Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Interlingua, a language for the world

Interlingua is an "artificial" language amongst others as Volapuk, Esperanto, and Ido.  Its supporters however claim it is a "natural" language because its vocabulary is extracted from the most international of West European languages with a minimum of alteration.  Heavily based on Latin and Greek roots,  with all the crazy grammar rules removed, it seems to me to be ideal method of communication among foreigners who don't want to or cannot use hard-to-master English.

Here is a sample:
"Il es, naturalmente, ben cognoscite a vos que in un affaire bancari succedite tanto multo depende super essente capace de trovar remunerative investimentos pro nostre fundos, como le augmentation de nostre clientes e numero de nostre depositores. Un de nostre le plus lucrative medios de investir le moneta es in le forma de prestos ubi le securitate es indubitabile. Nos ha facite multo in iste direction durante le ultime pauc annos, e il ha multe familias nobile a que nos ha avantiate grande summas super le securitate de lor picturas, bibliothecas, o platta." 

"Heri matino, io ha sedite a mi bureau al Banca quando un carta esseva portate  a me per un del commissos. Io esseva supersaltate quando io ha vidite le nomine, proque illo esseva aquelle de nihil altere que––ben, potesser mesmo a vos io melior non dice plus que illo esseva un nomine que es un nomine familiar in tote partes del mundo––un del plus alte, plus nobile, e plus exaltate nomines de Anglaterra. Io esseva superate per le honor, e ha essayate, quando ille ha entrate mi bureau, a dicer assi, mais ille ha immergite se immediatemente in le affaire con le aer de un homine que vole hastar presto per un carga disagradabile."
(translation by Dr. Stanley Mulaik)

Here is the original text from Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet":
“It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors.  One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans, where the security is unimpeachable.  We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years, and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures, libraries, or plate.

“Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks.  I started when I saw the name, for it was that of none other than – well, perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was name which is a household word all over the earth – one of the highest, noblest, most exalted names in England.  I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted, when he entered, to say so, but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task."

Anyone with a working knowledge of a Western language will understand much of the above, since Latin and Greek word roots form a fundamental part of English as well as even non-Romance languages.  An experiment to combine non-European languages as Arabic, Hindu and Chinese with Western ones only resulted in only one recognizable pattern: that of Latin/Greek derived words.  So any international constructed language has to be European-based, sorry multiculturalists.  I think this is appropriate since Western Europe has contributed so much to the creation of the modern world through culture, science and technology.  We live in a Westernized world.  

Interlingua had its roots in Peano's Latino sin reflexione, a project to create a Latin-based language without so much horrific grammar; this started in 1903.  Later on some scholars took it up and developed Interlingua between 1937 and 1951.  Their dreams of it being adopted by the United Nations or other intergovernmental institutions fell by the wayside as English continued its uninterrupted march to dominance in the 20th century as the international language of business, politics and culture.  

Still, I think Interlingua is the best way for foreigners to communicate with each other, if they do not use English.  The European Union could use it in their official business instead of the 24 (and counting) languages they are forced to use today.  Just as medieval Latin united the educated classes in Europe for many centuries, so could its descendent, Interlingua, fulfill that role today, on a global scale.


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