Major Project Outline


My major project seeks to facilitate the construction of a language for the users of the World Wide Web (WWW). This language will be designed, implemented and tested by any interested participant. The critical context for this proposal is based on findings from two independent case studies performed in Plymouth, Devon and Leicester, Leicestershire. These case studies, undertaken in local cemeteries, revealed that before the written language of English was established in these communities, where the large proportion of individuals in a community did not have the ability to read or write (~<1850AD), symbols were used on gravestones, in allegorical terms, to represent thoughts and wishes. Such uses of symbols were also present for local businesses, where a baker may trade under the sign of a loaf of bread, or a butcher under the sign of a cow. As the ability to read and write became ubiquitous in society through education (~>1850AD), symbols began to disappear from gravestones, as, presumably, they were no longer required.

The WWW, at its conception by Sir Time Berners-Lee, was designed to enable individuals to share data globally, with its initial purpose being the sharing of mathematical data and other such academic research where the global language of scientists, their Lingua franca, was math. As the WWW began to percolate into the consumer market, becoming affordable to residents of many different nations, segregation began to occur. Web sites are written in every language, with users of the Web able to differentiate the majority of language specific sites by their TLD’s (Top Level Domains, e.g. .co.uk = UK, .co.jp = Japan). Presumably, much information available on the Web has been written many time in many languages to allow for users to utilize the Internet in the easiest way for them, in their own mother tounge.

The EU’s Esperanto, constructed by expert linguists to enable greater communication between citizens of its nation states, appears to fail because their is no great use for it. English is taught in all European schools and is the de-facto language of International business, and knowledge of yet another, being enforced by a state entity, does not take into account how languages grow naturally (with necessity being the mother of all invention).

From these facts and findings, I propose to design and build a Wiki-esq system (a platform where individuals can contribute, edit, modify endlessly) with the aim of allowing the international society itself to construct a language. This language, envisioned to be symbol based, will offer International communication anf collaboration on a scale never before seen, with the benefits of such a system hopefully already obvious to the reader.

Initial design stages indicate that this project will be composed of two distinct platforms that shall both contribute to the final deliverable. These platforms shall be the Colours Engine and the Verse Engine. Of these two systems, Colours Engine (CE) forms the smallest component of the overall project, with Verse Engine (VE) formulating approximately 80-90% of the overall project that shall be presented.

Colours Engine will facilitate users of the internet to contribute their associations of colours with emotions, building a rich (and most importantly) constantly up to date record of these perceptions. Contributors will be able to browse the data by contirbutors countries, by the emotion dictionary, and by colour.

Verse Engine shall be an open platform built with consideration given to the key findings of my dissertation, namely: tendency of heirarchical group formation, benefits of enforced social capital (karma) systems, and observations from Clay Shirky on how and why Wiki platforms work through disproportionate contribution.

More information will be posted regarding the respective areas of this project as and when time (and suitable material) becomes available. Any questions should be directed to: airs@me.com


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