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Saturday, 2020 August 1, 23:29 — language

polyglot priority

A genie offers to make you fluent in twenty or a hundred languages, living or dead. How do you choose?

The greedy algorithm: add whatever language most increases the number of people with whom you could have (had) a fluent conversation; repeat.

Alternately, all the languages preferred by any of your ancestors after whatever date that allows. (Closely related dialects come at a discount.)

But I’d trade some slots at the bottom of either of these lists for some smaller languages of historical or literary interest, such as Etruscan and perhaps Volapük, plus sign languages (ASL, Plains, BSL).

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