logoOgden's Basic English

13. Basic English Compiled

by Julia E. Johnson

ESPERANTO, INSTRUMENTS OF MENTAL TRAINING 8

    In this field the language named Esperanto, first created by Dr. I. L. Zamenhof of Poland and further developed through practical use by a line of worthy successors, stands essentially alone in the sense that it long since has passed out of the stage of experiment, or trial and error, and now for several decades has been actually functioning--at first very humbly, but in ever-widening ways--in the field of practical international uses. It has also been largely developed in the literary field, and already may boast a bibliography of around ten thousand books or booklets. . . . Dr. Zamenbof, in addition to his moral greatness as shown in a life of self-abnegation devoted to the ideal of human brotherhood, was a linguistic genius of a high order. And like many another, he builded even better than he knew. In the language which he founded there are certain features which he introduced solely for the purpose of making the language easier to acquire. By now it is evident that these same features are important aids in rendering Esperanto a potent instrument of mental culture.
    Before proceeding to concrete illustrations, we may quote the saying that whoso, possessing only one language, proceeds to learn a second, finds the second language a mirror in which he better can see the first. A still happier illustration is taken from binocular or stereoscopic vision. One whose thought can flow through only a single language views the world of logic and expression in a "flat" way, as in vision by a single eye; whereas the second language, giving a view from a different point of mental vantage, adds, as it were, the element of depth and perspective. Furthermore, it has been aptly remarked that, when the second language is one as fundamentally similar to English as are the modern the effect is "too much like having a pair of left eyes, instead of a left eye and a right;" while Esperanto, by reason of certain basic differences, permits a view from a significantly different angle, thus yielding a maximum gain in mental perspective.
    In a word, Esperanto shows the student that complexity and irregularities of grammar are only incidental and not essential for clear and effective expression of thought, being mere luxury ornaments when at their best, and pure dead weight when at their worst. Secondly, Esperanto for the most part expresses thought by the simple direct method of saying just what it means. It does not rely in any considerable measure on those indirect ways of hinting at ideas which we know as idioms. And thirdly, Esperanto by its methods of word-building and form-building--which are largely "agglutinative" rather than "inflectional"--introduces the student to that general linguistic form (the agglutinative) which is remote from the methods of the Indo-European, the Semitic, and the Chino-Thibetic language families, yet which in its essence must be very congenial to the human mind, since in one form or another it is dominant in all the scores of linguistic families other than the three just named. So it is that if French, or German, or Spanish gives the English speaking youth a grammatical viewpoint that is international, Esperanto goes further by giving a viewpoint that is intercontinental and worldwide.
    We are now ready to explore in some detail, under eight numbered subdivisions, the principal things which a course in Esperanto will do for the mind of the young student, be it in college, in standard high school, or in junior high school. These several mental services to be derived from Esperanto study will all have validity even if the student already knows several languages. But they will be more strongly evident if Esperanto be the first language undertaken outside of his native English.
    First. Esperanto will make the student clearly conscious of the distinction between the several parts of speech. From the standpoint of logic and clear thinking this is important, because the parts of speech are the basic building blocks in the scheme of logical grammar. Yet to the young student of English, parts of speech are apt to appear as something largely theoretical, something remote from all visible facts of language. For in English there is nothing in the form, sound, or spelling of words to distinguish one part of speech from another. "Under" is a preposition; "sunder" is a verb, while "blunder" is either a noun or a verb. "Houses" is a noun, but "rouses" is a verb. Very many English words are capable of use, with no change whatever in their form, as two, three, or even four parts of speech. When you see the word "better," nothing but an inference derived from the context tells you whether it is an adjective, an adverb, a verb or a noun. The word "cross" is sometimes a noun, sometimes an adjective, sometimes a preposition, sometimes a transitive verb, sometimes an intransitive verb.
    Now this freedom with which English words are shifted around from one use to another is sometimes referred to as even an advantage by adherents of the idea that English itself might somehow come to function as a language for the world. It may be true that this feature of English is an advantage to infants, just starting to speak, or to immigrants in their first struggle to acquire a minimum knowledge of English for the expression of minimum ideas. But we are talking about the minds of students who are being educated far beyond the infantile stage and whose mentality we do not wish to see frozen in a state of arrested development.
