ENGLISH

 

Far outnumbering those who have French or German for the mother tongue is the English now spoken by probably about 175 millions of people. Because of the increasing populations of the United States and the British colonies, English is likely to occupy a position of constantly increasing importance, though one must not forget the probable rate of increase of the Russian and the Spanish. The English have been a colonizing and trading race, consequently a knowledge of English is widespread throughout the world and hardly a city of any importance can be found where English is not spoken. It contains one of the finest literatures of any language, ancient or modern. Its grammar is free from the embarrassing declensions, agreements and conjugations of the German and French. Its vocabulary of Romance and Germanic origin contains such a large proportion of international roots that "neither the Frenchman, the Hollander, the Norwegian, the Dane, the Swede, nor even the German feels himself entirely a stranger" (Meillet, ibid, p. 296). The relations between the French and English vocabularies are particularly close and intimate.

Acknowledging all that can be said in favor of the English, we must recognize that there does not yet exist any considerable amount of organized or unorganized sentiment in non-English speaking countries to lead us to suppose that these countries would be willing to adopt English as the official secondary language. The French particularly with their well known love and appreciation of their own language would be particularly opposed. The very fact of the commercial and political predominance of the English speaking races militates against the adoption of the language by arousing the nationalistic jealousies and prejudices against any further extension of this powerful position.

Spelling and Pronunciation: The chaotic English spelling and pronunciation, to say nothing of the complicated accentuation, entirely unfits it to occupy the position of an I. L. Compare, for instance, the five constant vowel sounds of a, e, i, o, u as found in the Spanish, (or Italian) with the thirty or more vowel sounds that these letters may stand for in English and in addition to this the multitude of ways of spelling the same sound.(10) How is the self-taught foreigner to remember what particular sound to give to a particu-lar vowel or combination of vowels? Take the th sound as found in "the" and "therefore" present in almost every sentence, which many foreigners find almost impossible to pronounce correctly. My current weekly paper is advertising a book entitled "How to Spell and Pronounce 25,000 words frequently misspelled and mispronounced," If we need such a book, what chance has the foreigner of correctly spelling and pronouncing our language? Educators tell us that because of the time necessary for our children to devote to the barren and unprofitable study of the spelling books, our children are retarded a year or more in their progress in comparison with children of other nationalities who do not have to confront this difficulty. That I may not be considered to have exaggerate the difficulties, I quote the following authorities:

 

"When the vocabularies of the two languages (Anglo-Saxon and Norman-French), widely different both in their orthographical structure and their phonological character, were combined, the result is a language in which the orthography has almost reached the extreme of irregularity. To such an extent, in fact, have the signs representing sounds been multiplied, that many of the letters are pronounced in several different ways, while the letters, or combinations of letters, for a single sound amount, in some cases, to scores. Indeed it may be computed that many words of no more than two syllables may be spelled in several thousand different modes, by the use of combinations actually employed in other words in the language. The word scissors, for instance, may be thus written as is computed by Ellis, in nearly six thousand different ways."

Article 'Orthography', Webster's Dictionary.

"We have half a dozen symbols for every sound and we have half a dozen sounds to the same symbol. Our spelling is illogical, incoherent and chaotic, and no other language, ancient or modern, has ever had a group of orthographic inconsistencies as absurd as "Through" (thru.), "cough" (kof), "hough" (hok), "bough" (baw or bou), "rough" (ruf)."

Brander Matthews, newspaper article.

"The spelling of the English continues to be probably the most vicious to be found in any cultivated tongue that ever existed. With a number of sounds for the same sign, and again with a number of signs for the same sound, it is in no sense a guide to pronunciation, which is its only proper office,"

Lounsbury, 'English Language', p. 82.

Said Prof. Francis A. March, former President of the American Philological Society, "It is no use to try to characterize with fitting epithets and adequate terms of obturation the monstrous spelling of the English language,"

Quoted from R. G. White's 'Words and their Uses.'

Said Prof. Max Müller, "If we compare English as spoken with English as written, they seem like two different languages ... as different as Latin is from Italian,"

Any thoroughgoing phonetic reform which would remove some of the difficulties of English for the foreigner is extremely unlikely in the immediate future. Professor Brander Matthews, of the Simplified Spelling Board, asserts: "Any scientific phonetic reform is absolutely impossible." We should have to introduce a large number of diacritical marks or new letters which would play havoc with the language and practically result in a new language for the eye.(11) The most that we can expect is that in the course of four or five decades, we shall arise to that degree of intellectual impartiality which will enable us to willingly adopt at least many of the amended spellings recommended by the English and American Philological Association. Such adoption would doubtless mark a great advance, but it would not be fundamental enough to enable the foreign student to spell or pronounce easily the English language.

 

As a matter of fact, the great difficulty of English for the foreigner lies not so much in the spelling as in the pronunciation. The orthography is largely international and consequently thousands of our words are recognizable by sight to the foreigner. He knows the meanings without reference to the dictionary. If we change the spellings to accord with the pronunciations, he would lose the facility of reading the English. That which is irregular and fantastic to the foreigner is the pronunciation. To help the foreigner, therefore, we should not attempt to make the spelling agree with the pronunciation, but the pronunciation with the spelling. We should not pronounce nature as nechur, or nation as neshon, or ocean(12) as oshan or oshn but as they are now spelled. The same is true of the French. It would be easier to learn French if it were pronounced as written than it would be if it were written according to the pronunciation. The spelling of all languages is much more international than the pronunciation. It is just this similarity in spelling which facilitates the learning of international roots.

GRAMMAR: The grammar, though fairly easy and regular in comparison with other languages, has many irregularities and exceptions to rules. We have for instance, over 170 words in common use of which the past and past participle are formed irregularly. There exists no regular rule by which one can determine the plural forms of the nouns. Some plurals end in -s, others in -es; some change the spelling of the root, as beef to beeves, leaf to leaves, body to bodies, child to children, foot to feet. Some words are without distinguishable singular and plural, as: you, deer, sheep. We have many form of prefixes and suffixes which modify the meaning of a word in the same way. Take these, for example, which are intended to give an opposite meaning to the root: inequality, irregular, impolite, illogical, ignoble, disagreable, malapropos, non-essential, uneven. Any logically formed I. L. (or the German for that matter) can express this idea in one or two invariable forms. A well-known 'English Grammar Simplified' contains 236 pages of text.(13)

 

IDIOM: As has been said, all cultural languages have become fixed in certain forms of expression, any departure from which stigmatises the speaker or writer as uncultured and ignorant. The foreigner must painfully acquire modes of expression, not merely definitions of words.(14) In French, the use of an improper word to express a definite meaning is almost a crime. The English words are more ambiguous because they may be used with widely differing meanings according to the ways they may be combined in sentences, the ordinary dictionary significations of the separate words affording but little clue to the real sense. This leads to looseness, ambiguity, inexactness of expression which is a constant source of misunderstandings. It is a difficult matter to draft a law which does not need court decisions to determine its meaning or draw up a treaty which is not open to different interpretations. It is impossible to expect the foreign student to acquire English modes of expression without instruction of high class extending over years. As a practical example of what we might expect to find were English taught in all foreign schools, I give the following:

"English is compulsory in all the schools of the Island (Porto Rico), but few pupils learn it thoroughly enough to retain it through life. Most of them read if in a parrot-like manner; if they speak it all, it is to shout some half-intelligible phrase after a passing American. The ear shudders at the English spoken even by teachers who are supposed to be specialists in it, the rest are little short of incomprehensible.

