Well Rounded SF Planets

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Clark McIvor

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Aug 18, 2003, 4:45:34 PM8/18/03
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Hi all,

Someone in the "Nightfall" thread got me thinking ...

Most on-planet action in SF&F seems to take place in an area no more than
the size of England, with either a sea of nothing for the rest of the
planet, or there's an implicit assumption that the rest of the planet is
much the same.

But what if our intrepid heros, exploring a planet a bit like Earth a
couple of thousand years ago, had landed in ancient Egypt instead of the
east coast of Australia ? !! (or on the plains of the US, or in India, or
ancient China, or ancient Rome or Greece, or next to Stonehenge, or in
Alaska, or ...) What differences in friendliness (as in "the natives are
friendly"), language, artifacts, etc. etc.!

(... and I understand that in places around the world, _adjacent_ tribes
had/have different languages, beliefs, etc.)

So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)

Jane
--
clar...@gil.com.au : Clark McIvor - Brisbane, Australia

djinn

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Aug 18, 2003, 4:55:02 PM8/18/03
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"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in
news:01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo:


>
> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or
> hear about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity?
> (Not Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>
> Jane
> --
> clar...@gil.com.au : Clark McIvor - Brisbane, Australia
>

DeCamp had planets with multiple cultures and languages, particularly the
Viagens Interplanitarias stories. Krishna has monarchies, republics and
other types of government, as well as several distinct religions. ISTR a
situation where a character was learning a language only to find that it
wasn't spoken in the area where he would be traveling.

--
Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads thou hast fashioned—all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Aug 18, 2003, 5:40:24 PM8/18/03
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In article <01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>, Clark McIvor
<clar...@gil.com.au> writes

>Hi all,
>
>Someone in the "Nightfall" thread got me thinking ...
>
>Most on-planet action in SF&F seems to take place in an area no more than
>the size of England, with either a sea of nothing for the rest of the
>planet, or there's an implicit assumption that the rest of the planet is
>much the same.

The "sea of nothing" is acceptable in some cases; if it's irrelevant to
the story then if the author added material to show things are different
over the mountain range


>
>But what if our intrepid heros, exploring a planet a bit like Earth a
>couple of thousand years ago, had landed in ancient Egypt instead of the
>east coast of Australia ? !! (or on the plains of the US, or in India, or
>ancient China, or ancient Rome or Greece, or next to Stonehenge, or in
>Alaska, or ...) What differences in friendliness (as in "the natives are
>friendly"), language, artifacts, etc. etc.!
>
>(... and I understand that in places around the world, _adjacent_ tribes
>had/have different languages, beliefs, etc.)
>
>So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
>about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
>Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)

Asimov retconned Trantor - see Prelude to Foundation, if I recall the
correct novel, but the Foundation (and Robot) novels do have a tendency
to fall into the one culture per planet error.

Poul Anderson was usually fairly good about this, e.g. Fire Time.

Silverberg's Majipoor and Aldiss's Helliconia are designed as diverse
places - I think that they're both failures as world-building (other
persons' mileage does vary), but at least they're ambitious failures.

Vance, at least sometimes (Big Planet, etc), wrote diverse settings.

In fantasy, there's writers such as Eddings, Jordan and Feist, and
Moorcock (Elric novels). Maybe Donaldson as well, but I've expunged the
1 1/2 Covenant novels I've read from my memory (but I do recall thinking
it was rather derivative of Middle Earth).

Then, there's always my planet Dis, with a population of about
2,000,000, circa 200 languages, and perhaps 500 polities (mixture of
bands, chiefdoms and states, not that I really understand the technical
distinction).
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

Mike Schilling

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Aug 18, 2003, 8:00:55 PM8/18/03
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"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in message
news:01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo...

> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)

Mesklin.


Johnny1A

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Aug 18, 2003, 10:08:42 PM8/18/03
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"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in message news:<01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>...
> Hi all,
>
> Someone in the "Nightfall" thread got me thinking ...

>

> (... and I understand that in places around the world, _adjacent_ tribes
> had/have different languages, beliefs, etc.)
>
> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>
> Jane

That's not entirely fair.

It takes a lot of time to explore the full diversity of a planet, and
if most of the events of a story take place off a given world, an
impression or a local look may be all there's space and time for in
the book.

Also, if a world has been high-tech for a long time, or since
settlement, it probably _won't_ have the kind of cultural diversity
Earth has known. Even today, on Earth, the linguistic, cultural,
religious, and social diversity of past ages is decreasing, as the
'winning' examples of each spread and absorb or displace the others.
Already, it's thought that many still-used but fading languages will
be essentially extinct within another 100 years, for ex.

OTOH, there's no reason a high-tech world couldn't have its own
_kinds_ of diversity, and an entertaining story could be set exploring
such.

Shermanlee

Johnny1A

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Aug 18, 2003, 10:14:04 PM8/18/03
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Stewart Robert Hinsley <{$news$}@meden.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<d6XrITAIfUQ$Ew...@meden.demon.co.uk>...

It's not necessarily an error. If a world was settled by a relatively
homogenous group, and retained the technology that enabled
interstellar settlement to begin with, there's a fair chance it will
end up with one culture per world. There might little varying
details, but the overall shape is likely to be singular.

Consider England. At one time, Essex (East Saxons), Sussex (South
Saxons), Wessex (West Saxons), Kent, East Anglia, Mercia,
Northumberland, etc were separate political kingdoms, with their own
royal families, customs, laws, etc.
Mercia remained pagan long after Wessex was Christianized. The Saxon
society overlaid an older society that was a mixture of Roman and
native Briton people and ideas. Kent was something of a cultural
oddity amid the other Saxon states.

The Norse created the Danelaw, which had _very_ different customs than
the remaining independent Saxon areas, and different yet again from
the older Roman/Briton ways. The Normans brought in a different set
of Viking customs, intermixed with a very French mindset, and the
French language.

