It seems that languages must evolve to conform to optimal Shannon information-theory configurations. Even complex things, if commonly expressed, are encoded in short forms.
This morning (Sunday) I had a toothbrushing thought about something our pastor said to me once: "if you're in town, you should go to church". That word "should" is one of those highly information-packed words. In one word it lets someone express a personal opinion as a notion of broader expectations or something that's concretely good for you. Do all languages have it? In French "you should go to church" is "vous devriez aller à l'église". In Spanish it's "usted debe ir a la iglesia".
In any case, I went to church, and it was good. For me.April 03, 2005 08:35 PM