    In contrast with the above illustrations from English (and they could be paralleled in German and French and Spanish, though possibly not in such multitude) in Esperanto the parts of speech stand out with crystal clearness. Therefore the person studying Esperanto must become "parts-of-speech-minded." Every noun ends in "o" in the nominative singular; and even in plural and in accusative (the only other forms) it has an "o" in the last syllable. Every adjective is similarly marked by an "a" in the last syllable. Every derived adverb shows an "e" in the last syllable. And every verb, according to mode and tense, must end in one of the six syllables: "i"--"as"--"os"-- "us"--or "u." It is true that prepositions, conjunctions, and the small stock of basic or primitive adverbs have no uniformity of ending; yet the very absence of any specific "uniform" such as those always worn by verbs, nouns, and adjectives is in itself a sort of negative sign, showing that we are dealing with one of the auxiliary or binding particles of the language.
    Secondly. Esperanto helps to rivet the attention on the logical distinctions normally expressed by the modes and tenses of the verb. The young student when first approaching English grammar learns to name each English verb as of such-and-such a mode and tense according to the auxiliary verb employed or the endings of the verb itself. But in so doing he is often naming them according to an arbitrary system based traditionally on form, not on sense or use. Too seldom is the student led to consider the real temporal or modal force of the verb in the actual sentence where found. Not only popular and careless English but good literary English uses the verb forms in many ways which do not harmonize with the names assigned to them in the grammars. The form "if I be" is conventionally called present subjunctive; yet it refers with only rare exception to the future. "If he were" is called past subjunctive; yet it refers never to the past, usually to the present, (as, "If he were here now, we should feel safer,") and sometimes even to the future, (as, "If he were to come tomorrow, which 181 no one expects, our problem would be less difficult.") By custom the word "is'--called a present--is used thousands of times with a future meaning; as, "If he is there next Tuesday, he will telephone me." Esperanto by virtue of its newness and its freedom from long and arbitrary traditions tends to express all verbal ideas by those tense forms directly suggestive of the idea.
    Another illustration is from the diversity of significance in our auxiliary verb would. "Would go" is a hypothetically doubtful future in the sentence, "He would go tomorrow if he should happen to get a telegram." But it is a simple future quoted in the past when we say, "He told me last week that he certainly would go soon." And "would" carries a third, radically different meaning in such expressions as this from Sir Walter Scott:     There it refers not to the future at all, but to habitual action in the past. Esperanto has--and uses--three forms for the distinct expression of those three ideas, namely, the conditional (irus), the future (iros), and the repetitional derivative of the past (iradis). . . .
    Thirdly. In the matter of prepositions, when it comes to translating from Esperanto to English, or vice versa, the young student will get a stimulating exercise in looking beneath the outer garb of what according to spelling is one word, and observing what a strange assemblage of meanings is hiding under its single cloak. Prepositions have been called the most difficult part of any language. And this they are apt to become, because they are so often inconsistent--the same form serving at different times to express a wide variety of relations. Even Esperanto, with all its newness and its preference for logical simplicity, does allow some of its common prepositions to cover several shades of meaning, though limiting this to meanings which have some logical kinship among themselves. At least, Esperanto comes very much closer than do the national tongues toward assigning to each preposition its own well-defined meaning in the realm of material or logical relations. Let us illustrate this by taking three very common English prepositions -- "with," "of," and "by"--and observing how multifold are the meanings of each, by quoting English expressions and the Esperanto equivalents.
    "They played with us," (that is, in company with; Esperanto kun). "He wrote with a pen," (by means of; Esperanto per). "Hair white with age," (because of, Esperanto pro). "The settlers had wars with the Indians," (against, Esperanto kontrau). With this point settled, let us go on to the next"; (rephrase it with a participle, "having settled this point.")