One thousand years later, what remains of all that diversity?

Shermanlee

Bill Woods

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:16:33 AM8/19/03
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Mike Schilling wrote:

Surely Mesklin counts as 'well flattened'.

--
Bill Woods

In California, we have a name for students
who believe in hard work, perseverance,
self-discipline and respect for authority: Nguyen.
-- Joanne Jacobs


Bill Woods

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:26:08 AM8/19/03
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Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote:

> In article <01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>, Clark McIvor
> <clar...@gil.com.au> writes
> >Hi all,
> >
> >Someone in the "Nightfall" thread got me thinking ...
> >
> >Most on-planet action in SF&F seems to take place in an area no more than
> >the size of England, with either a sea of nothing for the rest of the
> >planet, or there's an implicit assumption that the rest of the planet is
> >much the same.

Allegedly Jerry Pournelle summarized this failing:
"It was raining on Mongo that morning."

>
>
> The "sea of nothing" is acceptable in some cases; if it's irrelevant to
> the story then if the author added material to show things are different
> over the mountain range
> >
> >But what if our intrepid heros, exploring a planet a bit like Earth a
> >couple of thousand years ago, had landed in ancient Egypt instead of the
> >east coast of Australia ? !! (or on the plains of the US, or in India, or
> >ancient China, or ancient Rome or Greece, or next to Stonehenge, or in
> >Alaska, or ...) What differences in friendliness (as in "the natives are
> >friendly"), language, artifacts, etc. etc.!
> >
> >(... and I understand that in places around the world, _adjacent_ tribes
> >had/have different languages, beliefs, etc.)
> >
> >So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> >about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
> >Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>
> Asimov retconned Trantor - see Prelude to Foundation, if I recall the
> correct novel, but the Foundation (and Robot) novels do have a tendency
> to fall into the one culture per planet error.
>
> Poul Anderson was usually fairly good about this, e.g. Fire Time.

Anderson leapt to my mind for a different example:
_The Day of Their Return_. I was struck on first reading
by the variety of cultures and landscapes on a single planet.

To get the well-rounded effect, it's probably important
to build the world early on and then decide how your story
will exploit the possibilities, rather than writing only
those bits of background that are necessary to the story.

JoatSimeon

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:56:28 AM8/19/03
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>From: Bill Woods wwo...@popd.ix.netcom.com

>Anderson leapt to my mind for a different example: _The Day of Their Return_.
I was struck on first reading by the variety of cultures and landscapes on a
single planet.

-- Poul always remembered that a planet the size of Earth is a _big_ place.

Stargate SG1 did a takeoff on this -- a malfunction strands the team in an ice
cavern in Antarctica.

Major Carter manages to climb out onto the top of the ice sheet and then comes
back with the news: "It's an Ice Planet!"

Actually it's about 25 miles from the American scientific base...


>


Leif Magnar Kj|nn|y

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:55:19 AM8/19/03
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In article <01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>,

Clark McIvor <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote:
>
>So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
>about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
>Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)

Golter, from Banks' _Against a Dark Background_. And the rest of
that solar system. It's been home to interplanetary civilization for
thousands of years, every terraformable celestial body has been
terraformed, there have been multiple instances of just about every
cycle of civilization and barbarism you can imagine, and the state
of affairs in the "present day" is nothing if not pluralistic. The
story goes to several rather strange places.

--
Leif Kjønnøy, Geek of a Few Trades. http://www.pvv.org/~leifmk
Disclaimer: Do not try this at home.
Void where prohibited by law.
Batteries not included.

JoatSimeon

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:59:34 AM8/19/03
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You can make a good case for the probable result of a highly-advanced
technology on one planet being cultural homogeneity.

Earth is much less "multicultural" than it used to be, for exampe.

Eg., more than half the languages spoken 100 years ago are extinct, and
considerably more than half the remainder are moribund -- no longer being
learned by children.

Meanwhile, 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a continuation of
present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.

The same holds true with a lot of other things; building styles are much more
uniform than they were in 1903, as are clothes, food, economic systems, etc.

Give it a couple of centuries, and the logical end-product is a single global
culture, speaking English, with a few minor regional variations kept alive by
hobbyists and the sort of type who likes the SCA.

Krijn Mossel

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:54:22 AM8/19/03
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Johnny1A wrote:
> Stewart Robert Hinsley <{$news$}@meden.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<d6XrITAIfUQ$Ew...@meden.demon.co.uk>...
>
>>In article <01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>, Clark McIvor
>><clar...@gil.com.au> writes

<snippety>

>>>(... and I understand that in places around the world, _adjacent_ tribes
>>>had/have different languages, beliefs, etc.)
>>>
>>>So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
>>>about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
>>>Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>>
>>Asimov retconned Trantor - see Prelude to Foundation, if I recall the
>>correct novel, but the Foundation (and Robot) novels do have a tendency
>>to fall into the one culture per planet error.
>
>
> It's not necessarily an error. If a world was settled by a relatively
> homogenous group, and retained the technology that enabled
> interstellar settlement to begin with, there's a fair chance it will
> end up with one culture per world. There might little varying
> details, but the overall shape is likely to be singular.
>
> Consider England. At one time, Essex (East Saxons), Sussex (South
> Saxons), Wessex (West Saxons), Kent, East Anglia, Mercia,
> Northumberland, etc were separate political kingdoms, with their own
> royal families, customs, laws, etc.

So what happened to the kingdom of the North Saxons, Nossex?

Krijn

Steve Coltrin

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:59:18 AM8/19/03
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begin Krijn Mossel <krijn....@xs4all.nl> writes:

>> Consider England. At one time, Essex (East Saxons), Sussex (South
>> Saxons), Wessex (West Saxons), Kent, East Anglia, Mercia,
>> Northumberland, etc were separate political kingdoms, with their own
>> royal families, customs, laws, etc.
>
> So what happened to the kingdom of the North Saxons, Nossex?

