Considerations on the Introduction of an International Language into Science



THE Délégation pour l'Adoption d'une Langue Auxiliaire Internationale, founded in Paris in 1901, has received the support of 310 societies of many countries and the approval of 1,250 professors and academicians. It elected in 1907 an international committee, composed of eminent linguists and men of science, which, after having studied all the projects for international language, adopted Esperanto with certain modifications. These modifications, whilst preserving the principles and essential qualities of Dr. Zamenhof's language, aim at a more logical and strict application of these principles and the elimination of certain unnecessary complications. The following are the principal modifications:-

(1) Suppression of the accented letters, thus permitting the language to be printed everywhere, and at the same time preserving the phonetic and frequently re-establishing the international spelling;
(2) Suppression of certain useless grammatical rules which are very troublesome to many nations, and especially to persons possessing only an elementary education (accusative, concord of the adjective);
(3) Regularisation of the method of derivation, this being the only means of preventing the intrusion of idioms and of furnishing a solid foundation for working out of the scientific and technical vocabulary so indispensable for the propagation of the language in the scientific world;
(4) Enrichment of the vocabulary by the adoption of new stems carefully chosen according to the principle of maximum internationality.

All the words have, in fact, been formed from international stems, that is to say those which are common to the majority of European languages, with the result that they are immediately recognised by everyone of medium education. It is not necessary therefore to learn a new language; the international language is the quintessence of the European ones. It is, however, incomparably more easy than any of them on account of its simplicity and absolute regularity; there are no useless rules and no exceptions. It can be learnt by reading it; as soon as one can read it one can write it; as soon as one can write it one can speak it. And experience has proved that the differences of pronunciation amongst people of the most diverse countries are insignificant and cause no trouble at all. To sum up, the linguo internaciona is a simplified and improved Esperanto, very analogous to primitive Esperanto, but possessing the advantage over the latter of being immediately intelligible, so that it is destined to become the international language. Besides, it has already received the warm approval and support of many of the earliest and best Esperantists. It alone, thanks to the support of the scientific and literary men of the Delegation and Committee, has a chance of being adopted some day by governments and of being introduced into the schools of all countries.

[The rest of this appendix is a grammatical overview of the Linguo Internaciona. The language was changed slightly but significantly between 1910, when this volume was written, and 1914 by the Akademio (Ido Academy). A period of stability was then announced, to last for ten years, which has however never in effect been ended. I have felt though, that the changes made in the first four years after 1910 may well be enough to cause confusion among readers as to the state of the present language. For that reason, and because all the relevant material is anyway available elsewhere, I have withheld the rest of this appendix. Anyone desiring more details may contact me and I will be glad to help.]

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James Chandler 14-Dec-97.