Bruce's main language page: Views of Language.


This is mostly a page to guide you to other sources of information. Rather than trying to put everything up myself, I've used the linking nature of the Web to show you what the best sites I've found are.

On this page, you will be able to see:

  • links to my own pages on specific languages,
  • links to my essays on the construction of international auxiliary languages,
  • a description of the background of my language interests, and
  • my favorite language-related links.
  • (The section entitled "The Great Debate on the Esperanto Accusative " has been moved to another page.)

    My pages:

    I have put up some material of my own on three languages because I have special reasons:
  • Otto Jespersen's Novial, the best international auxiliary language proposal I've found, and which I believe is the best starting point for any new IAL construction to be followed;
  • Voksigid, which is a project that I was myself involved with; and
  • Americai Speak, a creation by Ruby Olive Foulk, which I'm documenting only because her book seems totally unknown to the world and I feel someone ought to make it known.
  • .

    Essays on the construction of International Auxiliary Languages (IALs)

    I have begun to assemble a set of essays documenting the ideas I have on IAL construction. (As of today, there is just one! More will follow.)

    My background in Languages and Interlanguages:

    I am over 65 years old, and have been interested in IALs since I was somewhere around 10-12. I had heard of Esperanto, but had no idea what it looked like. At the time, my feeling was that a basically Romance vocabulary was appropriate; I'd had some French in school, and learned a little Spanish from phrasebooks and the like, and from those (and eventually my high school Latin) cobbled together "Símplé Románcé," my first conlang. It had a fairly complex verb system, patterned on French but regularized (tense, person, and number endings were used agglutinatively, though I did not know the word "agglutinative" then) and it is hardly what I would create now, but over 50 years ago, given my age at the time, it was the best I could do.

    In college I ran across my first actual book in (and/or on) a conlang, Alexander Gode's "Interlingua at Sight." So, unlike many others, the first conlang other than my own that I encountered was not Esperanto, but Interlingua. And as the title promised, I read it at sight. There was a little one-page list of small words in it, but otherwise no dictionary, yet I had no trouble reading it. I was impressed.

    By then I had had three years of high-school Latin and was beginning two years of college German. I had also picked up bits and pieces of Spanish and had had to study Hebrew (though not in the kind of class where I got to learn the grammar, though I had managed to figure out something of how Hebrew grammar works by "logic-ing" out the individual forms) for my bar mitzvah.

    I also had, since age 9 or so, as a result of an encounter with a man who had taken an interest in me, a strong interest in comparative and historical linguistics. We remained friends for several years; I have a dictionary he gave me as a bar mitzvah present. The interest has continued to the present; while I only had one college course in linguistics, I have a large library of books on the subject, and have actually read probably hundreds of those books from cover to cover. The books are not there for show.

    So, in college, I became an advocate of Interlingua. When I finally found out how Esperanto works, I was dissatisfied. It was so much more complex: adjective-noun agreement, an accusative case ending, etc. The only way in which it was better than Interlingua was that it had no irregular verbs. And that was hardly worth it. In the absence of knowing any other IALs, the choice was easy to me: Interlingua, and if I could only regularize the verb system, so much the better.

    Then I read some pro-Esperanto articles in a Mensa publication, and I wrote a response. My response in turn drew letters from two sources: one particular Esperantist, S. R. Dalton, who attempted, by logic that seemed specious, to convince me that all Esperanto's flaws were virtues, and two or three Idists. (It is still true today that Esperantists go to extraordinary lengths to justify that which is unjustifiable! For more examples, see the Q&A page which has been put on the Web.) The Idists' letters convinced me that a middle ground between E-o and IL existed, and I transferred my loyalty to Ido. (A summary of some of the improvements made to Esperanto when Ido was devised is posted here.)

    The next step occurred when Carl Rostrom, the US head of the Ido movement, died. His daughter distributed what she thought were his Ido materials to any people who requested it. But one of the pamphlets I got was not in Ido. It was the "Standard-Grammar of the Auxiliary Language Intal" by Erich Weferling. It was written entirely in Intal, yet I read it painlessly. It had the regularity of Ido (or Esperanto) but was as at-sight-readable as Interlingua. I really felt that this was the ideal IAL. It had a few idiosyncrasies like an Esperantine "kv" in words that ought to have "qu" and the "c" being pronounced "sh," but these were quite minor to me. Intal became the language I pushed. And in fact I would still be a devotee of Intal if I had not found, in a used book store, Jespersen's book An International Language, where he defined Novial. I found that everything I liked about Intal had been anticipated by Jespersen, and so it is now Novial that I now favor.

    I have, over the years, created or coauthored a number of languages, either "experimental" or intended as IALs. (Please look at my interest page for my reason for confining myself to these two types of constructed languages.) As I mentioned, I started with Símplé Románcé as a child, and at one time was working with a co-author on an IAL called Novulinge. A few years ago, I was part of a group that started to develop Voksigid (which unfortunately was never completed). At the time I set up the original version of this page in the late 1990s, my main efforts were devoted to a collaboration to update Novial.


    Other Sites:
    There are a number of good general surveys of languages: (I originally had two more sites, by Jay Bowks and Dirk Elzinga. Bowks no longer has the same site, but he has put up a new site; Elzinga's site has vanished without a trace and was deliberately prevented from being archived on the Web archive site.)

    While I still favor Novial or a derivative of it as the best idea for a world interlanguage, I have (as of March 2010) seen an interesting new development called Romániço. This new language claims to be based on Esperanto, but is far enough removed from it that I think it is far better. It eliminates all my objections but one to Esperanto; it still has diacritical marks (though, at least, the ones it uses are common to a number of well-known European languages). I think it's worth looking at.
    There are two mailing lists for constructed languages that you might like to join: CONLANG (general constructed language stuff) and AUXLANG (languages intended for use as international auxiliary languages). To subscribe to either, send e-mail to the listserver with the words SUBSCRIBE CONLANG or SUBSCRIBE AUXLANG. (A FAQ is available here. Additional mailing lists exist for specific conlangs, and in general a list of language-related (not just conlang-related) mailing lists can be found here and here. There is also a Usenet newsgroup on constructed languages.


    Since I originally set this site up, a new phenomenon has arisen: the wiki. There are large numbers of wiki sites all over the Web, and some are related to the language topics that this site features. (In fact, Jeffrey Henning, who had a site I originally linked to, has converted it to a wiki, though it is somewhat broken.) Wikis are so special that I have prepared a special list of language-related wikis.


    If you want to comment, send me e-mail.


    This page was originally a part of my site on Geocities, maintained until 1998. The last edit on the Geocities page was made on Apr. 13, 1997. The pages on Geocities could not be edited between 1998 and 2009, and were preserved as they were, until download in preparation for migration to this site took place on May 22, 2009. The original Geocities site (including much more than the language pages) has been picked up by Reocities (a project to preserve as much of Geocities as they could) and is viewable at this site.
    Other sites where I have put material relating to interests of mine can be found here.
    Please inform me of dead links and any other problems.



    Last modified by B. R. Gilson (brg1942@gmail.com) Novenber 12, 2010.


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