Passing on from one instructor to another, the English that finally comes down to the pupils resembles the original about as much as an oft-repeated bit of gossip resembles the original facts. It might almost be said that there has been no progress made in teaching English in the twenty years of American rule, or at least in the last fifteen of them." (my underscoring).

H. A. Franck, 'Roaming through the West Indies', (page 2, par.:1).

We must conclude, therefore, that the practical use of English as an auxiliary tongue is impossible. Any brief study on the part of the foreigner can only equip him with a sort of jargon, "baby", "pidgin"-English, such as we sometimes find used by guides on the continent or which would be merely sufficient to make the speaker understood in a barber-shop, a restaurant, a shop. It would be entirely insufficient qualitatively and quantitatively to enable the user to write a lengthy letter in idiomatic, correct English or to translate a popular or scientific article from his own language into the English, in the way it can be done in a properly constructed artificial I. L.

Consider the plight of some learned, foreign savant who attempted to put into standard English some paper of his for an international congress. As one writer puts it: "One can picture the scene in which representatives of all nations would meet in solemn discussion of questions in an expatriated English, to which no Briton could listen without a ripple of laughter or an impatient shrug of indignation." Even if a more thorough study were attempted than is at present practically possible, the English would lose more than it could gain by such adoption. Said the linguist, Michel Bréal: "A language would become a mixture of all idioms and would lose all its distinctive spirit and all its originality." In other words, the wide use of any language by peoples of different linguistic traditions and training could only result in a degradation of the language.

I will conclude with the words of Prof. Lounsbury (English Language, p.187-8)

"Of all the languages of Christendom, English is the one now spoken by far the largest number of persons; and from present appearances there would seem to be but little limit to its possible extension. Yet that it or any other tongue will ever become a universal language is so much more than doubtful, that it may be called impossible; and even if it were possible, it is a question if it would be desirable... It has become extended because it has been and still is the speech of two great nations which have been among the foremost in civilisation and power, the most greedy in the grasping of territory and the most successful in the planting of colonies. But as political reasons have lifted the tongue into its present prominence, so in the future to political reasons will be owing its progress or decay."

 

BOTH ENGLISH AND FRENCH AS I. L.

 

It has sometimes been suggested that both English and French be adopted as universal tongues. As either of these languages is tremendously difficult to master, the proposal to double the task for non-English and non-French peoples may be accurately described as stupid, though "thoughtless" is a more polite word.

 

DEMANDS ON AN I. L.

 

An efficient I. L. should have the following general characteristics;

(1) Neutrality in all international relations.

(2) Easy comprehensibility founded on the use of international European root words.

(3) Simplicity and regularity of grammar, though sufficient for the exact expression of all necessary thought relations.

(4) Phonetic spelling.

(5) Ease and euphony of pronunciation, by the avoidance of gutturals, nasals, varied pronunciation of consonants and vowels, difficult diphthongs, harsh or unusual sounds arising from combinations of letters.

(6) Regular accentuation.

(7) Precision of expression: Unambiguity in the signification of words. Absence of difficult idiomatic expressions where the meaning can only be understood from the sentence as a whole, as: "How do you do?" A logical method of sentence formation, preferably that of the English and French: subject, verb, complement and the qualifying words in general placed next to the words they qualify.

(8) A richness of vocabulary sufficient for the exact and clear and euphonious expression of all thought.

(9) A regular and rigorously logical system of word formation and derivation by means of affixes.

(10) Easily printable, using only such characters and letters as are most generally in use or easily obtainable: the Roman alphabet.

(11) Such a general facility of use that the ordinary person can easily master it sufficiently to read, write and speak.

 

No national language fulfills even a small number of the above requirements. English, for example, fulfills none except no. 10.

_________________________

 

Notes:

10 - The following words have the same vowel sound: urn, earn, work, bird, were, surge and tierce. The same is true of mine, pie, eye, buy, height.

In Clark's work on the I. L., page 19, will be found 21 ways of writing the same sound of the letter a.

11 - It is likely to be some centuries before we shall feel free to write excess as xs, or edge as ej, or give one common spelling to the different ideas contained in wright, write, right, and rite. Nor are we soon likely to write the words of Hamlet's soliloquy on mortality, "must give us pause" in the form of "must give us paws."

12 - Ocean is pronounced in German "ocean" in French oseang", in Italian "ocheano", in Russian "okean".

13 - "Now, the fact is that these principal parts of speech are so interchangeable in our mother tongue that they can hardly be said to be distinguished from each other. In English almost any simple noun may be used as a verb without change in its form; and in like manner almost any verb may be used as a noun. Nouns are used as adjectives, and adjectives as nouns. Pronouns may be used, and are used, as nouns, as adjectives, and even as verbs. We wire a message, we table a resolution, we foot our way home, a hunter trees a bear, a broker bears stock or bulls it, the merchant ships his goods, the hypocrite cloaks his sins with acted falsehood, the invalid suns himself, the east wind clouds the sky. We thus constantly use, and for centuries have used, as verbs words which originally were nouns. On the other hand, we speak of the run of a ship, of a great haul of fish, of a horse coming in on the jump, of a man being on the go, of a great rush of people, of a push of business, of the thrust of the rafters of a house, of the spring and fail, and so on using verbs as nouns. We cannot speak of the right and the wrong, the good and the bad, the strong and the weak without using adjectives as nouns... And as to using nouns as adjectives, we cannot speak of a gold watch, an iron bar, a bar-room, a carpet-bag, a carpet knight, a brick house, a stone bridge, or a windmill, without doing that. It is the commonest conversion of the parts of speech. We can hardly communicate in English without it ... When we use brew-house, a wash-house, a turn-stile, we use verbs as adjectives. As to pronouns, "he" and "she" are constantly used as adjectives as a he goat, a she animal... Love in English corresponds to both amor and amo in Latin, and to amour and aime in French. Man is a noun, meaning a human male (home, homme); and it is a verb, as, to man a ship, for which in Latin and French there must be a periphrasis; and it is an adjective, as man child, manrope, a use of the word impossible in Latin or in French, you cannot tell whether love or man is noun, verb, or adjective until you see it in a sentence. The illustrations of this fact in English are countless." (R. G White, 'Every-Day English,' p. 296-8).

