The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Attempts to create a "universal language" should cease.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/28/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 509 times Debate No: 58293
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




Resolution: Attempts to create a 'universal language' should cease.
Universal Language: "An auxiliary language that is used and understood everywhere" [1]

1st Round Acceptance
2nd Round Standard
3rd Round Standard

24 hour timer.
1000 character limit.

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Hi, I accept your challenge and hope for a fruitful and enlightening debate. Please proceed with the opening statement.
Debate Round No. 1


Attempts to artificially manufacture the "Universal Language" should stop.

I. Communication Barriers

The idea of a 'universal language' clearly does not understand what communication barriers actually are - they have little to do with not speaking the same language.
There is more to understanding one another than simply knowing what words mean. We should be focusing on improving relations and understanding foreign values - not memorizing words. It is important to stop assuming your cultural values are correct, to stop assuming other cultures are like yours, and to be more comfortable around differing cultural values.

II. Respect

Universal Language creation clearly values convenience over respecting the beautiful variety of cultures.

It would be convenient for travelers not to have to learn a new language. However, respecting cultures by not imposing a common language on them is more important than the ease of tourists and international businesses. You can always hire a translator.



Thiago.Pires forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As CON has forfeited the previous round, I shall skip the defense of points I and II and rebutting CON's unstated points.

III. Don't Force It
Having a universal language would be a sign of a thriving global community. A beautiful variety of cultures and academic histories will come together to form a universal language gradually accepted into all cultures. Having one viewpoint select or create a worthy language and prescribe it to the rest of the world will be unsuccessful.

Let us focus our efforts on improving international relations. Not on solving an unsolvable math problem that is an artificial universal language.

As a point of amusement, this is the second time an opponent has forfeited to me on this topic. It would seem universal languages are cursed :P


It is important to recognize that the creation of a universal language does not have to involve the oppression of cultures. Remember that a language is no more than a method of communication, and this can be created in many forms, so do not limit this discussion to the verbal kind.

An example of a created universal language that has benefited many is PADI's universal diver signals set. This is a form of underwater communication that conveys information that can save lives. For example, there is a standard hand signal to demonstrate that you are out of air, and need to share a tank with another scuba diver. Now what if each diver used a different language? How would a diver tell you that you are entering a submerged hunting area if there wasn't a universal underwater language?

There are many other examples like this, and many more ways we can make international interactions easier by creating a standard language. Just don't limit your conception of universal language to Esperanto.
Debate Round No. 3


PADI hand signals are not a language. A language must be complex enough for the speaker to form an original sentence. The WRSTC refers to the hand signals as 'training standards' that are used in Canada, US, Europe, and Japan: not globally [1].
PADI hand signals are not universal. Other organizations such as the Colombian Navy and the Chinese Underwater Association have not yet come to a consensus with WRSTC.
Diving hand signals are being naturally developed by recreational divers [2]. PADI hand signals were not artificially created, but standardized by PADI after naturally developing.

I. Communication Barriers
PADI does not address the difference in cultural values.

II. Respect
A universal language created by one perspective inherently disrespects all other cultures.

III. Don't Force It
“Universal Language” and diving hand signals should develop naturally. Standardizing and implementing a naturally developing language is not the same as creating an artificial language.


Think for a minute, how much more practical international interactions would be with a common system of communication. For example, what if all countries decided to create a shared road sign system? Immigrants and tourists would not have to adjust to the different road languages if all signs worldwide were the same, and in no way does this strip the host country of its cultural heritage. If the whole world accepted a common set of underwater hand signs, how would that be deleterious to any culture? It is only for communications sake.

As you can see, there are forms of language that do not disrespect cultures, all of which fall under the original definition of Universal Language provided at the beginning of the debate. These, and many more forms of communication, can help people worldwide without diminishing cultures.

I agree with you, an artificial universal language cannot ever harbor cultural values. However, that does not mean one cannot be created to enhance communication.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by ForSerious 2 years ago
I do not attack you personally. I understand real life trumps DDO.
However, I am becoming cynical as yesterday three opponents forfeited their rounds to me.

I am very happy you returned to this debate :)
Posted by Thiago.Pires 2 years ago
ForSerious, do not take it as a point of amusement that I did not respond to the argument on time, but I had personal issues to resolve.

The forfeit does not indicate that your argument is indisputably correct, nor that you should limit your notion of universal language to Esperanto and verbo-cultural extinction, which is why I just responded to your previous argument.

Also, even though there were many other valid ways I could have approached your question (like the ones suggested by Tacet and ArcTimes " the title of the debate could have been clearer), I decided to focus on what you really meant to debate, which are artificially created languages.
Posted by ForSerious 2 years ago
That's why definitions within the debate are important. As well as interpreting resolutions in a way that both sides have grounds. How would you propose I word the resolution concisely and include the definition of 'universal language'?
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
It's easy to understand what are your intentions with the resolution, but the reason it needs to be more specific is because it is easy to attack. For example, if someone use body language as an argument, you can't say "oh, but it is really obvious what I meant".

It should be clear. For that reason the contracts, laws, and everything related is so specific, so no hole is found.
Posted by ForSerious 2 years ago
"Attempts to create a universal language" would not include body language or the laws of nature because that already exists and would not be created. I defined "universal language" in the first round.

I disagree. The resolution does not need to be more specific. The intent is clearly spoken languages such as Esperanta.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
The Laws of Nature is the language of the universe.
Posted by Tacet 2 years ago
Body language and tone are already universal languages. They cannot express everything, but nearly everyone, excluding a few people with specific medical conditions and defects, can detect them. Socratits is right in that you should modify your resolution to be more specific.
Posted by socratits 2 years ago
There are soo many ways to attack your resolution. you should be more specific.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by neutral 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con points to obvious benefits of universal language - and one already exists anyway: Math.