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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Pioneers of Language Planning           461
academy, I began to study English, I was struck by the simplicity of its
grammar, the more so owing to the sudden change from that of Latin
and Greek I came to see that richness of grammatical forms is only a
historical chance occurrence, and is not necessary for a language Under
the influence of this idea I began to look through my language and to
cast out unnecessary forms, and I perceived that the giammar melted
away in my hands, till it became so small as to occupy, without any harm
to the language itself, not more than a few pages
The design of a simplified grammar did not detain him long, but he
was held up when he began to construct a vocabulary Then it dawned
on him that we can make an unlimited number of new words by means
of derivative affixes added to a single root The manufacture of suitable
affixes led him back to Wilkins's theme, analysis of notional relations
His first idea was to make up his own stock-in-trade of roots He soon
realized the difficulty of learning the arbitrary root-forms of Volapuk
and began to see that living languages work with a high proportion of
common or international words & preliminary Romano-Teutonic
lexicon was born of this recognition In its final form the project
appeared in 1887 under the pseudonym Linguo Intemacia de la
Doktoro Esperanto (International Language by Dr Hopeful)
Unlike Schleyer, Zamenhof sustained a sensible humility towards his
own creation He did not look upon it as final He invited criticism His
intention was to collect, discuss, and publish the objections raised, then
to amend its shortcomings in the light of the findings The public
ignored Zamenhof's request for sympathetic and enlightened criticism
Esperanto remained unchanged till 1894, when its author himself
initiated a drastic reform It found its first adherents in Czanst Russia
where the authonties suppressed its organ, La Esperantisto> because it
published an article by Tolstoi From Russia it spread to the Scandi-
navian countries, to Central Europe, thence to France, where it had
strong support in university circles In 1905 the Government of the
French Republic made Zamenhof an Officer of the Legion d'Honnew
In 1909 H M King Alfonso conferred upon him the honour of Com-
mander in the Order of Isabella the Catholic After a brief eclipse
dunng the Great War of 1914-1918, the wave of pacifist sentiment
which subsequently swept over the world gave it new momentum
We should accept figures about its spread and popularity, when
given by Esperantists themselves, with the caution we should adopt
towards data about the vitality of Erse or Gaelic when those who supply
them are Celtic enthusiasts According to a report published by the
General Secretanat of the League of Nations (but based upon data