Saturday, July 17, 2010

Revisiting Constructed Languages

I took a constructed language walkabout today, reading about the USA in constructed languages:

Mergu'e (Lojban)
http://jbo.wikipedia.org/wiki/mergu
That's almost 100% unintelligible words.


Statos Unite de America (Interlingua)
http://ia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statos_Unite_de_America
That's almost 100% intelligible to any educated westerner.


Unionita Stati di Amerika, abreviata Usa, (Ido)
http://io.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usa
Ido is an offspring of Esperanto--and an improvement. Notice it's now the "Wikipedio".


Unuiĝintaj Ŝtatoj de Ameriko (=Usono) (Esperanto)
http://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usono
Diacritics suck. Who needs 'em? (It's the "Vikipedio")
And too much inflection. I want an isolating language.
Sorry, Esperanto. It's a shame.


Unionati States de Amerika (Novial)
http://nov.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unionati_States_de_Amerika
(It's the WikipediE)


Lamerikän (Volapük)
http://vo.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA
(In the Vükiped)


Lojban is really going to have an uphill struggle.
Lojban picture dictionary: (pixra liste loi gismu)
http://jbo.wikipedia.org/wiki/pixra_liste_loi_gismu

I like the ideas of Lojban in principle (when reading about it), but in practice (when reading in it), I'm more inclined to favor Interlingua after a brief tour of the constructed languages wikipedia pages for Mergu'e, also known as Statos Unite de America, Unionita Stati di Amerika, Unuiĝintaj Ŝtatoj de Ameriko, Unionati States de Amerika, and Lamerikän.

A lot of linguistic cruft is disposed of with the principle that if one language doesn't have it (a linguistic feature) then Interlingua doesn't need it. It must be 5 times easier than learning Spanish. I wish they could teach that to kids in elementary school as a prelude to going on to Spanish or French or something else.

Interlingua could be a good language for the EU. They can't always provide a translation for every document in every language but an Interlingua version could be a neutral compromise.

Lojban has been criticized as Procrustean, re-inventing the wheel of the language corpus from the most commonly co-occurring phonemes of Chinese, English, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Hindi/Urdu, and as a result producing words unintelligible to any speaker.

The reason I was thinking about this was because of a new constructed language which I read about: ROILA, the RObot Interaction LAnguage.

2 comments:

Brian Barker said...

Certainly unwise to have more than one international language

Did you know that Esperanto now has official representation at the United Nations ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCmY4msHLqk

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

One more here:

http://ie.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_States_de_America

Similar to Interlingua at first sight, but better IMO (more terse than ia, easier to write in, derivation is more systematic). The biggest problem I've always had with Interlingua (though it's not necessarily a deal-breaker) is that the orthography isn't even as easy as Spanish - spelling is harder and irregular accent is not indicated.