14 - We do not "sow' but "plant" corn. "Why" asks the foreigner, "Cannot 1 say meself and yesternight as well as myself and yesterday?" We have to reply: "What you say is logical enough, but it is not good English to use these expressions."

 

 

 

GENERAL OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF AN I. L.

 

There exists a more or less consciously held presupposition that language is not an acoustical and optical sign system arbitrarily coordinated with our thought, but that our ideas are inseparable from the manner of their expression, i. e. the words; that the ideas and method of correlating these ideas into logical categories differ so much among the nations that no common basis exists upon which to found a common tongue. In short, that "language cannot be created in a retort" but is a "living organism" which cannot be artificially reproduced.

Though few scholars hold to this objection in its logical purity, there yet exists a widespread prejudice against any artificial form of language based on the belief in its inadequacy to take the place of a so-called natural language. They feel that an I. L. can only be a rough code of mutually intelligible signs, not a true language.

If one carries this objection to its logical extreme, one would have to admit that no language can be adequately translated into another. That the English and French versions of the Peace Treaty are not faithful reproductions of a common thought. This extreme form hardly needs, I think, a refutation. It may be admitted that because of our fixed diction in constructing sentences, often some small shade, nuance of thought in the original cannot be well expressed in translation, unless by way of parenthesis, but this applies only to unimportant details and does not affect the substance.

The overwhelming refutation of the above objection is the demonstrated fact that such an artificially elaborated form of I. L. as Ido can and does translate all thought accurately and precisely. In fact, Ido, by its logical system of prefixes and suffixes, by its use of words in an unambiguous way is, as said Couturat, "an instrument of precision, for the analysis and exact expression of thought, which is superior, from the point of view of logic, to our traditional languages, encumbered as they are by confused and ambiguous expressions." It is to be noted that we are here speaking of thoughts that admit of precise expression. The I. L. is essentially an instrument for the expression of the intellect, though it is by no means lacking in the expressiveness necessary in literary creation providing that such sentiments are capable of being clearly put into words. Doubtless the native tongue will always remain supreme in the misty realms of poetry and imaginative literature wherein the soul obscurely strives after expression by beauty of diction.

The possibility of translation into a different tongue lies in the fact that in spite of using different noises and signs to represent the same thought, we all live in the same sort of world and apprehend this world through the same senses and one common logic, however much this common logic may be obscured by different idioms, metaphors and grammatical difficulties with which an uncontrolled growth has encumbered the languages. In other words, we have common senses to grasp facts and common facts to grasp. We get our interpretations of words from our environment. The difficulties of understanding arise not from differences of mental process but from lack of information. For example, it would be difficult to convey to the ill-informed dweller of the tropics a clear idea of the actual appearance and properties of snow. The idea of "home" will be pictured in the minds of different peoples in a different way, yet there yet exists a common basis of understanding in the idea of a dwelling place, an abode for one's family. Now if the mental processes were different, if our, senses were different, this mutual intelligibility would not be possible. Recent news items speak of the possibility of communication with the inhabitants of Mars. Presumably the mentality and environment of the "Man from Mars" are so different from our own as to make any mutual comprehension absolutely impossible.

In conclusion, I quote the apt remark of Prof. Ostwald:

"The scientific investigator regards language only as a means of making himself understood. Language is not for him something "which thinks and poetizes", but rather an instrument for conveying his knowledge and wishes to other people much after the fashion whereby a musician is enabled to convey his feelings by means of musical notation and the instruments of the orchestra."

It is true that we cannot create a "living organism", like a horse to drag our goods, but we can create a motor which will do the work far better. The natural languages may be said to have the beauty of the natural forest and thickets untouched by the hand of man. A properly constructed I. L. is like the beauty that goes with the studied placing of the trees and the clearing away of the underbrush. Our arts are artificial as distinguished from the wild beauty of nature, but they gain thereby more than they lose.(1) An a posteriori form of I. L. is in reality but a reasoned use of existing linguistic material, not a purely artificial creation, It is but the "quintessence" of modern languages. All theoretical beliefs to the contrary must yield in the face of practical demonstration of its possibility.

 

AN I. L. NOT SOMETHING NEW.

 

It is well to remember that, however absurd the creation of a common secondary language may seem to some Europeans, such languages have existed for centuries in the orient, India has in Hindustanee, or Urdu, which has existed since the 16th century a key language which will carry a may throughout hundreds of different tribes. The Sanskrit was an artificial creation of scholars dating from 350 B.C.. In order to end the linguistic confusion which arose owing to the break up of the ancient Vedic peoples into various tribes and state organizations, a number of Indian scholars, headed by the famous Panini, created out of the Vedic languages an artificial language, now known as Sanskrit which remains in use in that fixed form even to-day.(2) The Chinese, who have a large number of widely divergent languages, possess in Mandarin-Chinese a master language which serves as a common written language throughout the empire.

Owing to the growth of science, there has been artificially coined for the European languages, a vast scientific vocabulary which is a practical lingua franca for scientists. Furthermore, we have elaborated systems of international signs, such as the numbers, algebraic signs, chemical signs, musical notation, maritime signals.(3)

 

PRACTICAL OPPOSITION AND PUBLIC INERTIA.

 

The real hindrances which prevent a wide acceptance of an I. L. arise (1) from objections founded upon the inadequacy of some forms of I. L.; (2) from prejudices caused by the inaccurate and improper ways of translating thought by poorly instructed users of artificial languages, (3) from the natural conservatism inherent in human nature, scholarly and otherwise. The last is by far the most important obstacle.

It is admitted that a string of undefined words, plus a few grammatical rules (such as is outlined in some of the Latinist projects) do not constitute a true language and, more than a lot of unshaped stones constitute a building. Such a "language" is at best but a more code somewhat more full than maritime signals. Any proper I. L. must be a consistent whole which covers fully and accurately the necessary expression of complex and varied thought. Practical experience shows that the elaborated I. L. known as Ido, answers the purpose of a real language.

