For interstellar travel, the only possible solution is to build a ship capable of hosting multiple generations of human beings. Only in this way could they colonize the known universe. During the journey several generations will be born and grow up in a closed environment, this could lead to biological problems or unknown mutations.
According to a new study conducted by a team of linguistics teachers, there is something else that will be subject to change during this journey: the language itself. In the end, the settlers’ language would be incomprehensible to the people of Earth if they met again.
“If you are on this ship for 10 generations (towards the system closest to our planet, Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light-years away), new concepts will emerge, new social problems will arise and people will create ways of talking about it, and these will become the vocabulary detail of the ship. People on Earth may never know these words, unless there is a reason to say them“explain Andrew McKenzie, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Kansas, and Jeffrey Penske, an assistant professor of linguistics at Southern Illinois University.
An example is given by Polynesian sailors who populated the islands of the South Pacific between 3000 and 1000 BC. The Polynesian languages that emerged bore little resemblance to the ancient language of their ancestors.
Last but not least, the two experts address what will happen when the next ships from Earth reach the colonized planets and meet the locals: without any means of preparation (like communication with the colony before), new waves of immigrants will encounter a language barrier and could be discriminated against. For this reason, they recommend that any future interplanetary or interstellar missions should include linguists or people trained to maintain a certain “linguistic order”.
Definitely a still premature speech to face, but without any doubt really very interesting.