Didn't they become the Shakers?

--
Steve Coltrin spco...@omcl.org WWVBF?
"Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product."
- Ferenc Mantfeld

Karl M Syring

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Aug 19, 2003, 7:07:24 AM8/19/03
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Krijn Mossel wrote on Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:54:22 +0200:
>
> So what happened to the kingdom of the North Saxons, Nossex?

It is called "Yorkshire" today, me thinks.

Karl M. Syring

Paul F. Dietz

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Aug 19, 2003, 7:19:07 AM8/19/03
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Krijn Mossel wrote:

> So what happened to the kingdom of the North Saxons, Nossex?

I've heard about that place...

"Nossex, please, we're British."

Paul

bgaudet0801

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Aug 19, 2003, 8:20:13 AM8/19/03
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"Bill Woods" <wwo...@popd.ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:3F41D10E...@popd.ix.netcom.com...

> Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote:
>
> > In article <01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>, Clark McIvor
> > <clar...@gil.com.au> writes
> > >Hi all,
> > >
> > >Someone in the "Nightfall" thread got me thinking ...
> > >
> > >Most on-planet action in SF&F seems to take place in an area no more
than
> > >the size of England, with either a sea of nothing for the rest of the
> > >planet, or there's an implicit assumption that the rest of the planet
is
> > >much the same.
>
> Allegedly Jerry Pournelle summarized this failing:
> "It was raining on Mongo that morning."

I was thinking of the Pournelles, Drakes and others of the military genre
are probably more likely to show diverse planetary cultures - Hammer's
Slammers, the Co-Dominium [Haven being the penultimate in diversity] stories
frex. I guess diversity works - or is needed - more so when you need them to
fight each other.

Another common theme in stories that would lead to homgeneity is the
tendency for social/ethnics groups to settle planets as a group. Think of
Utah [Mormons] or Boston [Irish] as historical examples to extrapolate from.
Of course they become more diverse with more migrations. If inter-planetary
is sufficiently difficult then monocultures wouldn't be so unreasonable.


mike stone

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Aug 19, 2003, 9:15:42 AM8/19/03
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>From: joats...@aol.com (JoatSimeon)

>>From: Bill Woods wwo...@popd.ix.netcom.com
>

>>Anderson leapt to my mind for a different example: _The Day of Their
>Return_.
>I was struck on first reading by the variety of cultures and landscapes on a
>single planet.

>-- Poul always remembered that a planet the size of Earth is a _big_ place.

Indeed, in the final section of _Orbit Unlimited_, the point is explicitly
raised

Jan Svoboda and Joshua Coffin are out in the wilderness looking for Coffin's
lost child, when one comments to the other about the way they "used to talk
about this planet or that planet, as if it were some kind of a city - an entire
world!" I suspect he had certain sf writers in mind

And in _After Doomsday_ he returns to the same point "And never forget; any
planet is a world, as complex and mysterious in its own right, as full of its
own patterns and contradictions and histories, as ever Earth was"
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

Call nothing true until it has been officially denied

mike stone

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Aug 19, 2003, 9:19:14 AM8/19/03
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> 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a continuation of
>present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.
>

Of course, these trends are _not_ irreversible

A couple of millennia ago, the Greek language was used by educated people over
a sizeable chunk of the earth's surface. How widespread is it now?

[Acknowwledgment to Professor Toynbee]

mike stone

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Aug 19, 2003, 9:20:58 AM8/19/03
to
>"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in message

>(Not


>> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>
>

In that series (and esp the original trilogy) the whole _Galaxy_ didn't seem
all that diverse

Karl M Syring

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Aug 19, 2003, 10:44:26 AM8/19/03
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JoatSimeon wrote on 19 Aug 2003 07:59:34 GMT:
>
> Meanwhile, 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a continuation of
> present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.

Can quickly change: See, the language is seen as associated with
xenophobobic, agressive militarist nutcases now (too many words, simply
say "fascists").

Karl M. Syring

Charlie Stross

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Aug 19, 2003, 12:15:24 PM8/19/03
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Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <sherm...@hotmail.com> declared:

> The Norse created the Danelaw, which had _very_ different customs than
> the remaining independent Saxon areas, and different yet again from
> the older Roman/Briton ways. The Normans brought in a different set
> of Viking customs, intermixed with a very French mindset, and the
> French language.
>
> One thousand years later, what remains of all that diversity?

Speaking as one who, back at University, had to act as a
sodding interpreter between fellow students from the Danelaw
and those who grew up in Sussex, I'd have to say it's still
there. When dialects are thick to the point of mutual
incomprehensibility it's a fair sign that the diversity
hasn't exactly vanished into some kind of melting pot ...


-- Charlie

Riboflavin

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Aug 19, 2003, 12:49:01 PM8/19/03
to
"JoatSimeon" <joats...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030819035628.22008.00000186@mb-

> Stargate SG1 did a takeoff on this -- a malfunction strands the team in an
ice
> cavern in Antarctica.

SG-1 also has a decent in-story explanation for any planets that look like
"one city that the heroes go to, some suburbs, and then hinterlands"; most
of the planets they visit are settled through the stargate and their trade
and government runs back through the gate, so it's not unreasonable for
there to be only a little bit of settlement.

Any written SF that plays around with either justifying 'one city per
planet' or making fun of it?
--
Kevin Allegood ri...@mindspring.com
"Personally, I hold by the Clarke - Sturgeon law:
90% of any sufficently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from crap." - Larry Lennhoff


Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:13:30 PM8/19/03
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In article <bht0d9$2ohqd$1...@ID-7529.news.uni-berlin.de>, Karl M Syring
<syr...@email.com> writes

>>
>> So what happened to the kingdom of the North Saxons, Nossex?
>
>It is called "Yorkshire" today, me thinks.