An elaborated language, such as Ido, is a powerful instrument for the expression of thought, but like many powerful instruments it needs study to understand and care in use if it is to produce the best results. It should not be held against Ido or Esperanto that non-adepts in the language, either because of natural inability to think clearly or because of a tendency to be misled by national idiom find it difficult to translate their thoughts clearly. No form, of I. L. can furnish brains to its students or give them facile use of the language without study. One can practically from the start construct simple matter which will be understood perfectly by all foreigners, but the accurate translation of difficult matter requires study and practice.

The greatest obstacle which the I. L. has to overcome is the conservatism especially of the learned classes and persons in authority. To-day there exists no problem of the I. L. in the sense of its possibility or practicability, any more than there is of the possibility of air-flight by human beings. The real problem, or rather series of small problems, is simply to determine the most efficient form such a language should take. Governments are, as a rule, far more conservative than the bulk of the people, and it usually takes from ten to fifteen years after public sentiment has been worked up to obtain the necessary legislation. Probably the favourable verdict of the scholarly and scientific world would do more to hasten the advent of an official I. L. than any widespread use among the more ordinary people. That verdict no form of I. L. has yet succeeded in obtaining, although there is visible an increased willingness to accord such recognition.

Why is this dilatoriness on the part of the learned public? First of all, I should say, the advent of an I. L. has been vastly retarded by the fact that there exists no pecuniary recompense for its construction. Such efforts as have been made have been largely at the expense of idealists poor in this world's goods. Could any one have made money out of it, the I. L. would have been in a much more advanced stage than it is now. Secondly, the training of the ordinary professor leads him to pursue the "safe and sane" paths of accepted truth such as the use of the dative in Virgil, early English poetry or archeology, rather than to make incursions into what he is inclined to regard as a cheap, commercial language lacking in history and tradition. As a matter of fact, the construction or even use of a perfected I. L. presents a particularly instructive field of study. It demands an analysis of thought and language which would delight the true scholar providing one could interest him in it. The I. L. is a particularly human problem related to the mass of the people which needs not merely linguistic knowledge but common sense, that is, the ability, to judge impartially and sympathetically all facts in their relations to human beings, which is a native endowment as likely to be found outside as inside of colleges. The outlook for the support of the I. L. by the learned classes is not particularly bright when one stops to consider that long line of savants who have opposed the rotation of the earth, the circulation of the blood, steam power, propellers, railroads, gas-lighting, aviation and all the rest either by "demonstrating the impossibility" or declaring that "even if it could be done it would not be of any use." However, the sentiment in regard to an official I. L. is slowly gaining respectability, The eminence of many of the originators and propagators of Ido has been a great help toward bringing the problem within the range of vision of scholars. Possibly I have exaggerated the antagonism of the learned and official classes, probably a better term would be "inertia." We have advanced to the point where it is fairly easy to find prominent people who are willing to sign a petition in favor of such a language, though almost none of them are willing to devote real study to the subject or go to the trouble of even learning by practical experience the capabilities of either Ido or Esperanto. With respectability will come funds for development and propaganda and an eventual official recognition.

However, the lack of support on the part of those who one might suppose would be the most active protagonists, the professors of languages, has possibly had one good effect. It has allowed the language to develop from simple forms and prevented the intrusion of intricate and difficult rules of grammar and expression which would likely have taken place had the task been turned over to a purely linguistic body. No complicated forms which can only be mastered by years of study should be intruded into a language to be easily acquired by ordinarily educated men of all nationalities. Such support as has been given has come mainly from scientists rather than linguists, The scientists because of their training in other fields of endeavor have felt a greater need of such a language and have no vested interests in the "natural" languages. Ostwald, Pfaundler, Donnan were scientists. Couturat, outside of the fact of his prolonged study of the I. L., was a philosopher and mathematician, Jespersen (aside from the help afforded by Baudouin de Courtenay in the Delegation Committee) has been the only philologist of eminence to give constant help and support in the development of Ido. Of course, the language has received much aid and assistance from the labors of many who have had a wide knowledge of languages but they have not been men of prominence. (see Appendix A.)

The development of an I. L. has been a matter of trial and error. No one man or group of men can sit down in a study and evolve a perfect form of language. It needs practical use to demonstrate its excellencies, its defects, its limits. The learning of the scholars must be checked by the common sense of the ordinary man. No rule or word should exist in an artificial I. L. for which there does not exist a good reason and the I. L. therefore needs and welcomes scientific study. The I. L. is essentially a popular movement and in the course of time will undoubtedly gain the support of the learned and governmental classes.

 

A PRIORI SOLUTIONS.

 

Certain philosophic minds from the time of Descartes on, while perhaps recognizing the possibility of a language constructed on a posteriori principles, have attempted to build up an I. L. by a philosophical coordination of ideas and symbols, in an endeavor to give high precision to ideas and avoid the ambiguities and illogical expressions of natural languages. As Descartes said, such a language depends upon the creation of a "vraye Philosophie" and is not intended for "esprits vulgaires".

It affirms that the fundamental ideas possible to the human mind are few in number, mind and matter; mind: the intellect, the sensibilities, the will; matter: organic and inorganic; organic matter: vegetable or animal, etc. To such fundamental ideas are assigned arbitrarily selected letters or numbers (or in such a language as Solresol: a musical notation). In the Ro project, for example, the letter b stands for one of the 25 grand divisions of ideas and denotes "existence, substances thing;" the letter o: "a concrete noun"; the letter d: "space, place, dimension," Ro translates the idea of world by "bod"; comet., "bodak", moon, "bodam", star: "bodar"; sun: "bodas", etc. I judge from the foregoing that the only letters which afford a clew to the meaning are to be found in the first three letters of each word, the others being arbitrary endings to enable the reader to distinguish the different objects from one another. This is a fair illustration, I think, of the method followed in building up all philosophical "languages". They are primarily mathematical in conception. One could use bod-1 for world, bod-2 for comet, bod-3 moon, or even 1-1 for world, 1-2 for comet, because such numbers are quite as distinctive (and probably as easily remembered) as the letters. About the only good word that I can say for these systems is that they are neutral. It is, of course, mathematically possible to build up with a few letters or numbers sufficient combinations to run into the millions, but this unfortunately does not furnish the means to remember easily or understand the meanings of this prodigious number of combinations. It may be noted that there is some relation between such systems and the ideographic writing of the Chinese with its 40,000 signs.

The following reasons are given to show that such, projects are practically impossible:

(1) That the fundamental conception that the primary ideas are but few in number is illusory and contrary to fact. As Prof. Couturat remarked, the different and irreducible symbols of mathematics alone amount to more than one hundred, not to speak of the large number of symbols and combinations of symbols necessary to express the chemical formulas. While possibly suitable for the classification of such simple ideas as world, moon, comet, star, it must utterly break down when it comes to the multitudinous abstract ideas of wide and varied application as expressed by verbs in common use and qualifying words. One has but to look at such books as Roget's 'Thesaurus' to realize the complexity of the problem and how inadequate is any existing project.