    "The price of eggs," (a simple "of," Esperanto de). "A quart of milk," (measure of amount, Esperanto da) ."Six of his ten dogs," (part of a whole, same as "Out of"; Esperanto el). 'I am glad of that," (because of, Esperanto pro). "I never heard of that," (concerning, Esperanto pri). "There is nothing of importance in the report," (nothing important--no preposition needed). "The city of Rome," (the city which is Rome; apposition, no preposition needed). "Of course," (according to necessity, "Lau neceso").
    "She sat by the window," (near it, Esperanto apud). "They took a walk by the river's bank," (alongside of, Esperanto lau). "The river flows by his cottage," (past it, Esperanto preter). "I learned this by much study," (by means of it, Esperanto per). "He was loved by all," (showing agency with passive verb, Esperanto de). "He will come by ten o'clock," (not later than ten, Esperanto ne post). "By Hercules !" (indefinite preposition, je). "They marched to the altar by twos." (in groups of two--not a preposition, but the adverbial ending -ope.)
    Fourthly. A thorough study of Esperanto will shed a ray of new comprehension through the haze which has gathered around large portions of our English vocabulary. It helps in separating the "master meanings" (root meanings) from the "foster children" (adventitious meanings) which only through the accidence of agelong usage have found shelter under their respective roofs. This of course is a topic as vast as the unabridged dictionary. Here it can only be suggested, with a few samples for illustration. 183
    "Will the Lord ever forsake us? No, He is ever faithful !" The young student in his pre-Esperanto days will glide over these two expressions with hardly a thought. Yet the word "ever" has radically opposite meanings here, which the logical mind should note. The first "ever means at any time at all," (Esperanto iam or iam ajn). But the second "ever" means "at all times," (Esperanto chiam).
    The following shows the word "celebrated" in three diverse senses. "He is a celebrated painter," (famous, Esperanto fama). "After the game the rough necks got some whiskey and celebrated," (indulged in rude festivity, Esperanto festachis). "The priest celebrated the mass at ten o'clock," (solemnized it, Esperanto solenis).
    For one more example, let us go on the trail of the little word "got," which is notoriously overworked by all of us. "The dog has got the rabbit," (has caught it, "kaptis"). "Have you got any of yesterday's bread still today?" (meaning simply "have you any?"--"havas?"). "I got him to give me some apples," (caused him to do it, "igis). "I got warm by the fire," (became warm, "ighis"). "I have got to go," (must, "devas"). "I got home early," (arrived, "alvenis"). "I got up at six o'clock," (left my bed, "ellitighis"). "He got out of the country by night," (went out, or fled from--"eliris" or "elfughis"). "I got to feeling better," (commenced to, Esperanto "komencis"). "I got hit by a bicycle;' (idiomatic, meaning I allowed myself to be hit; best translated by revamping the whole expression).
    Fifthly. Esperanto compels an analysis of idiomatic expressions. An idiom may be defined as a saying which, taken as a whole, has a conventionalized meaning which it is difficult if not impossible to infer from the separate words. Modem languages with a long history behind them are full of such. English especially abounds with them. But Esperanto, having been built to order, with simplicity as one of its goals, is very largely free from them. In this connection the service of Esperanto study is not so much for the beginner as for the more advanced student who has commenced to translate passages of idiomatic English. He then has to look through the outward expression and decide what exactly the idiom does mean. This is a splendid mental discipline and there is no end to it. Here are just a few scattered idioms, with a suggestion as to what they boil down to in simple language. "It came to pass, (occurred). "He held his peace," (remained silent). "The fire went out," (was extinguished). "look out!" (be careful). "By and by," (sometime hereafter). "By and large," (in a general way). "Good bye," (I greet you in parting). "How do you do?" (I greet you at meeting--no answer expected). "Down town," (at the business center). We could smile at the invalid who admits he suffers "a good deal"--for why does he not contend that he "suffers a bad deal ?" Beside idioms in the strict sense, colloquial English contains thousands of expressions now classed as slang, many of which will prove to be idioms in the process of formation. But we need not further elaborate.