No. They was a Wessex, a Sussex (including a Hastingsshire), an Essex,
and a Middlesex (including Surrey and Norrey), but their never was a
Northseaxe. The regions further north was considered Anglian, rather
than Saxon, and including East Anglia (including the lands of the North
Folk and the South Folk), Middle Anglia, Mercia (the marchlands of the
time, later including the Hwicce, etc), Lindsey, and Northumbria
(including Deira (=Yorkshire) and Bernicia).
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:19:05 PM8/19/03
to
In article <3F41D10E...@popd.ix.netcom.com>, Bill Woods
<wwo...@popd.ix.netcom.com> writes

>
>Anderson leapt to my mind for a different example:
>_The Day of Their Return_. I was struck on first reading
>by the variety of cultures and landscapes on a single planet.
>
"The Day of Their Return" struck me as a bit of a "travelogue" [1] -
showing of all the diversity for the sake of showing of the diversity.
Merseia in "The Day of Burning" shows how much diversity can be packed
into a short story.

[1] Pejorative term for novels/series where the hero walks about the
landscape collecting plot tokens, e.g. the Belgariad, Malloreon, Tamuli,
and The Redemption of Althalus.
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

Karl M Syring

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:31:02 PM8/19/03
to
Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote on Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:13:30 +0100:
>
> No. They was a Wessex, a Sussex (including a Hastingsshire), an Essex,
> and a Middlesex (including Surrey and Norrey), but their never was a
> Northseaxe. The regions further north was considered Anglian, rather
> than Saxon, and including East Anglia (including the lands of the North
> Folk and the South Folk), Middle Anglia, Mercia (the marchlands of the
> time, later including the Hwicce, etc), Lindsey, and Northumbria
> (including Deira (=Yorkshire) and Bernicia).

Hmm, the derivation of the name is from the saxon word
for "boar". I did not say, that is was ever called Nosex.

Karl M. Syring

Steve Coltrin

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:24:03 PM8/19/03
to
begin "Riboflavin" <ri...@mindspring.com> writes:

> SG-1 also has a decent in-story explanation for any planets that look like
> "one city that the heroes go to, some suburbs, and then hinterlands"; most
> of the planets they visit are settled through the stargate and their trade
> and government runs back through the gate, so it's not unreasonable for
> there to be only a little bit of settlement.

If only they had even a poor in-story explanation of why Interstate 25
between Colorectal Springs and Albuquerque looks like a secondary road
in British Columbia.

A.T. Hagan

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:28:56 PM8/19/03
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"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in message news:<01c365c9$73a179a0$LocalHost@kenmcivo>...

>
> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not

> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>
> Jane

Silverberg's Majiipoor stories come to mind. It's been a long time
since I've read them but I was always bowled over with the feeling of
the *size* of the place in terms of the differing cultures there.

Pournelle's Codominium stories had a lot of diversity. All exported
from Earth, of course, but it was there.

Niven's Ringworld had a fair amount though you seemed to discover it
mostly after the fact.

Not SF, but Middle Earth certainly didn't lack for diversity.

You had to read several of the novels but Bujold's Barryar had a bit
of diversity considering that the planet was mostly settled by one
group.

Hmm, diversity in a very odd way can be found in Farmer's Riverworld
stories. All the cultures of Earth from the beginning of humans to
post 20th century scattered hither and thither on one planet at the
same time.

.....Alan.

David Cowie

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:53:23 PM8/19/03
to
On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 17:15:24 +0100, Charlie Stross wrote:

>
> Speaking as one who, back at University, had to act as a
> sodding interpreter between fellow students from the Danelaw
> and those who grew up in Sussex, I'd have to say it's still
> there. When dialects are thick to the point of mutual
> incomprehensibility it's a fair sign that the diversity
> hasn't exactly vanished into some kind of melting pot ...
>

When _I_ went to university (mid 1980's) my friends included people from
Derbyshire, Scotland, London, and various parts of the Home Counties [1].
We all had accents, but none of us had dialects, and interpetrers were not
required.
[1] Home Counties: the area around London.

--
David Cowie david_cowie at lineone dot net

David Cowie

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:15:52 PM8/19/03
to
On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:45:34 +0000, Clark McIvor wrote:

>
> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
>

_Perdido Street Station_ and _The Scar_ by China Mieville. Both set on the
world of Bas-Lag, which is inhabited by many different races. In PSS we
only see the city of New Crobuzon (but it's very cosmopolitan), TS takes
us out into the world a bit.

Stewart Robert Hinsley

unread,
Aug 19, 2003, 4:13:16 PM8/19/03
to
In article <pan.2003.08.19...@lineone.net>, David Cowie
<see...@lineone.net> writes
When I was at university (late '70s) I had no trouble with language
communication (except for the people who couldn't hack my hybrid
Hullensian/Scots accent), as everyone either spoke an approximation to
RP, or were bidialectal [1]. (There were people who could switch into
untelligible dialects, such as Geordie.) However when working in the
telecoms industry in the early '80s my employer acquired a job lot from
a tech college in Liverpool, and I definitely had problems with their
Scouse dialect.

[1] spoke both RP and a regional dialect.
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

Mike Schilling

unread,
Aug 19, 2003, 4:21:00 PM8/19/03
to

"Stewart Robert Hinsley" <{$news$}@meden.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:eGirXuAcToQ$Ew...@meden.demon.co.uk...

> When I was at university (late '70s) I had no trouble with language
> communication (except for the people who couldn't hack my hybrid
> Hullensian/Scots accent), as everyone either spoke an approximation to
> RP, or were bidialectal [1]. (There were people who could switch into
> untelligible dialects, such as Geordie.) However when working in the
> telecoms industry in the early '80s my employer acquired a job lot from
> a tech college in Liverpool, and I definitely had problems with their
> Scouse dialect.

I'm reminded of Bill Bryson's story about his friend from (dammit, I can't
recall, but some part of Great Britain remote from London) Bryson always
assumed the friend had a speech impediment, until he visited him at home and
found out that the entire village spoke that way.