(2) That aside from the fact that it would be extremely difficult to institute a world philosophic congress which would work out a logical classification of ideas which would be acceptable to all, we have to take cognizance of the fact that in scientific conceptions at least there is nothing absolutely final. New discoveries, new conceptions are constantly arising which make it necessary to revise our ideas, some of them very fundamental as regards the universe and its workings. Such a priori systems as have been heretofore worked upon rest upon the individual conceptions of their originators with all the limitations and errors that must arise from imperfect knowledge and apprehension.

(3) That as a matter of fact the exigencies of thought have in each language worked out a classification, or at least distinction of ideas by means of separate words for objects, acts, feeling, which although not logically perfect is probably quite as good as some a priori classification that a group of philosophers can give. A comparison of language shows that though we use different sounds to represent the one same idea, the peoples have found it necessary to make the same habitual distinctions of objects and thoughts in all languages.

(4) That in trying to escape the ambiguities which arise from the different idiomatic uses of the same word by assigning arbitrary letters to a particular idea, readers must of necessity translate the ideas expressed back into the familiar words of their own language and therefore misconceptions would be likely to arise. Of course, this could be avoided if careful and minute definitions were given for each sign. But such aid would be only partial, for we do not think alone in abstract formulas where the relations are few but in complex conceptions of life where the intellect, the will and the sensibilities each have their part. Man is not only a logical being but a psychological being.

(5) That the great advantage of an a posteriori language is the facility with which it can be learned in comparison with any existing natural language. The best language is that which uses the least machinery and takes the least time to do the work efficiently. There is no sense in adopting an intricate machine where a simple one will suffice. Any a priori language would not only burden the mind by attempting to think along new and unaccustomed formulas but would simply overwhelm the memory with combinations of arbitrary letters or other symbols which would make memorizing of our entire chemical formularies pale in comparison.(4) A priori systems are in fact but glorified Dewey systems of classification such as we find in our libraries, plus a multiplicity of combinations to represent the ideas of motions, of sensibilities, of connective words. This loss of facility would make the thorough learning of the most difficult of any of our existing natural languages seem like child's play.

(6) That it is not believed that such a language could be spoken, and if it could be spoken, it would be practically impossible to understand, as one would lose all the associations of words with their customary sounds that now aid us in remembering the significations. Therefore, such a language, in comparison with a natural language or an a posteriori artificial one, would be but half a language.

(7) That no workable a priori system has yet been evolved, or is in prospect of being evolved. Until some system is created that stands some likelihood of adoption there seems to be little use of discussion.

I will conclude with a quotation from Prof. Couturat who, as a philosopher and logician, was particularly well qualified to render judgment:

"Elles (a priori languages) reposent sur un principe tout subjectif, essentiellement précaire et caduc. Elles n'ont donc ni valeur scientifique, ni utilité pratique. "Histoire de la Langue Universelle, p, 119.

"En résumé, une langue philosophique est irréalisable dans l'état actuel des sciences, et fut-elle réaliste, elle serait impraticable même pour les savants, parce qu'elle irait à rebours de la fin de tout language et de tout symbolisme, et paralyserait la pensée au lieu de l'aider. "Pour la Langue Internationale", p. 15.

 

WHY NOT THE LATIN?

 

To the man educated along classical lines, the first solution of the I. L. that offers itself is apt to be the Latin. It was the common language of the intellectual élite of the Holy Roman Empire. The Reformation, the increase of culture of the common man, the growth of independent states, all contribute to the abandonment of the wide use of Latin, and in the 18th century it had ceased to be the common language of the learned. The 19th century marked its decadence in University circles. Latin has in its favor that it is neutral, dead and therefore respectable. It is the direct parent of the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Roumanian. It has been used with Greek to build up a modern vocabulary of scientific terms. Latin roots may be found for about half of our common English vocabulary and for about three-quarters of the whole vocabulary. They are quite abundant in the German and many are found even in the Russian. The sameness of these root forms should not, however, be stressed too much. The original Latin words have undergone many phonetical changes in all languages, especially in the English where they came into the language largely from the early French and underwent still further changes in the course of history. Admitting these changes in orthography, there yet remains a fairly recognizable common form of spelling the root which facilities the learning of the different tongues. These Latin root words constitute the largest basis for unity among European languages. We cannot escape from it. When some teacher of English gives the advice: "Avoid Latin derivatives; use terse, pure, simple Saxon", he is using but one single Saxon word "Saxon; " the other seven words of the sentence being of Latin derivation. What places the English in the Germanic group is the fact that our grammatical, connective words, nearly all propositions and conjunctions, together with articles, pronouns, adverbs from pronominal roots, which occur in almost every English sentence, come to us from the Saxon. Also we have a large number of words of common, every-day use which come to us from the same source, as: man, horse, bird; good, evil; long, short; lie, sit, stand. In a number of cases we have two words expressing the same idea one from the Saxon, one from the Latin, as: will and testament, yearly and annual; begin and commence. What gives to the English vocabulary the Latin predominance is the fact that not only thousands of words expressing primitive conceptions have been derived from the Latin through the French, as sign, color, power, but the fact that there exists beside the Anglo-Saxon primitive words, derivative words expressing the same idea which have come to us from the Latin-French. Along, with Anglo-Saxon word leaf, we have the English words foliaceous, foliage, foliate, which come from the Latin words: foliaceus, folium, foliatus; along with the Anglo-Saxon word iron, we have ferro-, ferrous from the Latin ferrum; with the word die, which is of Scandinavian origin, we have many words in the English derived from the Latin mori, as: mortal, mortuary, immortal, Any international language, therefore, which is based on internationality must contain a predominance of root word which were primitively Latin. Early proponents of the I. L. did not clearly recognize the extent and significance of this vast body of common root material and their systems therefore differed much from one another in vocabulary. "To-day", as says Prof. Jespersen, "great converging lines are seen", so that most systems are but dialects of one another. A further discussion of the nature of the vocabulary will be found under that heading.

A committee on the I. L. from the British Association (Educ. Section) recently attempted a census of opinion on the claims and practicability of classical and medieval Latin to serve as an auxiliary language. Scholars furnished Latin translations of certain test papers (also translated in Ido and Esperanto). Copies of the Committee's Report and test translations may be obtained from the 'Committee on International Auxiliary Language, International Research Council, 1701 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington,D. C., U.S.A.'