    The foregoing is by no means a tirade against the use of idiom in the historically old national languages. They are one of the means which make a language like English expressive and forceful in the mouth of a native. But they are a vast difficulty to the foreigner when he undertakes to master what to us is our mother tongue. The practice of translating English idioms into non-idiomatic Esperanto is a fine mental exercise. Certainly it helps one to see just where the pitfalls in our language are, for one who is not native to it.
    Sixthly. Esperanto gives the student the excellent logical practice of creating his own words for a great many complex ideas. A limited number of root words are memorized. From these, by the use of three dozen suffixes and prefixes, the learner can readily build up thousands of other words as needed. Since this article is not a learner's treatise, we pause for only a few derivatives from just one familiar root; patro (father) ; patra (paternal) ; patre (paternally) ; patrujo (fatherland) ; patrino (mother) ; patrina (maternal, motherly) ; patrineco (motherhood); bopatrino (mother-in-law); bopatrine (in the manner of a mother-in-law); bopatrinighi (to become a mother-in-law); patrineto ("little mother"--used for endearment); panjo (mamma); pachjo (papa, daddy); gepatroj (parents); gepatra (parental); prapatroj (forefathers); pragepatroj (ancestors). In pronouncing the foregoing, notice that "j" is the English "y".
    All this is something more than a mere device to make the language easier to learn. It really amounts to this, that with a national language the art of independent composition is simply the art of putting words together to form sentences. But with Esperanto the art of original composition often starts at a more fundamental point, with the building together of root forms and affixes to form the words themselves. Frequently, of course, this building together of elements into longer words has already been done long ago by others and is merely imitated by the present-day Esperanto student; yet even then he sees and realizes in a special way what is being done on his lips or on his pen. That is, he can see at a glance the separate elements of thought which are put together to give the full meaning of the word. Thus he becomes conscious of the interrelation among the simple ideas which link themselves to form the more complex notion. And this is a service--it must be emphasized--in which no national language found in present school curricula can even begin to rival Esperanto. (Possibly a similar service could be gotten from an agglutinative language like Finnish; but who in our schools is going to take the time to study Finnish?) It is this feature of Esperanto which more than any other makes the metaphor quoted in our introduction a good one--that Esperanto gives to the English speaking student not a "pair of left eyes," but linguistically a "right eye and a left," so well spaced apart in the matter of viewpoint that from the mental base line thus lengthened we survey a new dimension, as it were, that of depth, in the comprehended world of thought and expression. And this is also the feature referred to when it was remarked that the addition of Esperanto to English gives the student not merely an international linguistic viewpoint, but a viewpoint which is intercontinental and worldwide. That is, Esperanto is in this respect an "agglutinative language, one belonging to that major type which in a general way (with many variations) includes practically all the languages of the world except the three families Indo-European, Semitic, and Chino-Thibetic.
    We may grant that the motive with the creator of Esperanto when he introduced the system of prefixes and suffixes was merely to make the language easier. And for that purpose it has been a brilliant success. But in fact he was accomplishing much more than that. For this feature of Esperanto has a distinct educative value. It exposes to plain view, as it were, the bones and sinews which form the supporting anatomy of complex ideas.
    Seventhly. Esperanto greatly shortens for any young student the period of study before he can begin the exhilarating exercise of reading and thinking in a language other than that of his childhood. Such a power, no matter what the language may be, is both a cultural attainment and a pleasure. But the pathway to reach this is decidedly shorter with Esperanto than with even the easiest of modern languages, and many times shorter than with the difficult classical languages, Latin and Greek.
    True exponents of Esperanto do well not to exaggerate this point. It would be wrong to imagine that complete mastery of the language, simple though it be, is to be had without painstaking study and a period of active practice. Yet in comparison with French or German or Spanish, the difference in difficulty is sufficiently striking. First, the spelling is strictly phonetic. Secondly, there is no such thing as arbitrary grammatical gender, that most illogical of all difficult features in the continental languages. Thirdly, there is only one conjugation, and that is so simple as to have only six invariable endings for verbs proper, with six others for participles. Fourthly, there are no irregular verbs, irregular nouns, or exceptions to grammatical rules. Fifthly, the order of words is simple and free, practically as in English. Sixthly, the root words are selected from the stock which is already international, so that quite a majority are recognized at first sight, without study. Seventhly, the use of prefixes and suffixes reduces greatly the number of words which must be separately memorized. One root suffices for "brother" and "sister," one root for "big" and "little," one root for "shave" and "razor", one root for "learn" and "school." Eighthly, arbitrary or conventional idioms are so nearly absent as to be negligible.