William George Ferguson

unread,
Aug 19, 2003, 10:24:29 PM8/19/03
to

It became extinct in one generation, of course.

(what was that tv show where the invading aliens were suffering from
hereditary sterility?)


--
DAWN: ... and my sister is a vampire slayer, her best friend is a witch
who went bonkers and tried to destroy the world, um, I actually used to
be a little ball of energy until about two years ago when some monks
changed the past and made me Buffy's sister and for some reason, a big
klepto. My best friends are Leticia Jones, who moved to San Diego
because this town is evil, and a floppy eared demon named Clem.
(deleted scene from the shooting script of BtVS:Lessons)

Christopher Adams

unread,
Aug 19, 2003, 11:10:22 PM8/19/03
to
Clark McIvor wrote:
> So, what are the well-rounded SF planets - planets where we see, or hear
> about, several different sites around the globe, with diversity? (Not
> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars.

--
Christopher Adams - SUTEKH Functions Officer 2003
When I awakened, I was not as I had been.

"A portfolio of erotic 'Buffy' fan-fiction does not a writer make."

- Neil, www.goats.com


JoatSimeon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:13:51 AM8/20/03
to
>From: mws...@aol.com (mike stone)

>A couple of millennia ago, the Greek language was used by educated people
over a sizeable chunk of the earth's surface. How widespread is it now?

-- people learn languages because they're the useful within their interaction
sphere.

Since the size of the interaction sphere to which most people are exposed is
growing and growing fast, and since English is the most useful language, more
and more people speak English. Note the speed with with Russian was dropped as
a second language after 1989 in Eastern Europe, and what replaced it.

When Greek was a widespread elite language, most people lived in peasant
communities in which the local patois was far and away the most useful tongue.

Even in preindustrial times, this could change -- look at the number of people
who speak languages derived from Latin.

But it's definitely changed now, and barring a civilization-destroying
catastrophe, it's unlikely to change back.

Eg., the primary second language in Germany is English -- 8x more speakers than
French -- despite France being right next door.

Despite all the desperate efforts from Paris, as the EU gets bigger, English
becomes more dominant.

There are immigrant neighborhoods in Amsterdam where the immigrants learn
English as their second language and never bother to pick up Dutch.

Why bother? All the Dutch-speaking people speak English, too, and Dutch is
useless outside the Netherlands and Flanders. English is useful everywhere.

JoatSimeon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:16:18 AM8/20/03
to
>From: Charlie Stross cha...@antipope.org

>Speaking as one who, back at University, had to act as a sodding interpreter
between fellow students from the Danelaw
and those who grew up in Sussex, I'd have to say it's still there

-- but those University students probably all understood each other well enough
by the time they graduated.

It's the trend that matters, not where the graph is at any single point in
time.


JoatSimeon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:18:46 AM8/20/03
to
>From: "Christopher Adams" mhacde...@spammity-spammity-spam.yahoo.com

>Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars.

-- ah, yes, the Pink Planet, with lots of tradtional food and dancing, but no
basic political disagreements in the end... 8-).

Berkeley's idea of diversity.

Justin Bacon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:49:01 AM8/20/03
to
Steve Coltrin wrote:
>between Colorectal Springs and Albuquerque looks like a secondary road
>in British Columbia.

Heh. Reminds me of the X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully are in
Minneapolis. They leave the airport and head towards Downtown... passing down a
secluded road without a building in sight.

The Mpls/StP airport is in the middle of town. The only way you could end up on
a secluded road is if you're leaving the airport and heading towards Rochester
or Duluth.

JB

Justin Bacon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:51:38 AM8/20/03
to
Bill Woods wrote:
>> Mesklin.
>
>Surely Mesklin counts as 'well flattened'.

And in a similar vein (if I'm reading between the lines correctly; unfamilar as
I am with Mesklin): Iain M. Banks in general, and Larry Niven for his Ringworld
(among others).

Justin Bacon
tria...@aol.com

Justin Bacon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:55:48 AM8/20/03
to
Mike Stone wrote:
>A couple of millennia ago, the Greek language was used by educated people
>over a sizeable chunk of the earth's surface. How widespread is it now?

Sure. But that's the result of civilizational collapse and the ascendancy of a
different cultural heritage. Once you've got a monoculture, you'd have to have
a civilizational collapse severe enough to be capable of creating the
generations of isolation necessary for cultural diversity to assert itself so
that when contact was re-established cultural competition could take place.

Justin Bacon
tria...@aol.com


Justin Bacon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:57:45 AM8/20/03
to

It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who isn't a kook disagrees with you.
Certainly New Zealand will be surprised to learn of their new status as
xenophobic, militarist nutcases.

JB

Errol Cavit

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:30:32 AM8/20/03
to
"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030820045745...@mb-m16.aol.com...

> Karl M Syring wrote:
> >JoatSimeon wrote on 19 Aug 2003 07:59:34 GMT:
> >> Meanwhile, 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a
continuation
> of
> >> present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.
> >
> >Can quickly change: See, the language is seen as associated with
> >xenophobobic, agressive militarist nutcases now (too many words, simply
> >say "fascists").
>
> It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who isn't a kook disagrees with you.

The second sentence by itself is reasonable. You can argue with the
likelihood of the observed perception changing the trend given.

> Certainly New Zealand will be surprised to learn of their new status as
> xenophobic, militarist nutcases.

Not that this statement follows from Karl's statement, but check with the
Moriori, or the King Movement. Oh sorry, you mean currently? I'm sure you
can get a good quote from the Malaysian PM. The King of Tonga isn't that
impressed either.