I must refuse as a practical man of considerable experience with the problem of the I. L. to discuss at length any solution which has classical or medieval Latin as it aim. Such remarks as I shall insert are put in simply for the purpose of showing the relations between Latin and modern practical forms of the I. L. The advantage of the ancient Latin are so plainly outweighed by it disadvantages as to be simply out of the question, except for a few college professors. The learning of any modern language, to say nothing of an artificial language like Ido or Esperanto is so much more easy and more suitable to modern conditions that even if the governments were unwise enough to adopt Latin as an auxiliary tongue, the project would not meet with any wide acceptance, nor would it likely slow down the demand for a logically constructed artificial language. An I. L. is not intended for use by savants of the type of the old classical culture or to be a plaything of a leisured class with scholastic leanings. It must be of a type suitable for easy and instant use by the ordinary man, the business man, the scientific man, who is utterly incapable of putting his thought into Ciceronian phrases, even though he studied Latin in his college days.

To have a chance of success, what must be put forward is some type of simplified Latin, some artificial form of I. L. with Latin roots in modern form as the basis of its vocabulary. The Delegation that finally decided upon Ido considered and rejected a large number of neo-Latin schemes among which was 'Latino sine flexiono', lately revived by the Academia pro Interlingua under the name of 'Interlingua'.(5) Prof. Peano, the author of the above mentioned project was a member of the Delegation. A small number of scholars: Peano, Meysmans, Rosenberger, Monseur, Boningue, Bernhaupt, etc. ignored the decision of the Delegation and continued a desultory discussion of various types of artificial Latin schemes, which appealed to them individually, in the pages of a small journal called 'Discussiones' from 1907, the date of the decision of the Delegation, to the outbreak of the war in 1914. Since January of this year, certain bulletins have been issued in an attempt to revive interest.

'Interlingua' in its present form marks no advance over what was presented to the Delegation by Dr. Peano and other proposer a of neo-Latin projects. These gentlemen, in spite of the learning of some of the collaborators, have not yet elaborated any large amount of the details of their proposals. They largely confine themselves to theoretical discussions, to general considerations or principles which do not seem likely to promote the solution of the problem. The words written by Prof. Couturat in 1909, are as true to-day as when they were written (since the rejection of the Latinist projects by the Delegation, the discussions and projects put forth for a neo-Latin I. L.: "have not advanced the problem one step, they have been consecrated to purely theoretical discussion without practical result."

The advocates of these neo-Latin projects have no body of followers. Their languages simply suffice for communication between themselves. The proposers do not put their projects to the practical test of translating difficult matter, but confine themselves to the construction of simple sentences or to the discussion of linguistic problems for which a small vocabulary suffices. Judging from past discussions no two of these neo-Latinists agree, or are willing to agree an any large amount of detail, each being wedded to his own particular ways of forming words, sentences, orthography and grammar. Even at the present time the 'Manual of Interlingua' (p. 23) reflects this chaotic state: "He who wishes to write in Interlingua, has only to select his words (from Latin roots) according to his taste or necessities, adopt a (any) system of spelling (which suits him), string the words together with a minimum of grammar and if his readers (those who know Latin) understand what he has written, his solution of the I. L. is good."

These attempts impress me as diversions of Latin scholars who, without time or inclination for prolonged study, or willingness to consult the linguistic usages of non-Romance groups, sketch out some form of I. L. that best suits them individually. A more sympathetic understanding of differing linguistic needs is essentially if an efficient form of I. L. is to be adopted. Theoretical considerations must yield in the face of contrary facts. A prolonged intensive study of details and practical test by difficult translation is essential. Stringing together words that have some degree of internationality does not constitute a language. Because the spelling and significations of Latin words are easy to the proposers this does not necessarily suppose a like facility to the world in general. So unpractical all these schemes seem to me, that I would not attempt comment except that there exists such general ignorance of the general problem and the fact that most of our linguists are so steeped in the classical traditions as to be unmindful of the practical relations of the problem.

According to the Manual of Interlingua the following are the general rules for the adoption of words: (1) The Academy adopts all words common to the DEFIRSP. (2) The Academy adopts all words Latin-English. (3) Every international word which exists in the Latin is to have the Latin stem (i.e. is to be spelled according to the classical Latin).

Concerning the first rule, it may be said that it has been practically carried out in Ido. Every international root found in these languages has been adopted in Ido wherever it has been found necessary for the expression of thought. Ido has not merely promulgated a rule but done the work. It should be understood the Ido is founded upon the principle of adopting as root words that form which has a maximum of internationality in modern languages, irrespective of whether the root came from the Latin or some other language. As a matter of fact, the result is a type of language which contains a vast majority of words which have Latin roots, but this result has come not from the deliberate adoption of only the words in the modern languages which have a Latin origin, but simply as a result of a search for that form of root which is easiest of understanding and use by the greatest number of Europeans. In Ido, the "Latinity" of the language is a result of a search after internationality of separate words to express certain ideas, and does not result from any theoretical rule of selecting only words which have Latin roots. Moreover, in Ido the form of the root adopted is in accordance with the modern spelling, or spellings, taking into consideration the phonetics of the language. The form of root adopted in Interlingua is the etymological Latin stem and therefore often differs from the modern spelling in any language. To go back to the archaic spelling of the Romans is regressive because it makes the recognition of the meaning of the, words and the spelling of the words more difficult for everybody, except the Latinists, and thus lessons the efficiency of the language. This means the retention of such combinations as: oe, ae, th, ph (in place of f), the pious retention of double letters, and the difficulties in spelling presented in the numberless words where the spelling of the original Latin has undergone orthographical changes in all languages. This is against the whole historical tendency toward simplification of ancient abnormalities. About the only thing that can be said for the adoption of the Latin stems for the words is that it simplifies the root selection. Instead of attempting to find some easily recognizable form in the modern words, one has simply to find some Latin word which has survived in modern speech and transcribe the original Latin spelling. Ido is composed on a practical, international basis, not on a pedantic, etymological basis. Naturally enough, the words common to DEFIRSP are from Latin roots and such words as used in the common vocabulary are not great in number.