    Thus it becomes true that after only a few lessons one may begin to use the language with pleasure. Fuller use comes with appropriate study.
    Eighthly. Practical tests have proved Esperanto to be a splendid preparation for other and more difficult study of languages. One instance is the experiment at a private school in England, where girls who took one semester of Esperanto, followed by three semesters of French, were better grounded in French at the end of the two-year period than those who took the four semester in French only--and of course they retained their knowledge of Esperanto as an added accomplishment which had cost nothing.
    Also in a different way, Esperanto can play an important role in school economy. For it quickly reveals whether a student has enough aptitude and liking for languages to make wise on his part the selection of those school courses in which linguistics figure as a leading required study. There are some minds which do not take kindly to language study, even in its simplest forms. Such a student does well if he stops with only two languages--the mother tongue and Esperanto--.and devotes his further school efforts to lines for which he may be better fitted.
    Yet more commonly the reverse effect may be expected. Students who grow discouraged over their small success in learning Latin conjugations or in translating the difficult "oratio obliqua" of Caesar, and who therefore come to think that language study is a distasteful something never meant for them, would often discover that by "learning to walk before they try to run"--by learning Esperanto before they attack tongues of far greater difficulty--they may develop and realize a liking for languages which would otherwise never be suspected.
    Before closing, it is well to remark that nothing here said is meant to disparage in any way the noble English language, which to us of America is our birthright. English is terse, forcible, able to say much in few syllables, picturesque in imagery, and with almost limitless possibilities for variety, through the wealth of synonyms which give delicate emotional and atmospheric shadings to the thought expressed. (The converse and more somber side of the foregoing is that to really master English in a fine artistic sense amounts to a substantial fraction of a life work!)
    But English alone is not enough. The learning of a second language is an aid to better appreciation of the first. And for that purpose (quite in addition to a practical utility which is very real) Esperanto presents advantages which are worthy of the most serious and favorable consideration of educators.

A LANGUAGE CUT TO FIT THE WORLD 9

    During the first day or two of transatlantic telephone service just over a decade ago there were many costly delays. These hitches were not mechanical. The engineers had seen to that. In fact, no detail of perfect operation had been overlooked- save one, the vagaries of the English language.
    Again and again the London operator asked, "Are you through, New York?" And each time her sister operator in Manhattan answered, "No, London. One moment, please !" Both were puzzled, for Miss London had merely meant to ask, "Have you made the connection ?" Miss New York had thought she meant, "Has your party finished talking?"
    An Englishman could ask at every garage in the United States for an antibounce clip, but he would probably find no one who would understand that he wanted a shock absorber. An American could ask everyone in Greater London for directions to a ,chain store-and would receive the same quizzical looks as would an Englishman in New York asking for a multiple shop.
    Such difficulties among persons using the same language amuse us. But less amusing are the misunderstandings common among persons whose native tongues are different, who are obliged to talk in a 'foreign" tongue or depend upon an interpreter.
    The Argentinean, thanks to the science of communication, can hear the Alaskan, the Bostonian can talk to the Bulgarian- but that does not mean they can directly understand one another. The world still lacks a universal tongue-a common auxiliary language to serve everywhere as a means of direct communication between men of different tongues. Nearly everyone feels that lack, but especially does the scientist who wants to follow researches described in languages he cannot read; the movie producer who wishes to distribute his films in other lands; the radio broadcaster who is planning an international hookup; the Rotarian or anyone else who goes to an international convention equipped with but one language.
