In this world, there is a global government that is all-powerful. However, what makes this world interesting is the type of government structure of the global government. It is not a junta, democracy, or a theocracy. One could argue this world government is a scientocracy, but it's a very specific field of science that they base their decisions around -- Philology. I had to double check the meaning, and I will include it here for reference:

Philology: the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages.

Now, I will coin a word to explain the central government of this world:

Philologocracy: A form of governance whereby all decisions revolve around preserving the existing linguistic heritage of the world.

For example, this Philologocracy would deeply frown upon a language group with less than 1,000 native speakers. It would promptly issue policies to increase the adoption and revival of the language. That's the basic idea, but of course the devil might be in the details. The other part of the Philologocracy definition I want to explain is the emphasis on existing linguistic heritage. This means the central government is off the hook for languages that are already dead, but they could of course be studied as a hobby. So in short, the Philologocracy's mission is to not let any existing language die out.

This world has a specific type of Philologocracy, an egalitarian Philologocracy. In this form of government all languages must have EQUAL populations of native speakers. This spells doom for our big languages like: English, Chinese, Spanish and so forth. At the same time, this is an unexpected miracle for anyone with a soft spot for tiny language groups. For instance, Chinese speakers shouldn't outnumber an African tribe language like Maasai. Approximately all 6,700+ languages must have equally sized populations of native speakers.

Question: How can the Philologocracy take our world, which seems to have formed from a mix of political, military and economic influences to a world that has a balanced population size for each existing language in the world? I'm just looking for a general overall strategy. To keep the scope within reason, consider these objectives:


  • Increase birth rate of endangered language populations
  • Ensure adoption of endangered language, that it may be "revived"
  • Impose a form of punishment for not speaking the endangered language (note: the death penalty might not work here since the Philologocracy may not have the guts to follow through executing the precious remaining native speakers)
  • Reduce birth rate of large language groups

Success Metric: All existing languages have equally sized populations of native speakers

Further Clarifications:

  • Assume total passivity of the citizens of this world (whatever the central government says goes)
  • Assume the world the Philologocracy inherits is the real world of today
  • Ethnic heritage is preferred, but external groups may be added as needed for the case of a truly tiny language where undue inbreeding is a risk.
  • Territory can be re-allocated as necessary to support the new landscape of the world. Each language group should have enough land to have reasonable autonomy.

  • Radical redrawing of boundaries is allowed.

  • Dialects can count as a language if they are different enough. To make it simple consider the line in the sand to be mutually intelligibility. For instance, Cantonese and Mandarin would make the cut, but Farsi and Dari would not. When choosing which to keep, choose the older one. If it is uncertain which is older, think of a clever political maneuver to justify one over the other.

  • Language must have existed in the past. The Philologocracy will not accept a language that was made up yesterday.
  • Fictional languages are not in consideration either. They can continue to exist in the movies, but there won't be any real life Kling'On states.
  • A group of people can only speak one native language, and are limited to being able to speak 2 other languages, but only at proficient level.
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Governments don't actually exist to implement these kinds of reforms; they're specifically designed to organise, regulate and facilitate production in all its many forms. This means raising an army to defend that production, building roads to facilitate it, and stopping producers from summarily dumping chemicals into rivers and the like because it impacts long term production. The pacific nature of your citizens will degenerate quickly if their needs are not met, just look at the French Revolution for proof. Great idea, but better done as an international foundation. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ @TimBII Yes, I agree. I tend of think of "central governments" differently than state governments. That's partly why I was getting so crafty with their responsibilities. Also, the aim is that the assumption of citizen passivity will relax such concerns. I tried to account for as much as I could to make it realistic, but I'm sure there are a few loose ends. Let's just take the premise as granted for the moment. Although, I do appreciate this kind of feedback. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2018 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ I smell computer game logic. Anyhow, im what you are describing as "Philologocracy" is as if I'd call something a "Medicalocracy" that plans on giving every person the same operation no matter what they have or "Physicscracy" that mostly promotes a pantheistic world view and esoterics or a "Carcracy" that wants everyone to ride bikes and take trains everywhere - basically the opposite of what those people usually stand for mixed with a good amount of crazy $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ Unrelated 2nd comment: "Assume the world the Philologocracy inherits is the real world of today" An crazy institution that is about to relocate people, shift borders around, force people to speak languages and all of that for a goal that has absolutely no benefit for anyone is going to meet some resistance. This is absolutely impossible. Does this government have magical powers that everyone has to follow and do what they say? How is the implementation of any of these reforms going to work? When you are asking about strategy, are you also asking how they enforce this in the real world? $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ See "The Languages of Pao" by Jack Vance, published 1958. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


As a start, your phylologists could mimic the various strategies pursued by ecologists (in order to get a political influence and preserve biodiversity).

Their points of view are very similar : they see diversity as a treasure and uniformization as a threat. They want to protect endangered species, or endangered languages.

So, the first part of the strategy is to convince people that their fight is meaningful. Why uniformization would be an issue for the world ?

You must spot the danger, and name the ennemy.

Let's imagine that they see global standardisation as a dangerous process, and they think that actual leaders of the world want to make everybody similar, to make them easier to control.

People with different languages see the world differently, have their own concepts and culture. They have their specific identity ans tastes. But many world leaders want everybody to follow the same track, buy the same things, vote the same way. Some of them want to destroy local languages, to weaken minorities and strenghten their own power.

The phylologists may want to overthrow those leaders, and promote diversity. They should convince people that they face a risk, and that uniformization will have a negative impact on their life. They need to educate them about cultural differences, and the richness of languages. Because those who don't know much about others, don't care.

With ecology, you must think local AND global. If you take only the local aspect or only the global aspect, it won't work. I think that the language issue is similar. They must fight at a local level and global level.

So they should find a way to unite the various minorities that are fighting for their identity (and trying to preserve their language) to become a political force, and count on the international scene.

Once they are strong enough, then can act as a lobby and promote their program to protect language diversity. But they will face strong opponants, so it's not going to be an easy fight, and will take decades.

They will have to be patient. A more brutal strategy, like using the force to reach their goal, might not lead anywhere. Their only chance is to think on the long term, and bet on the next generations, to create a new world order.

  • $\begingroup$ There are other ecologies which favour the adoption of a single language. In the 18th century, the language of diplomacy was French, while in the 13th century all nobles and educated people spoke Latin. Today, the language of science, aviation and computing is English, so you can, in fact, fly into any airport and the ATC will understand you when you talk to the tower. The advantages of single standardization are huge, and may overpower any non coercive measure to impose languages on people. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ As a natural tendency, international language coexist with local languages. In the world, most English speakers (2/3) use it as a second or foreign language. English will not replace their native language. Unless they are forced to speak only English. That's why I'm saying that philologists need an ennemy in order to rise. They can emerge as opposants to leaders who want to force uniformization. $\endgroup$
    – Ghajini
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 9:20

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