Consider the second rule that of adopting all English words which have a Latin base. It should always be remembered that a majority of these words have come into English not directly from the Latin (as is often the case in Italian and Spanish) but via the French and have consequently suffered many changes not only in the French but in the English so that to-day the spelling and pronunciation and especially the significations differ much from the classical words. To adopt the original form of root must therefore in very many cases tend to make more difficult the recognition and use of the words. The rule seems to me but a round about way of insisting upon a purely Latin vocabulary in deference to the scholastic leanings of Latinists. Such rigid selection does not make for either facility or efficiency. Why not set up an inflexible rule that words common to the English and French be adopted, or the English and German? An I. L. built up on these rules, if we must have iron rules to go by would result in a language far easier of comprehension than one based on a dead and bygone language. Ido bases itself not on any inflexible rule of root selection but on the broad basis of modern internationality. This permits the selection of roots common the English and German. The English and German populations together outnumber the whole Romance group. Are not points of agreement in these two great linguistic groups worthy of being taken into consideration? For instance, Ido has selected the common English and German roots: dank(6) and send as most international for the idea, The Latinists insist on gratia and mitte. They claim even a greater numerical international for these words than is obvious in dank and send. It may be admitted that the Latin roots can be extracted from words in many modern languages. We have in English the mitte in words like transmit; gratia bears some resemblance to gratitude, gratify, etc. but the form of the words have so changed and the sense has become so obscure that only a feeble connection can be claimed. If we literally follow the rule of using Latin stems, we ought to adopt a separate and distinct root wherever an English word has been derived from a separate Latin root. For example, along with the verbal root: admirari, we should have a different form of root for the noun: admiration and still another for the adjective idea: admirabilis.(7) In Ido, these are all regularly derived from one form root: admir-ar, -o, -inda, -iv, -eso, -anto, etc. Once the root is known all derivative forms of the idea follow as a matter of unvarying rule.

This brings us to the question of a regular and logical system of derivation which is sadly lacking in the Latinist projects. Interlingua does give a list of affixes which can be applied according to the whim of the writer, but no Latinist project that I am acquainted with attempts a logical and fixed form of word derivation, such as we find in Ido and Esperanto. The Latinists claim that the fixed forms of word derivation found in Ido and Esperanto deform the words so that they seem unnatural and therefore less recognizable. The Idists and Espists consider their system of word derivation the most characteristic and valuable trait of their languages. They consider that their system of affixes which carries the fundamental sense of the stem throughout all forms, verb, noun, adjective, etc. as not only of inestimable benefit in fixing the meanings of a particular form beyond question but in relieving the memory of the burden of remembering the differing grammatical root forms for one fundamental sense. We cannot have it both ways. We must either choose the seeming distortion which results from regularity of word derivations admir-ar, admir-o, or we must seek (vainly) after "naturalness": transmit, transmission; permit, permission, admit, admission, etc. Let us take some examples: Some Latinists have objected to the Idist (and Esp.). Use of -o, -ado as the substantive forms for verbal roots; -ation(e), or-acion(e), being more consonant with the Latin, Ido, therefore, "mutilates" such words as admiro, destino, kontesto, aklamo, kombino, solvo, invento, We say (1) that the senses of these roots are perfectly recognizable through the verbal forms; admirar, destinar, kontestar (E.: admire, destine, contest etc.); (2) that the use of -o as an affix relates these substantive nouns directly with concrete nouns, such as: puer-o, hund-o, and that we must have consistency for the ending denoting nominal ideas; (3) that if the Latinists are consistent in their derivation they must have alongside of admir-ation(e), destin-ation(e), etc., which seem natural to the Romance group and the English, such artificial forms as solv-ation (for English "solution"), inventacion(e) (for the English "invention"), etc.(8)

Ido "deforms" such roots as dominac-ar (Latin: domin-ari), operac-ar (Latin: oper-ari), violac-ar (Latin: viol-are), formac-ar, rotac-ar, We answer: (1) that these words are perfectly recognizable, especially in the substantive form, (2) that to use the shortened form would lead to possible confusion of meaning with domino (game, mantle); opero (E.: opera); violo (musical instrument); formacar with formo, rotacar with roto.

It has been objected that Ido does not always use the most international form of root. For instance, Ido has sun-o instead of the more international form sol-. It is answered that the root sun-o is E and D, therefore of great internationality; that the root: sol- is a needed international form for the idea found in the adjective-. sol-a: alone, sole. Many such accommodations have to be made in order to avoid sameness of root for different ideas, and often in order to obtain an easily pronounceable form of root. In Ido the selection of each root is a problem in itself, not to be decided by inflexible rule, but in light of all the facts. We do not fit facts to theory, but theory to facts.

Latinists object to the fixed form of the Idist and Espist noun finals. -o, -i which they deem mechanical and unnatural. Interlingua, like some other Latin projects, derives its terminal letters from the genitive form of, the Latin root and therefore ends variously in -a, -o, -u, -e,(9) instead of having the one of of Ido. Almost any system of vowel endings may be said to be an improvement on the lack of any final vowels which characterizes so many words in Universal and Idiom-Neutral: nostr, patr, votr, etc. in that it softens the accumulation of consonants and makes the words pronounceable. But they do not afford any clue as to the grammatical character of the word and impose an intolerable burden upon all except Latinists and the southern Romance races. I cannot but wonder at their retention in a 1921 type of I. L. Contrary argument is hardly needed except for confirmed Latinists. However, I quote the following from Prof. J. Meysmans, who is a prominent advocate of a Latin based I. L.: He said in 'Discussiones', June 1910: "The final vowels of the Latin stem are not acceptable in an I. L. They are too difficult to retain. Persons who have not studied Latin are continually forced to consult the dictionary in order to ascertain whether they should write poeta or poeto, templo or temple, rosa or rose, aspectu or aspecto, etc. The Italian interlinguists who are the principal partisans of the Latin finals do not understand how difficult they are; for them they are indeed very easy, too easy... These finals exist solely in the southern languages (I. H. P.) which are spoken by about 90 millions of people, but the Latin finals are totally unknown in all other languages."

He said again in 1912: "I have for a long, time defended the Latin finals (-a, -o, -e, -u), but I have arrived at the conclusion that we ought to abandon them as useless and difficult . . The long, patient and impartial investigation I have made of this question has convinced me that in all countries there exists an ineradicable hostility to the Latin finals."

If a Latin based I. L. is only to include common words from the classical Latin, it must lose many well known roots which have wide internationality because they have no classic equivalents. The proof is obvious enough to those who will glance at a dictionary. For example: abandon(-ar) which is DEFIS but not in classic Latin; abas(-ar) EFI, abat(-ar) EFIS; kaval DEFIRS; gardes DEF (in place of Latin hortus); danjer-a EF,(10) etc. Let us take the idea of "responsible"- Latin: reus, rea, D- verantwortlich; E.: responsable; F.. responsable; I.: responsbile; S.: responsable; P.: responsaval; (note the differerence in spelling, which form is "natural?"). In Ido, we derive such words directly from the root: respons-anta, -iva. Esp, has respond-a deriving it from respond-i,(11) Another serious problem which the Latinists do not make clear is the significations to be given the words.