    That dream of a universal language is not new. The seventeenth century scholars sought symbols by which the intellectual wealth of nations could be brought to the learned. But the larger, less exclusive conception of a language for any man to use when he speaks with a fellow being of another tongue came much later. To it must be credited the creation of the constructed languages of the last fifty years. It was this larger dream that caused the late John J. Carty, one of the great engineers of transoceanic telephony, to predict that a form of international language would some day come into use as a necessary complement to modern communication. But for General Carty and others that wasn't just a vague hope. It was a conviction-a goal that demanded work. And so a group of Americans in which he was numbered decided to organize the International Auxiliary Language Association, an organization which for fourteen years has been working to establish an international language upon scientific foundations. The Association advocates a simple, regularly constructed language which will be secondary to all national languages and in conflict with none, and which will serve as a common medium of exchange of thought and diffusion of knowledge among peoples of different mother tongues. But let us postpone a closer look at the Association until later.
    Mention international languages to the man in the street, to anyone who has not studied the matter, and he will probably answer, "Oh, yes, Esperanto!" That is to be expected, for Esperanto, the creation of the Polish Dr. I. L. Zamenhof, has been in use for half a century and has thousands of enthusiastic adherents in many countries.
    Sixteen hundred Esperantists from more than thirty countries assembled in London just last summer [1938] for their Universal Esperanto Congress. One heard only Esperanto spoken. Taxi drivers passed the time of day with delegates--in Esperanto. One sees the extent of the Esperanto movement in the fact that ninety-nine periodicals are published regularly in that language, that treasures of literature have been translated into it, and that it has been taught in more than a thousand schools in forty nations.
    But Esperanto is by no means the only language in the auxiliary field. More than three hundred other systems share it. Some of these tongues are fantastic, some plausible. Most of them have never been put into use. But almost all of them represent tremendous effort on the part of their authors. And their existence gives evidence that the vision of a common language for worldwide use is persistent and impelling.
    Besides Esperanto there are five other constructed languages which have won public attention--Ido, Esperanto-II, Occidental, Novial, and Latin without flexions. While their use is not widespread, it is sufficient to show that they are adequate for conversation and publication. Each has its fervent advocates. Like Esperanto all have regular grammars and vocabularies based on Indo-European languages. Ido embodies certain reforms of Esperanto proposed by the French Marquis de Beaufront, and adopted by an international committee under the chairmanship of Professor W. Ostwald in 1908. Espéranto II is a scheme for adapting Esperanto and was promulgated by Dr. René de Saussure, of Switzerland.
    While Esperanto, Esperanto-II, and Ido bear an obvious family likeness, Occidental, advocated since 1922 by the Estonian Edgar von Wall, grew out of efforts to construct a more "natural" simplified language. Novial, of which the author Professor Otto Jespersen, of Copenhagen, Denmark, published the first treatise in 1928, seeks to reconcile certain tendencies of Ido and Occidental while embodying a number of fresh features. Latin without flexions, propagated since 1903 by the Italian mathematician and logician Professor G. Peano, is what its name implies. It uses classical Latin stem forms, supplemented by a certain number of modern international words, and almost completely discards grammatical paraphernalia.
    The following sentence, translated into each of the six auxiliary languages, reveals even to unpracticed eyes the similarity of the systems:
English: Of the things that mankind possesses in common, nothing is so truly universal and international as science.
Esperanto: El Ia komunaj posedajoj de Ia homaro, neniu estas tiel vere generala kaj internacia kiel Ia scienco.
Esperanto-II: El Ia komuna posedajon de Ia homaro, nay estas ti vere jenerala ey internacia ki Ia scienco.
Ido. Del kozi, quin Ia homaro posedas komune, nula es tam vere universala ed internaciona kam Ia cienco.
Novial: Ek Ii cases kel Ii homaro posese comunim, nuli es tam verim general e international kam Ii scientie.
Occidental: De omni comun possedages del homanité niun es tam vermen general e international, quam scientie.
Latin without flexions (Interlingua): De commune possesiones de genere humano, nihil es tam generale et internationale quam scientia.
Basic English: Of the things that mankind has in common, nothing is so truly general over all the earth and international as science.
