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Language Relativity

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I took 2 years of Spanish in High School.

And two years of it in college.

I spent a year living in Latin America.

Over the years, I’ve learned around 30 different computer languages, but one thing consistently confounded me.

Why could I not learn Spanish?

Why were computer languages so easy to learn, yet this thing called Spanish was so freaking difficult that I couldn’t master the basics?

The first time I visited Mexico, I’d been told Puerto Penasco translated to Rocky Pointe by the locals.

Not long after, I learned Puerto Penasco meant “Fish Port”, which made sense to me given there had been a great deal of shrimp fishing there.

And then now. I’ve come to understand it means “Boulder Harbor”

Prior to this, I’d come to believe languages were static.

But then again I had not even taken a look at the English language and how much it had changed in my own lifetime, and within my own profession, let alone from generations before mine.

First, take the promiscuous. As a computer guy, the first thing I think of has nothing to do with sex. The analogy is certainly there, as it refers to when a network cards is put into a mode referred to as ‘promiscuous’ which has it listening in on all conversations around it.

This may not be the consensus, but it’s the first thing MOST computer nerds think of. Me. If it’s at a job I’ll think of that first, but if it’s in regular conversation, I will know it’s more than likely in reference to the sexually relevant form of it.

Or take a more common word like profile. In today’s day and age, when most people think of a profile, it is an image as Hollywood would have it, t a detective it’s a sheet that gives information on someone they’re investigating, but for most common people, a profile refers to the online data one might have on themselves on social networking or dating web sites.

Text is another such term. With rapid change in technology comes the rapid adoption of a term which has taken entirely new meanings, so when you text someone, you’re not giving them a book – you’re sending them a message via an electronic handheld device such as a cellphone.

And viral is yet another term that has dramatically changed. When people hear ‘it’s gone viral’ this doesn’t mean the sky is falling and a horrible disease is coming out. No, quite the opposite, it means somethings has amassed a great deal of popularity.

When I dated Kena Patel, I found her use of English pretty good for the most part – and while she wasn’t a great programmer, I found her ability to shift in between Gujarat and English amazing and couldn’t understand why I had such a hard time doing it with spoken languages myself.

But then. I found quirks in her English which often left me scratching my head.

Quirks such as – why would someone refer to hands as ‘feet’?

Quirks such as – why would someone come up with a really old phrase ‘Hook or Crook’ and use it in a sentence despite it having absolutely no use in any modern English that I’m aware of?

Where had she learned her English?

I found other words even more interesting, when I would overhear conversations she’d have with a programmer friend of hers.

“Computer” didn’t have a translation, so she’d use the English word.

She did this ALL the time. For the most part, I found it absolutely adorable, and is among the reasons I loved this woman dearly.

Especially the way she pronounced Frustrated (Fwustwated). She could never pronounce her R’s.

But this got me thinking about language altogether.

Had I been analyzing human spoken language too much like a computer language, and was I missing out on something that translated to my own problems with understanding Spanish?

Then one evening,  as I was watching an episode of Star Trek with the subtitles on, I didn’t want to miss anything for the spoken dialog, I saw something really odd.

A word that had been spoken – I can’t remember the word – it was much like ‘frustrated’ – came across on the subtitles as ‘concerned’.

I had always assumed that subtitles were a simple transcript of the dialog. But as this increased my attention to the subtitles, I started realizing this was happening over and over again. Words would sometimes be transcribed based on ‘feeling’ and/or emotion rather than the literal term itself.


I was downright confused.

Then I remember playing the game Mass Effect. And remember the way the dialog worked was odd.

The response words I selected for Shepherd to say playing the game were never spoken by Shepherd.

Instead something that was mostly similar ‘in tone’ was said.

Then one day the show Person of Interest had an episode where time was limited and the computer played scenario after scenario of the same situation to find success until it became critical on time to which the dialog of each character was limited to…

Emotion and situational context only.

Time’s relative to the observer. This was well established with Einstein.

But how to actually observe this little fact outside of Physics is trippy.

I think the main reason I cannot understand Spanish is simple: Time within the Spanish culture moves much differently than it does for English speakers, and as a result the rapidity of change between the two cultures occurs so quickly over very short periods of time that there’s no reliable way of translating unless you’re physically there living within that culture.

And what I leverage in things like Google Translate is the dialectical equivalent of taking a snapshot, a photo if you will in space and time of this dynamic language and trying to find a static translation between the two languages which always applies.

