One of the sillier ideas of modern linguistics is that one language is as good as another, that no language is clearly superior to any other. Acceptance of this ridiculous theory forces us into such positions as denying that the Deep South dialect of American English is an abomination, or refusing to condemn Russian for its preposterously high level of palatalization. Obviously, then, the canard of linguistic equality has to be abandoned by anyone wanting to be a realistic student of language; luckily, more and more linguists are abandoning it. Hence, it is now possible to begin elementary work in meaningful typological classification of languages: not typology which restricts itself to uninteresting structural description without value judgments, but typology which will allow us, ultimately, to rank all known human languages, living and dead, from best to worst.
This paper details the results of a preliminary analysis along these lines. We rated ten languages on a scale of one to ten in terms of six key parameters, namely simplicity of expression, clarity of expression, range of expressible content, ease of acquisition, writing system quality, and euphoniousness. Each rating was determined through very objective and highly scientific methodology which is probably too mathematical for the average linguist to understand. Standard statistical variants are indicated infra tabula. After rating by parameter, an overall score was assessed for each language based on the average of the six individual scores.
There can be no arguing with the validity of the scores assigned for each language in each category, but one could question the choice of parameters; for example, one might wish to add a poeticality rating. This is, we repeat, a preliminary analysis, and we welcome any and all suggested improvements.
|Dikembe Mutombo and John Thompson||Georgetown University|