--
Errol Cavit
to email, my middle initial is G
"Whatu ngarongaro he tangata, toitu he whenua."
"Man passes away, but the land endures for ever."
Maori Saying, recorded by Elsdon Best, anthropologist c.1900

Karl M Syring

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:58:50 AM8/20/03
to
Justin Bacon wrote on 20 Aug 2003 08:57:45 GMT:
> Karl M Syring wrote:
>>JoatSimeon wrote on 19 Aug 2003 07:59:34 GMT:
>>> Meanwhile, 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a continuation
> of
>>> present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.
>>
>>Can quickly change: See, the language is seen as associated with
>>xenophobobic, agressive militarist nutcases now (too many words, simply
>>say "fascists").
>
> It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who isn't a kook disagrees with you.

It is a kind of cool war now, quite clear, were the delibeations are.
Who would believe in enemy propaganda? And believe me , I am pretty
mild in my statements about the Shrub administration.

> Certainly New Zealand will be surprised to learn of their new status as
> xenophobic, militarist nutcases.

Tsk, it is the Shrub Junta, stupid. Some associated sycophants are always
around, but even the London Lackey is severely bleeding. Does not look
as if he will make it that long.

Karl M. Syring

Thomas Womack

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 7:03:53 AM8/20/03
to
In article <bhvikn$cof$1...@lust.ihug.co.nz>,
Errol Cavit <err...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote

>> Certainly New Zealand will be surprised to learn of their new status as
>> xenophobic, militarist nutcases.

>Not that this statement follows from Karl's statement, but check with the
>Moriori, or the King Movement. Oh sorry, you mean currently? I'm sure you
>can get a good quote from the Malaysian PM. The King of Tonga isn't that
>impressed either.

I thought it was Australia that got regarded by the rest of the region
as a collection of militarist xenophobes: what on Earth did New
Zealand do to irk Tonga? [irking Malaysia appears fairly
straightforward at the moment ...]

Tom

James Nicoll

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 8:02:07 AM8/20/03
to
In article <20030820044901...@mb-m16.aol.com>,

It's the little known secluded country road contained within the
Mall of America, along with the full sized ferris wheel.

First time I was in the Mall I thought it would make a great
setting for a suspense thriller but the owners would never allow
it.

--
It's amazing how the waterdrops form: a ball of water with an air bubble
inside it and inside of that one more bubble of water. It looks so beautiful
[...]. I realized something: the world is interesting for the man who can
be surprised. -Valentin Lebedev-

James Nicoll

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 8:03:39 AM8/20/03
to
In article <20030820045548...@mb-m16.aol.com>,

The manner in which Latin lost out to Greek is interesting. I
bet there were Romans grumpily asking who won those darn wars, anyway?

Michael Stemper

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:44:27 PM8/20/03
to
In article <20030819091914...@mb-m29.aol.com>, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) writes:
>> 1 in every 5 human beings can speak English, and a continuation of
>>present trends will see that up to 1 in 2 by 2050.
>
>Of course, these trends are _not_ irreversible

>
>A couple of millennia ago, the Greek language was used by educated people over
>a sizeable chunk of the earth's surface. How widespread is it now?

A sizeable chunk of the earth's surface, or a sizeable amount of the
area that was well-known to the Mediterranean culture? For some reason,
I have trouble believing that Greek was used by educated people in (what
are now) Finland, Denmark, Congo, Kamchatka, and so on two millenia back.

--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
No animals were harmed in the composition of this message.

Errol Cavit

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 3:02:49 PM8/20/03
to
"Thomas Womack" <two...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote in message
news:9dx*Mv...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk...

> In article <bhvikn$cof$1...@lust.ihug.co.nz>,
> Errol Cavit <err...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote
>
> >> Certainly New Zealand will be surprised to learn of their new status as
> >> xenophobic, militarist nutcases.
>
> >Not that this statement follows from Karl's statement, but check with the
> >Moriori, or the King Movement. Oh sorry, you mean currently? I'm sure you
> >can get a good quote from the Malaysian PM. The King of Tonga isn't that
> >impressed either.
>
> I thought it was Australia that got regarded by the rest of the region
> as a collection of militarist xenophobes: [irking Malaysia appears fairly

> straightforward at the moment ...]

He certainly has made plenty of comments about the evils of the West,
without limiting it to the USA and Oz. I doubt recent events in the Solomons
will have improved his mood.


> what on Earth did New
> Zealand do to irk Tonga?

Official and unofficial displeasure at Tonga attempts to stifle free
speech - specifically extreme moves to stop the distribution of the 'Tonga
Times' in Tonga, published by an ex-pat Tongan in NZ. More like patronising
Imperialists than militarist xenophobes.

JoatSimeon

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 3:06:50 PM8/20/03
to
>From: "Errol Cavit" err...@hotmail.com

>I'm sure you can get a good quote from the Malaysian PM. The King of Tonga
isn't that impressed either.

-- and they express their opinions in... English, for the most part.

"Usefulness" is independent of fluctuations in opinion, for the most part.
It's objective fact with which people have to deal.

China is a geopolitical rival of the US.

250 million Chinese have learned, or are learning, English.


John F. Carr

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:59:37 PM8/20/03
to
In article <20030819035628...@mb-m17.aol.com>,
JoatSimeon <joats...@aol.com> wrote:
>>From: Bill Woods wwo...@popd.ix.netcom.com
>
>>Anderson leapt to my mind for a different example: _The Day of Their Return_.
>I was struck on first reading by the variety of cultures and landscapes on a
>single planet.
>
>-- Poul always remembered that a planet the size of Earth is a _big_ place.
>
>Stargate SG1 did a takeoff on this -- a malfunction strands the team in an ice
>cavern in Antarctica.
>
>Major Carter manages to climb out onto the top of the ice sheet and then comes
>back with the news: "It's an Ice Planet!"
>
>Actually it's about 25 miles from the American scientific base...

There's an original Twilight Zone where a spaceship crashes on
a barren asteroid. After panic, death, and hysteria, it turns
out to be a rocky part of Earth.

--
John Carr (j...@mit.edu)

Moron

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:43:21 PM8/20/03
to
> One thousand years later, what remains of all that diversity?
>

Really, really annoying accents from various midlands and northern towns?