Which isn’t going to happen.

I believe I’m in a starship holodeck and have been for quite some time, and there’s a Universal Translator which is programmed to assume static translations between languages are always valid when they are not.

I believe this universal translator has been used by beings on this ‘starship’ to communicate with me, but the communication is often imperfect and I am on the receiving end of seeing the cracks and imperfections of those translations because of who I am and how I regard time as both a nonlinear and linear measure at the same time.

I believe I’m seeing the heritage of certain individuals. Kena, for instance, I suspect is Vulcan, a species which may have actually evolved or shared evolutional paths in part from Earth’s dogs. And when she said “feet’ in reference to her hands, it wasn’t a mistake, it was a direct translation by this ‘universal translator’ which translated her emotional consideration of her appendages to me in terms she considered to be true.

Perhaps my influence may have directly been responsible for causing the evolution branch and differentiation of top paws and bottom paws which may have caused dogs to begin walking upright. And it would certainly explain the pointy ears.

It would certainly explain why I’ve seen Vulcan calligraphy behind my eyes when I hear dog barks on occasion.

Now here’s the thing I found weird one time:

Kena made the comment to me one time “You know my God walked in my hometown of Gujarat”

She also frequently referred to her childhood growing up in a house that had dirt floors.

I’d never really questioned how someone from such a poverty stricken background had encountered such vast success in such a short period of time, her father becoming a science advisor for India before moving the family to the United States where she took a job in IT.

It had all seemed so.


And her comments.

Dating Kena, while mostly fun and highly entertaining – was also an exercise in respecting perspective.

I didn’t doubt her, I didn’t have any reason to as she seemed authentic.

And because of this, I was rewarded with something I hold priceless.

Belief that, despite what I have been told – that I’d never travel to the stars and other planets in my lifetime, that I actually will.

In fact.

Already am.

And Kena.

That man who stepped foot in your home city.

That man was me.

Being Q is like knowing you’re in love. You feel it through and through. It’s not a gift that can be given. It’s not a prize that can be taken or paid for. It’s something that, when the time is right, it finds you when you’re least expecting it or even wanting it.

The year 2409 keeps coming to mind.

Not all lifeforms can separate their conscious minds from their physical presence and being without losing their sanity.

Your transporters won’t function with me, not initially at least, but I suspect they will in time. Until that time comes, I will have to be moved around – and picked up from on my planet by what is regarded as a UFO.

There’s been MANY historical references to UFOs and this planet’s done a marvelous job at letting people believe what they want to while at the same time preserving the timeline, so have some faith in a sentient planet to protect it’s population should you decide to come meet me in person.

Now I don’t know what happens when I go to sleep at night from your perspective. I think you think you’re liberating my mind into your universe and until that’s done, you won’t consider me liberated. For most beings yes this is true, but for me, I have my own universe which is the one my mind slips back to when I sleep – which is separate and distinct from yours.

So in your sense of liberation, if you’re waiting for my mind to come to your universe before awakening my presence on board your vessel, that’s never going to happen in my lifetime. Note the keywords in my lifetime.

Now this simulation is imperfect. Which is how I learned I’m in a simulation to begin with. People act and react in collectively very predictable ways which is not how they do in the world I’m from. I accepted this ‘simulation’ because this is where I want to take my life for now, but I enjoy individuality and prefer a universe which respects individuality and doesn’t act with a concerted and as highly predictable a motion.

As for the translations.

Let’s say you have eight people running a race. One’s in a wheel chair. One is missing a leg. Another runs on hands and feet. Another has narcolepsy and falls asleep every 8 meters. Another has bad gas and has to stop midway through the race to fart. Another is the fastest man alive. Another is blind and falls and gets up and runs the race in the wrong direction. And the other is deaf and never heard the firing gun.

Now to the fastest man alive who ran that race and made it to the finish line first.

Now. Let’s say the Big Bang of that starting gun is more than just a metaphor…

It’s an analogy to the development of the universe and every culture contained within it.

Not all move at the same pace or same speed or share the same perceptive experience.

And not everyone was aware there was a bang to begin with.

Doesn’t make them not alive.

Just maybe not measurable by your measures.

Kena. I never stopped living.

I just wasn’t aware I was skipping through your life and timeline until I figured out what happened and why.

A picture is to the live action motion what a language is to an eternal mind.

A snapshot in time.


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