Over at Fantasy Magazine, Jennifer Konieczny interviews Lavie Tidhar. You can also read Mr. Tidhar’s latest short fiction, “The Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String”. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
It’s a tough one. I’m not actually sure how to answer it. I think English is very much associated with technology. I see it in Israel as well as in Laos. And then, since Laos was a French colony before, the French are still there trying to push the French language, while everyone in their 20s is out to learn English—there’re Business English books everywhere and courses. The English are winning against the French still. . .
But languages acquire words and terms from one another all the time. It’s very possible Chinese will be the dominant language in a century, or we’d end up with a new sort of pidgin. . .
I think the most startling—the most obvious—example, for me, of the way language works in the brain is in remembering numbers. I remember some telephone numbers in English and some in Hebrew, and it’s virtually impossible to make a rapid switch between them. So if you ask me for a number my brain stores in Hebrew, I will have to literally go digit by digit and mentally translate them for you—whereas I could just dial them immediately otherwise. It’s just a very clear example of the brain as a storage device—the same way we have a short-term memory “number buffer” that can store 7 plus/minus 2 digits.
So the brain as machine fascinates me, and the way you probably could, in future, manipulate it more directly with technology. We’re not there yet, though. . .