TOAST’s Web “Thing”

Pragmatic theorem of linguistics and modern languages (work in progress)

Below is an idea I had.  Come up with a set of fundamental phrases (minimal set) to be able to function at certain levels in a foreign language.  Most definately a draft work in progress.

Started 01/12/2007

Paragmatic theory of linguistics and modern languages.

It is my goal to formulate this without reference to any external theories / thinking.

Contextual

It is my hope that this framework can be applied to all languages.  That there is enough common ground such that this should be workable.

Possible this theory can only be applied to modern languages, or languages of the first world.

For instance, the phrase “Where can I find drinking water” is of critical importance in a desert, but not in a modern city.  The phrase “Where is the toilet” is very useful

Possibly modern languages will form a basis for this, with lanaguages for developing nations as an extension.  Traditional and tribal languages one would assume are even more contextual in terms of what is needed to survive in a particular environment.  A group of reindeer herders would have little in common with a group of hunter-gatherers.

Removal of grammar.
This framework is independant of grammar usage

I am still working on a numbering system for this, so please bare with me.

Initial basis:

Layer 0 – Essentials, minimal functionality.

With this amount of language, one can function in a city for a short trip or stopover (24 hours).  Contains six phrases.  Learning time – 30 minutes.

Section 0.0 – Thank You

0.0.0:  Thank you
This is the most important phrase in a modern language.  Not only is it a courtesy, but can be used as a conversation “terminator”, a please for “goodbye”, a proxy for “please” and is used very often in daily usage.  It is awkward to express this via body language in a universal way.

Section 0.1 – Excuse Me

0.1.0:  Excuse me (to get past someone)
A very useful phrase and ranked very highly as this is impossible to communicate otherwise without physical contact (to someone facing away from you), even if you do get someone’s attention, then you are left with somehow trying to explain the purpose of your contact, which may be regarded as offensive.

0.1.1:  Excuse me (to get someone’s attention)
Also used as a conversation starter.

0.2.0:  Goodbye
May be higher on the list, but the phrase “thank you” can act as a proxy

0.3.0: Please

0.4.0: How much (money is this/that ?)

Layer 1 Emergencies

Not as high as survivability, as most of the below can be communicated by screaming.  In such an emerceny, carrying a phrase list would be more important, as in a crisis, one may forget their language drill.  Best carry an energency card with this, other details, phone numbers, locations etc.

Seldom will these be used, however, when they are used, they could save a life.

Please

One might initially assume the phrase “Hello” would be more important.  In fact, the phrase for “Hello” is next to useless.  By saying “Hello”, the other party will automatically assume ”

Similarly, the terms “Help !”, “Police !”, “Fire !”, “Danger !”, “Thief !” are seldom used.

Layer 2: Conversing:
Hello:
Taxi !
I do not speak (XXXXXX)
Do you speak english ?
My name is:
I am (nationality)
This is my (Partner, wife, son, daughter, pet)

Layer 3: Clarification and filling in the gaps:
“May I have a…”
“Can you please repleat thiat”.
“I do not understand”

Layer 4: Numbers

Layer 5: Transport and directions

Layer 6: Food and Drink

Layer 7: Some constructs

Layer 8: Some nouns (buying a few things)

Layer 9: Some verbs (big/small/red)

Layer 10: About you

Layer 11: Some more nouns, telling the time

Layer 12:  Some more constructs

Layer nn:  Swearing  (Fuck, shit, piss etc.)

Layer mm:  Sex (Penis, tits etc.)

Layer oo:  Extreta (Urination, defecation etc.  Blowing nose)

Layer pp:  Drugs (Heroin, snort etc.)

Layer qq:  Weather (Penis, tits etc.)

Layer rr:  Sport (Urination, defecation etc.)

Layer ss:  News Headlines (Heroin, snort etc.)

Layer tt:  Love/Romance  (Fuck, shit, piss etc.)

Layer uu:  Biology (Kidneys, tripe, balls etc.)

Reading:
– Exit
– Male / Female

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2 Comments »

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