Chris Van Es

Hybrid Humans

Technology-fueled development is causing historical eras to become cumulative, rather than linear. In order to describe emerging socio-technological patterns – including the merging of scientific disciplines and the fusion of human life with progress in these fields – the current era should be called the “Hybrid Age.”

SINGAPORE – The election of a new pope always sparks debate about the tension between tradition and modernity in the Catholic Church. Perhaps more interesting is the ongoing modernization of the language in which those debates are conducted: Latin.

While Catholic doctrines have evolved slowly, the Latin vocabulary has been expanding steadily in recent years, reflecting the surge of neologisms (new words, usages, and expressions) that has accompanied technology’s increasingly prominent role in people’s daily lives. The addition of terms like telephonium albo televisifico coniunctum (video telepresence) and usus agonisticus medicamenti stupecfactivi (performance-enhancing drugs) has helped to spark a revival of Latin education in the West, despite growing competition from Mandarin.

Likewise, the English language’s ability to produce and absorb neologisms is an important reason why it will endure as the world’s lingua franca. The Oxford English Dictionary, now updated quarterly, revised more than 1,900 entries in its March 2011 edition, and added new terms, such as “subdomain,” “dataveillance,” and “geotagging.”

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/HAQJjLd;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.