ON LANGUAGE MAKING

IX Conclusion

I have tried to show that the study of language-making throws new light on language in general. I have further endeavoured to show that the progress of language overlaps with language-making at a certain point and we have seen that the development of nomenclatures - and whether we use a constructed language or not - demands an identical approach. We could say that the affixes of our chemical nomenclature are based on equally a priori principles with those on which a constructed language is based. In fact, in speaking of scientific nomenclatures we would find it hard to say where the ethnic languages cease and the constructed languages begin.

There still remain, however, historic differences which I should like to call to mind and which show the justification for the dual function of ethnic and constructed language:
`The ethnic languages abound in archaic forms and irregularities historically justified which we describe as usage and convention.
`The constructed language inherits nothing but the structural elements and these, in turn, are absorbed and shaped according to its own laws and principles.
`The ethnic languages fulfil functions other than the communication of thought, or as Mme de Staël puts it:
"French is not moreover only a means of communicating our ideas, our feelings, and our affairs, but also an instrument on which we love to play and which revives the spirit as music does with some and strong liqeurs with others" (elle n'est pas seulement comme ailleurs un moyen de communiquer ses idées, ses sentiments et ses affairs, mais un instrument dont on aime à jouer et qui ranime les esprits comme la musique chez quelques peuples et les liquers fortes chez quelques autres).
`The constructed language serves only for the communication of thought among the members of different linguistic groups.
`Tégner's dictum of the linguistic ideal is "that which is most easily expressed, is most easily understood," an ideal which we cannot superimpose on the structure of our ethnic languages.'
`The constructed language can endeavour to attain that ideal with due regard to function and task without violating the love we feel for our mother tongue.'

The co-existence of our ethnic languages with a constructed language answers the dual function of national and international co-operation. Both will develop, one as the natural consequence of the other and of the needs of our society to-day. If we were to imitate too closely in language-making the characteristics of the ethnic tongues, we would have to use historic forms no longer justified or needed; inversely, if we were to reconstruct our national tongues on the principles of a logical language, we could merely reform our ethnic languages according to the laws of a constructed one. Both aims would fall short of our ideals.

The immense knowledge acquired through linguistics and the beginnings of interlinguistics makes it possible to solve the problems of science, and I earnestly believe that if linguists were to include in their study of analysis and classification, the synthesis of language-making this would indeed mark a historic turning-point.


The material on this page was originally provided by James Chandler. It was created by him in 1997 and was copied from his site on June 5, 2009. Some changes have been made as necessary to make it function properly on this site. He has given me permission to reproduce and display all Novial-related information on his site.

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