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From: mary whalen <marewhalen@yahoo.com>
Subject: (urth)Linguistics in science fiction
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 11:28:24 

This is Sean Whalen (prion).

---John Bishop <jbishop@blkbrd.zko.dec.com> wrote:

> re _Snow_Crash_: it was fun, but the basic premise is just wrong;
> Sumerian is _not_ the first language--it's maybe the oldest one we
> have texts from, but that's different.  Plus it's not a "brain-stem
> hacking" tool; I've looked at it in passing and it's just another
> language.  As a BA in Linguistics, I've not yet seen SF which gets
> Linguistics right at all; the tendancy is to go wild on the wildest
> version of Whorf' hypothesis, or to get some basic concept wrong.
> As an MSc in Computer Science, it's the same for computing.  This
> is not to say that there couldn't be a tool for programming the mind
> via language (indeed, advertising and so on show that there _is_),
> but it's not going to be Sumerian.

This post is interesting, because I recently saw a book by Jack Vance
called _The Languages of Pao_, which said something like "The first
science fiction book based on the science of linguistics" on the
cover.  I have no idea what the story is about.  Since Wolfe says he
was influenced by Vance, particularly the Dying Earth books, I
wondered if there are any stories where someone has noticed any
emphasis on linguistics.

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