Canada’s Mysterious Silence—SpecGram Wire Services SpecGram Vol CLX, No 3 Contents An Auxiliary Collection of Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

The Linguistic Singularity and the Linguistic Multiverse

by Mikio Chachu
New City University of York

The tripe piles higher and deeper in the pages of SpecGram, a journal I once respected, as so-called “linguophysicists” barely worthy enough to utter the name of our noble profession spew out wholly inappropriate and wildly unsupported theories of Big Linguistic Crunches, Rips, Freezes, and Bounces. While the immature pretenders to cosmolinguistics paddle around in the shallow end, the true deep thinkers have deeply pondered the deep future. Their deep conclusions are deeply profound.

As the fate of any one language has little bearing on the ultimate fate of the linguoverse, similarly the fate of any one linguoverse has little bearing on the ultimate fate of the infinite linguistic multiverse. The human linguoverse may or may not crunch, rip, freeze, or bounce, given enough time. But that time is not to be given. The rapid rate of progress in computational linguistics, biolinguistics, linguogenetic engineering, and xenolinguistics all presage a linguistic singularity. Increased progress itself increases the rate of further progress, until we reach the point of effectively infinite change in finite timedriven by the very networked neologistic energy Freeson recognizes but underestimates in his Linguistic Big Bounce scenario. Some may recognize the singularity approaching, but in all likelihood they will have only days or possibly only hours of advanced notice. Most will not see it coming, and the very nature of the human linguoverse will change unrecognizably, literally overnight.

While the very nature of a linguistic singularity implies that we cannot speak intelligibly about post-singularity conditions, some trends are clear. Biolinguistic and linguogenetic engineering experiments currently underway will lead to new forms of communicationhuman, post-human, or non-humanunbound by the constraints of Universal Grammar and representing a forking of the human linguoverse into a linguistic multiverse. If we survive in our physical reality long enough, we will encounter other sentient, communicative beings, who will likewise fork the linguoverse, possibly shattering it into nearly infinite parallel linguistic multiverses.

Each of the linguistic multiverses will have its own parallel history. Some close to our own, where a parallel version of English exists, except that it is ergative and there is only one basic color term for blue and green. Other offshoots will largely be unlike anything we have imagined, or even can imagine. Each parallel linguoverse will have its own Universal Grammar. In some, the parameters will support wild diversity of languages, in others, monotonous conformity. Each will experience its own crunch, rip, freeze, or bounce, but not before spawning an infinite multitude of parallel linguoverses, the existence of which dwarf the importance of their parent linguoverses.

In short, what we speak now does not matter, as it will pass away come the singularity. Whether we continue to speak in the future will not matter then, as it is but the tiniest sliver of the linguomultiverse. Be humble, arrogant language-user. Be silent, and reflect.

Canada’s Mysterious SilenceSpecGram Wire Services
An Auxiliary Collection of Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira
SpecGram Vol CLX, No 3 Contents