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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Pioneers of Language Planning            469
perative, or the infinitive without -re So we get ama (aware), habe
(habere\ scribe (scrtbere), audi (audit e)> i (ire) Interhngua has no mobile
derivative affixes to juggle with It is wholly analytical, like Chinese or,
we might almost add, Anglo-American What prefixes and suffixes
remain stack firmly to the Latin or Greek loan-word with all their
diversity of meaning, contradictions and obscurities in English, French.,
or Spanish usage
The grammar of Interhngua will not delay us long Its supreme
virtue is its modesty In Peano's own words, the minimum grammar is no
grammar at all No pioneer of language-planning has been more icono-
clastic towards the irrelevancies of number, gender, tense, and mood
It is Chinese with Latin roots, but because the roots are Latin (or
Greek) there is no surfeit of ambiguous homophones What Latin
labels by several different genitive case-marks, Interhngua binds
together with the "empty" word de, equivalent to our word of Thus
Latin vox popuh, vox dei, becomes voce depopulo> wee de Deo Number
indication is optional, an innovation which no future planner can
ignore. What is now familiar to the reader of the Loom, Peano first
grasped He saw that number and tense intrude in situations where
they are irrelevant, and we become slaves of their existence Whether
we like it or not, we have to use two irrelevant Anglo- American flexions
when we say* there were three lies in yesterday* s broadcast The plural 5
is redundant because the number three comes before the noun The
past were is irrelevant because what happened yesterday is over and
done with Interhngua reserves the optional and international plura]
affix -s (Latin matres, Greek meteres, French meies, Spanish madres,
Dutch moeders) for situations in which there is no qualifier equivalent
to many, several, etc, or nothing in the context to specify plurality,
e g the father has sons — patre hdhefihos, but three sons = tresfilio It
is almost an insult to Peano's genius to add that Interhngua has no
gender apparatus or that the adjective is invariant If sex is relevant to
the situation, we add mas for the male, an.dfetmna for the female, e g
cane femma = a bitch There is no article, definite or indefinite The
distinction /—me, he—him, etc, which almost all Peano's predecessors
preserved, dies an overdue death Me stands for / and me, illo for he
and him
Demolition of the verb-edifice is equally thorough There are no
flexions of person or number Thus me habe = I have, te habe = you
have, nos habe = we have There is also no obligatory tense-distinction
This is in line with the analytical drift of modern European languages