Are we to follow the ancient, classical meanings, or are we to take the roots in the form found in the classical Latin and apply to them modern meanings? The Latin was a highly developed cultural language reflecting the bygone civilisation of its time. To-day our science and our whole social structure have changed and are reflected in our languages. In ancient times any departure from fixed forms of diction was regarded as improper, just as to-day when we censure the use of unusual expressions. To fix the form (spelling) of the roots does not alone suffice, It is also absolutely essential that each word should have a determinate meaning. The recent British report on the claims of Latin put forth two essential requirements for the I. L.: (1) that it should be easily understood; (2) that it should not be easily misunderstood. The report points out the fact that while there is little chance of ambiguity in the words representing concrete things, such as chair, railway, wine, king, soldier, mother, there is in modern languages no certain guide to the exact, meanings of words denoting more abstract ideas which have a wide and varied field of application in the different modern languages; this is especially true of verbal roots of common, idiomatic use. Ergo, say the Latinists, we should go back to the classic writers, to the meaning, of the Latin words as found in Latin dictionaries. The point is important, very important. But it is not to be solved by going back to the Latin words which are as idiomatic in use, as ambiguous in signification as like words in any modern language, and furthermore these various senses of the words very often differ much from the modern use of the same roots as found in modern languages. A glance at the Latin dictionaries is enough to demonstrate this. For example, I turn to the first pages of My Latin dictionary (Harper's), I find: abdic-o, -are (from which comes our 'abdicate') for which the following meanings are given: (1) to deny, disown, refuse, reject; (2) to renounce, to disinherit; (3) to abdicate. Take the Latin abhorre (from which comes our word 'abhor') which may signify according to good classic use: (1) to shrink back; (2) to shudder; (3) to be averse or disinclined to not to wish: (4) to be remote from an object, i.e. to vary or differ from; (5) to be free from; (6) to alter, to change. Now if we are to go back to the Latin, we are confronted with the task of not only learning a lot of strange spellings but an enormous number of new, idiomatic meanings for thousands of words which would demand years of study. The contention that with Latin as a base, new dictionaries would not have to be worked out as the existing Latin ones would suffice is seen in its true light. Either we must attempt to write classical Latin which demands a lifetime of study or we must be content with constructing "dog-Latin" sentences which would offend the true Latinist even more than an I. L. founded on modern roots.

The Latinists, as I see it, have made two errors: (1) They have allowed their scholastic training to prejudice them against an I. L. founded on modern internationality. The modern, practical world does not care whether the vocabulary of an I. L. comes from Latin or the Chinese; what it desires is efficiency. (2) They have failed to understand the difficulties of the problem and failed to work out the details and put their systems to the test of difficult translation. Elaboration of their systems and practical tests would show up defects of their theories and demonstrate to them the need for a complete, coherent and logically worked out language, as we find in Ido.

 

 

______________________________

Notes:

 

 

1 - "C'est justement le privilège de l'homme de diriger et de corriger la nature, de la perfectionner au besoin et de la discipliner. Dans toutes les institutions et dans toutes les productions humaines, le progrès consiste a remplacer l'action spontanée par l'action réflechie, l'instinct par la raison," Couturat, Pour la L. I., p, 25-6.

2 - My attention was drawn to the facts about Sanskrit by a booklet in Ido by P. Ahlberg, "Exkurseto en la Historio di la Mondo-Linguo."

3 - By the latter system a ship of one nation can in case of accident summons a surgeon from the ship of another nation, but, unless the surgeon happens to know the particular language, he is unable to communicate with the patient after he arrives on board.

4 - What a burden to the memory to remember the Ro word for 100; "zubi", in comparison with the facility which one can remember the Ido word for the same idea: "cent" which is directly represented in FIRS and found indirectly in derivative forms in E and D. Or, consider the international roots: "mond", "lun", "stel" in comparison with "bod", "bodam", "bodar" of Ro!

5 - A copy of an English draft of the 'Handbook of Interlingua' may be obtained from the International Reseach Council, Wash. D. C. See also an excellent letter of criticism by Louis Orsatti from the same source.

6 - The th sound in the English form of the word is impossible phonetically. Note the double t in mitte.

7 - The Vocabulario Commune of Peano has: admira, -bile, -tione, -tor, all derived from one root. However, this regularly formed derivation is immediately followed by, admissible, admissione, admisso, admitte, four separate words to be learned as grammatical forms for one fundamental idea and which can in Ido be regularly derived from the one root: admis- . Peano boasts that his vocabulary covers more than ten thousand words. By stringing the vocabulary out by listing as separate words many arbitrary grammatical forms for one fundamental idea, it is very easy to collect a vocabulary seemingly fairly complete. If the Idists should list a separate words the various grammatical forms of their root words, it would be easy to run the vocabulary up to 60 or 80 thousand. (see Appendix B.)

8 - We have ordinarily two bases for derivation in selecting stems for verbal roots derived from the Latin: the root of the infinitive, the verbal root; the supine form (which is the Latin supine minus the final -um). The Latinists usually have both root form and thus sacrifice regularity and facility. We even find these double forms in Reform-Neutral: apprender alongside of apprehensible; comprender and comprehensible; acquirer and acquisible. Ido roots are usually taken from the supine form. Those interested in an intensive study of this question should consult an article by Prof. Couturat: 'Pri la selekto di la verbal radiki' in PROGRESO, 'Vol. II. p.321.

9 - It is noted in Interlingua that the letter "e" is a final for not only nouns but also adverbs (-mente), and even verbs. It has thus no value in determining the grammatical character of a word. The meaning of a particular word ending in -e must therefore be determined by an inspection of the whole sentence, just as is the case with so many of our English words which so much puzzle the foreigner.

10 - Interlingua has periculose for this idea which is only Latin and Italian. Spanish has peligroso, arriesgado, Italian: periglioso, pericoloso; Port.:, perigoso, arristocado, Ido has obviously the best solution.

11 - In this connection it is noted that Esp. has two widely different significations for the one root respond-i. (1) to reply respond (to a letter, etc.), (2) to be responsible or accountable. This is a sample of ambiguity in Esp. which is rightly criticized. Ido has two different roots to express the significations: respond-ar respons-ar. There are a few words with ambiguous double meaning yet remaining in Ido, but it is expected that decisions of the Idist Academy will soon do away with such cases.

 

Index

Preface

Pages 1 to 24

Pages 24 to 54

Pages 54 to 74
 
Pages 74 to 85

Pages 86 to 101

Pages 101 to 124

Pages 121 to 139

Pages 140 to the end

Attestations

The International Language IDO - Reformed Esperanto 1