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Comment: Re:Create a $140 billion business out of nothing? (Score 4, Insightful) 458

by sphealey (#48946563) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

- - - - - That's not creating a new business out of nothing, nor is it being particularly visionary. It's a natural improvement on an existing market segment. - - - - -

One has to be careful about trusting accounts written later, whether written by the winners or the losers. But multiple sources have reported that the response to the introductory demo of the iPhone at the highest levels of both Nokia and Blackberry was "that's impossible - they must be faking it". Nokia and Ericsson at least did a reality reset within a year and tried to get back in the game, but Blackberry only realized the iPhone was for real 18 months ago - say early 2014, 7 years after the iPhone was introduced.

I'd call that creating, or recreating, a new segment.

sPh

Comment: Re:No big changes (Score 1) 578

by raju1kabir (#48733731) Attached to: What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

in modern-day Poland, when you ride the train, there are multi-lingual signs instructing on how do do things like open the windows or operate the toilet. The signs appear in Polish (it's Poland, after all), German (much of Poland was Germany and vice versa), Russian (it was under the Soviet sphere of influence), and French (the international language). No English.

That's because they assume English speakers already know how to use a toilet.

I'll see myself out.

Comment: Re:Universal Translators? (Score 1) 578

by raju1kabir (#48733691) Attached to: What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

Google Translate works well with text about long-standing topics and which doesn't employ recently emerged idiom.

And it is far better with language pairs that share a lot of cultural exchange.

That's because it substantially operates without any real semantic analysis, but instead on statistical analysis of human-translated texts. They feed in books and articles which exist in both English and Spanish, for example, and the computer sees which words and phrases tend to match up.

This approach provides workable results, but it has its limits. In particular it's never going to get much better with contemporary idiom, since that's rarely used in translated materials in the required bulk. They'll have some best-selling novels here and there, but not the wide range of contexts necessary to make it really function.

Comment: Re:English-ish? (Score 1) 578

by raju1kabir (#48733629) Attached to: What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

Can you give us some first hand experience where you found someone in China who was not able to speak Mandarin?

I'm not the person you're responding to, but I traveled from one corner of China to the other with some colleagues from Beijing. They were native Beijing Chinese, I am a foreigner.

We had meetings in almost 100 cities and towns, and also did some sightseeing during free time.

The catchphrase of the journey was "why don't these people speak Mandarin?" I think they said it (in English) more in those few months than everything else combined. We had endless comical misunderstandings over food, meeting arrangements, transport, and everything else that didn't involve higher-ups or more educated people.

When dealing with people who could read and write, very often they'd clarify by making characters in their air with their hands or scribbling them out on a piece of paper, because that often covered the gaps better than speaking.

But sometimes that failed, and on occasion they became so frustrated that I ended up taking over by pantomiming or using my flash cards, just to break the tension and move things along.

Comment: Re:English-ish? (Score 1) 578

by raju1kabir (#48733563) Attached to: What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

There really isn't a language more simple that I know of.

The simplest one I know of, and one with which I'm much more familiar, is Indonesian (also Malaysian; these are essentially dialects of each other).

You can learn the basic grammar and vocabulary in a few weeks, something that would take months or years in many other languages.

And then you will not be able to understand 90% of what people are saying. Due to the lack of formal grammatical structure, native speakers have created a vast array of continually evolving tags and circumlocutions and helper mechanisms to provide missing semantic details.

I would assume it works the same way in Chinese.

Personally, I'd prefer a grammar that's baked into the language. Indonesian can be extremely poetic, and it's nice when you have the time, but it's a beast to truly follow the nuance of conversations unless you are surrounded by it all day long, and continue to keep up with changes year after year.

Comment: Re:Chinese that speak English (Score 1) 578

by raju1kabir (#48733453) Attached to: What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

There's cases in English, but they are only used in some contexts, and some uses are optional and/or ambiguous (e.g. "who" vs. "whom" in embedded clauses can be ambiguous as to case agreement), thus making them substantially more difficult to deal with than languages that have regular case systems.

They're not "substantially more difficult to deal with" at all, because outside of pronouns, you can ignore them.

"Whom", like it or not, is dead in 50 years. Nobody cares and almost nobody will even notice if you fail to use it.

Spelling is more complicated by far than the grammar case system in Finnish.

This problem has almost completely been solved by technology. Context-sensitive spelling systems in everyone's electronic devices will put the issue to rest, because people aren't using pen and paper anymore.

Several of the sounds are among the rarest and most difficult to pronounce out there, and the inventory is larger than a majority of languages outside Africa.

Everyone can understand someone speaking with the typical substitutions found in, e.g., a German or Spanish accent. These things don't matter.

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