Steve Coltrin

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 8:03:51 PM8/20/03
to
begin "David Cowie" <see...@lineone.net> writes:

> When _I_ went to university (mid 1980's) my friends included people from
> Derbyshire, Scotland, London, and various parts of the Home Counties [1].
> We all had accents, but none of us had dialects

Exactly backwards.

Bill Woods

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 11:49:19 PM8/20/03
to
Justin Bacon wrote:

> Bill Woods wrote:
> >> Mesklin.
> >
> >Surely Mesklin counts as 'well flattened'.
>
> And in a similar vein (if I'm reading between the lines correctly;
> unfamilar as I am with Mesklin): Iain M. Banks in general, and
> Larry Niven for his Ringworld (among others).

You haven't read _Mission of Gravity_? But no, Mesklin is a planet,
but an extremely oblate spheroid, with a equatorial diameter of
48,000 miles and a polar diameter of only 20,000.

--
Bill Woods

In California, we have a name for students
who believe in hard work, perseverance,
self-discipline and respect for authority: Nguyen.
-- Joanne Jacobs


Justin Bacon

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 1:46:25 AM8/21/03
to
Karl M. Syring wrote:
>> It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who isn't a kook disagrees with you.
>
>It is a kind of cool war now, quite clear, were the delibeations are.

Could you translate that sentence into some kind of sensible English? Thanks.

Justin Bacon
tria...@aol.com

Lawrence Watt-Evans

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 1:48:23 AM8/21/03
to
On 20 Aug 2003 19:06:50 GMT, joats...@aol.com (JoatSimeon) wrote:

>250 million Chinese have learned, or are learning, English.

Or what they think is English. My daughter spent a month in Tianjin
as an exchange student, and some of the alleged "English" she heard
was utterly unintelligible.

Though apparently some of the locals felt her Mandarin wasn't much
better.


mike stone

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 3:27:14 AM8/21/03
to
>From: j...@mit.edu (John F. Carr)

>JoatSimeon <joats...@aol.com> wrote:

>>-- Poul always remembered that a planet the size of Earth is a _big_ place.
>>
>>Stargate SG1 did a takeoff on this -- a malfunction strands the team in an
>ice
>>cavern in Antarctica.
>>
>>Major Carter manages to climb out onto the top of the ice sheet and then
>comes
>>back with the news: "It's an Ice Planet!"
>>
>>Actually it's about 25 miles from the American scientific base...
>
>There's an original Twilight Zone where a spaceship crashes on
>a barren asteroid. After panic, death, and hysteria, it turns
>out to be a rocky part of Earth.

Poul Anderson (again) did a spoof on this in _Eve Times Four_

As near as I remember, the one man among the "castaways" convinces the four
women that not only are they on an alien planet, but that there is a law
requiring all of thenm to have children by him in oreder to produce the most
diverse gene pool.

I forget exactly how they rumble him


--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

Call nothing true until it has been officially denied

Charlie Stross

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 4:58:32 AM8/21/03
to
Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <joats...@aol.com> declared:

>>Speaking as one who, back at University, had to act as a sodding interpreter
> between fellow students from the Danelaw
> and those who grew up in Sussex, I'd have to say it's still there
>
> -- but those University students probably all understood each other well enough
> by the time they graduated.

Only in one direction. The guys with the serious Yorkshire
accents could understand the pronounced-RP accents of the
home counties natives (it is, after all, the standard dialect
on television and radio programming) but the home counties
folk still had serious difficulty with Yorkshire accents --
real ones, not the fake ones you'd get on TV. Word use as
much as anything else made it difficult to cope with.

I've lived in Scotland for nearly a decade; I still have
difficulty coping with some Scots accents, when the speaker is
drunk and/or agitated. (Not nearly as bad as dealing with a
Boston accent, though. One time, trying to buy a subway
ticket, I had to resort to slowly and loudly asking, "do you
speak English?" before the clerk realised that I wasn't deaf
or stupid and started trying to enunciate her words audibly.
On the fourth attempt I actually managed to give her some
money in exchange for a ticket ...)


-- Charlie

Christopher Adams

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 5:37:23 AM8/21/03
to
JoatSimeon wrote:
>> From: "Christopher Adams"

>
>> Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars.
>
> -- ah, yes, the Pink Planet, with lots of tradtional food and dancing,
> but no basic political disagreements in the end... 8-).
>
> Berkeley's idea of diversity.

I think that's a pretty egregious misreading of at least "Red Mars". No
political disagreements? That's where *all* the drama comes from, man.

James Nicoll

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 8:10:39 AM8/21/03
to
In article <bi1mco$l53$1...@bob.news.rcn.net>,

Lawrence Watt-Evans <l...@sff.net> wrote:
>On 20 Aug 2003 19:06:50 GMT, joats...@aol.com (JoatSimeon) wrote:
>
>>250 million Chinese have learned, or are learning, English.
>
>Or what they think is English. My daughter spent a month in Tianjin
>as an exchange student, and some of the alleged "English" she heard
>was utterly unintelligible.
>
sf/x: extremely smug: That 'Purity of the English Language'
quotation of mine is the first thing a lot of Chinese see when they
crack open their texts. Properly credited, too.

David Allsopp

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 8:19:09 AM8/21/03
to
In article <slrnbk92dn....@raq981.uk2net.com.antipope.org>,
Charlie Stross <cha...@antipope.org> writes

>Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
>as <joats...@aol.com> declared:
>
>>>Speaking as one who, back at University, had to act as a sodding interpreter
>> between fellow students from the Danelaw
>> and those who grew up in Sussex, I'd have to say it's still there
>>
>> -- but those University students probably all understood each other well
>enough
>> by the time they graduated.
>
>Only in one direction. The guys with the serious Yorkshire
>accents could understand the pronounced-RP accents of the
>home counties natives (it is, after all, the standard dialect
>on television and radio programming) but the home counties
>folk still had serious difficulty with Yorkshire accents --
>real ones, not the fake ones you'd get on TV. Word use as
>much as anything else made it difficult to cope with.

