, I'm still not sure at times.

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