Stephen looks to the future of the English language with some predictions. Will robots be able to read novels? How much will our computers be able to understand us? Will English rule – or change? And then there’s a question about a duck….
A good section to end the audiobook with, this part looks at how English might evolve in future, with 400 million native speakers & 4 billion second language speakers & variants (such as American-English & Singaporean-English) already popping up.
All sorts of interesting analyses pop up in this part, including the way the rhythm of English appears to be evolving from traditional `tum-te-tum-te-tum' to the more Jamaican/ Hip hop style `Rat-tat-tat' structure.
The audiobook moves through how different cultures use English, to how robots are being taught to read and, one day, understand the subtle nuances of language. As with many discussions of robotics, this raises the question of whether a robot that read & understood would actually be sentient.
Beyond this, there is discussion of how Google is increasingly using `Babel-Fish' technology to break down language barriers & how this might lead to another explosion in the size of the language (already there has been an expansion from 150,000 words in Shakespeare's time, to 1.5 Million now).
Couple this section with the QWERTY one & it is easy to see how limited our traditional perspective of English has become.
P.S. See 'Fry's English Delight - Series 3' if you want to see the review of the full product.