    But let us look further at the organization so deeply concerned with the search for a world language, at its origins and reasons for being. The conviction that scientific knowledge should know no national frontiers led the International Research Council in 1919 to call for an investigation of the question of an international language for science. Dr. Frederick Gardner Cottrell, a chemist of world renown, was made chairman of a committee to consider the subject. His committee found that the problem was subtle and had so many angles that it should be given long, intensive study by a permanent body. Dr. Cottrell interested a group of Americans whose experience in international life made it patent to them how much a simple, direct international medium of speech was needed to aid in the many kinds of intellectual and social cooperation undertaken to rehabilitate a war-wrecked world. They then organized and incorporated the International Auxiliary Language Association in 1924. Today the Association is generally known as IALA, which is pronounced ee-ah'-lah.
    From the start, IALA has had two goals: the first, to select or adapt a constructed language of demonstrated usefulness; the second, to establish its world-wide use as an auxiliary tongue. Two primary reasons dictated this program. No national language can be expected to be permanently acceptable to all nations as the officially recognized world language. The political situation of the present day bears witness to this realistic premise. But even if one could ignore this aspect of nationalistic jealousies, none of the national languages would be perfectly adaptable to the role of auxiliary world language. All are too difficult for the busy man or woman to learn to use correctly.
    IALA's first task was to secure the cooperation of leaders of the groups supporting the several constructed language systems--namely, interlinguists--and to gain the sympathetic interest of distinguished linguists, most of whom had thought of the auxiliary-language movement as outside their province. Response was prompt and favorable.
    Convened by IALA at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1930, a conference of linguists and interlinguists mapped a detailed program of linguistic research. Never before had so many factions of the auxiliary-language movement been brought into contact with experts in the science of language for friendly discussion of procedures for cooperation. This plan for a laboratory approach to find the most suitable form of international language was submitted to the Second International Congress of Linguists, and received its sympathy and general approval. Since then many of the members of that professional body have agreed to act as consultants on IALA's work. Some investigations by specialists have been completed and others are under way, concerned with the structural features, vocabularies, and typical habits of expression of the most widely used national languages. Similar examinations are being made of the six international languages previously mentioned.
    By 1935, IALA's directors were ready with a Plan for Obtaining Agreement on an Auxiliary World Language which had been drawn up in consultation with nationals of twelve countries,
    Under its operation, IALA has established contacts with international and national organizations and with ministries of education. It has also brought together linguists and interlinguists in frequent conference for the purpose of laying out specifications for the international language, of agreeing upon what further studies are requisite for applying the specifications, and, finally, of agreeing upon all details of the language which IALA will recommend.
    IALA's Committee for Agreement, which is directing the plan, is international. The chairman is Professor Albert Debrunner, of Switzerland. He is professor of Indo-European linguistics and classical philology at the University of Berne. Second member is Professor William E. Collinson, an Englishman. He has been professor of German at Liverpool University since 1914 and is also honorary lecturer in comparative philology. Professor Joseph Vendryês, the third member, is dean of the faculty of letters of the University of Paris. Professor Nicolaas van Wijk, the fourth member, is professor of Baltic and Slavonic languages in the University of Leiden.
    William de Cock Buning, of The Hague, and a Past Director of Rotary International, is so much interested in the work of the committee that he has served on it for more than two years, first as its secretary and now as vice chairman. He became convinced of the need for an auxiliary language during the years he spent in the Netherlands East Indies in business. The honorary secretary of IALA is the American member of the Committee. . . .
    What are some of the specifications which an international language should follow? Here are a few as listed by the Committee for Agreement:
    The last stage in determining the language which IALA will recommend is to be carried out by the projected International Language Institute which IALA will organize as soon as all research findings are complete. . . .
    While this technical work is going forward, IALA is endeavoring to secure the cooperation of international organizations which, by the nature of their internationality of membership, are concerned with the language situation. Informal conferences have been held by representatives of IALA with officers and staff members of many groups of men and women who are organized on a world scale for work in special fields.
    IALA will rely on the cooperation of the many international organizations and other bodies concerned with international life for fostering the use of the international language which will be agreed upon.

< back     | toc |     next >