I'd just like to confirm this, as someone who had[1] a serious Yorkshire
accent on going to university. It was obvious some people had
difficulty following me, and when a few friends from home visited early
in my first term, our conversation in the bar was met with baffled
incomprehension. I got the impression some people thought we were about
to take the bar apart.

A brief aside on the subject of fake TV accents: Robert Carlyle did an
excellent job on his Yorkshire accent in "The Full Monty". However,
those of us from South Yorkshire could spot that it wasn't a *Sheffield*
accent. They're all Deedars, there, you see...

[1] Mostly gone, unless I spend a while with the people in my home town
(my sister in particular), when it comes back in all its glottal glory.
--
David Allsopp Houston, this is Tranquillity Base.
Remove SPAM to email me The Eagle has landed.

Christopher Adams

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 8:55:47 AM8/21/03
to
James Nicoll wrote:

> Lawrence Watt-Evans wrote:
>> (JoatSimeon) wrote:
>>
>>> 250 million Chinese have learned, or are learning, English.
>>
>> Or what they think is English. My daughter spent a month in Tianjin
>> as an exchange student, and some of the alleged "English" she heard
>> was utterly unintelligible.
>>
> sf/x: extremely smug: That 'Purity of the English Language'
> quotation of mine is the first thing a lot of Chinese see when they
> crack open their texts. Properly credited, too.

Bravo, James. :)

Anecdotal support for the poverty of English teaching in Asia:

Someone, it may even have been on this newsgroup, told a story about he and his
wife going to Japan, meeting some Japanese students, and being unable to
communicate except in written English, because (after N generations of native
Japanese speakers teaching English to native Japanese speakers) there is a
distinct Japanese dialect of English: perfectly intelligible to other users of
the dialect, and providing excellent written English skills, but utterly
incomprehensibly to native English speakers.

mike stone

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 9:45:56 AM8/21/03
to
>From: "Christopher Adams"

>Someone, it may even have been on this newsgroup, told a story about he and
>his
>wife going to Japan, meeting some Japanese students, and being unable to
>communicate except in written English, because (after N generations of native
>Japanese speakers teaching English to native Japanese speakers) there is a
>distinct Japanese dialect of English: perfectly intelligible to other users
>of
>the dialect, and providing excellent written English skills, but utterly
>incomprehensibly to native English speakers.

Reminds me of a line in Toynbee's _Study of History_ in which he talks about
the attempted revival of Erse in the Irish Free State. Toynbee observes that
the "revived" Irish language produced by Dublin scholars is reportedly
incomprehensible to the surviving Erse-speakers on Ireland's west coast, who
learned the language at their mothers' knees

Daniel Frankham

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 11:09:00 AM8/21/03
to
On 20 Aug 2003 21:59:37 GMT, j...@mit.edu (John F. Carr) wrote:

>There's an original Twilight Zone where a spaceship crashes on
>a barren asteroid. After panic, death, and hysteria, it turns
>out to be a rocky part of Earth.

In 'Abbott and Costello Go to Mars', they land in New Orleans, which
they take to be Mars (its Mardi Gras).

--
Daniel Frankham

wth...@godzilla2.acpub.duke.edu

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 11:17:57 AM8/21/03
to
David Allsopp <d...@tqSPAMbase.demon.co.uk> writes:


>
> I'd just like to confirm this, as someone who had[1] a serious Yorkshire
> accent on going to university. It was obvious some people had
> difficulty following me,

Some years ago in Texas I saw a Yorkshire TV program on
PBS. It had subtitles.

The accents couldn't have been particularly thick as I had no
trouble understanding them - and I've spent all of a week
in Yorkshire.


William Hyde
EOS Department
Duke University

Lawrence Watt-Evans

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 2:29:51 PM8/21/03
to
On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 09:58:32 +0100, Charlie Stross
<cha...@antipope.org> wrote:

> (Not nearly as bad as dealing with a
>Boston accent, though. One time, trying to buy a subway
>ticket, I had to resort to slowly and loudly asking, "do you
>speak English?" before the clerk realised that I wasn't deaf
>or stupid and started trying to enunciate her words audibly.
>On the fourth attempt I actually managed to give her some
>money in exchange for a ticket ...)

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, but when I had occasion to ride
the Orange Line on a recent visit... well, you have my sympathies. I
think the MBTA must somehow select for employees with really strong
accents.

Except calling it a "Boston accent" isn't precisely right; they're
mostly Dorchester or Southie or Cambridge or something. You won't
find anyone with a Beacon Hill accent working in the subway. Boston's
not as varied as London, but it's definitely got half a dozen or more
distinct accents without even going outside the city limits.

Walter Bushell

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 2:41:49 PM8/21/03
to
mike stone <mws...@aol.com> wrote:

> >"Clark McIvor" <clar...@gil.com.au> wrote in message
>
> >(Not
> >> Trantor [from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series] - no diversity.)
> >
> >
>
> In that series (and esp the original trilogy) the whole _Galaxy_ didn't seem
> all that diverse

One wouldn't expect to find much variety, it was possible to ship
*wheat* from Trantor to the 2nd Foundation, profitably. That is from the
center to the rim of the Galaxy.

--
The last temptation is the highest treason:
To do the right thing for the wrong reason. --T..S. Eliot

Walter

Walter Bushell

unread,
Aug 21, 2003, 2:41:50 PM8/21/03
to
JoatSimeon <joats...@aol.com> wrote:
<Snip>
> Give it a couple of centuries, and the logical end-product is a single global
> culture, speaking English, with a few minor regional variations kept alive by
> hobbyists and the sort of type who likes the SCA.
<Snip>

s/English/Chinese/