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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

470                The Loom of Language
(cf especially Afrikaans, p 285) which rely on helpers or particles to
express time or aspect The -ed like the -s in two rabbits escaped yester-
day is redundant We have no need for either of them when we say
two sheep hurt themselves yesterday The Interhnguist says ken me es in
London (yesterday I BE in London), hodie illos es in Pans (to-day they
BE in Pans)^ eras te ei> in New York (to-morrow you BE in New York)
Peano's amtude to tense is on all fours with his attitude to number
Where explicit particles,, or context do not already specify past time,
the helper e before the verb does so Similarly i (from ire} indicates the
future as in the French construction je vats me coucher (I am going to
bed) Thus the Interlinguist says me i bibe = I am going to drink, or
me e bibe = I drank
Though one of the most attractive projects yet designed, Peano's
Interhngua has several weak points Some of them spring from the fact
that its author had his eyes glued on the European tnise-en-scene> and
more particularly, on the cultural hierarchy So he never asked himself
whether Interhngua was free from sounds likely to cause difficulties to
linguistic communities outside Europe There is another grave but
easily remediable omission A completely flexionless language such as
Interhngua calls for rigid rules of word-order Peano bothered little
about the necessary traffic regulations The capital weakness of Inter-
hngua is that its vocabulary is too large Its author ignored the interests
of the peoples of Africa and Asia, as he also ignored the plain man in
Europe Had he had more sympathy with their needs he would have
worked out a minimum vocabulary sufficient for everyday purposes
He did not The 1915 edition of Peano's Vocabulano Commune contains
14,000 words which have currency in leading European languages
Here is a sample of Interhngua
Televisione, aut transmissione de imagines ad distantia, es ultimo
applicatione de undas electrico In die 8 februario 1928, imagines de tres
nomine m Long Acre apud London es transimsso ad Hartsdale apud
New York, et es recepto super uno piano, de 5 per 8 centimetro, ubi
assistentes vide facies in London ad move, apen ore, etc
Bacon has said that the true and lawful goal of science is to endow
human life with new powers and inventions Throughout his long and
distinguished career, the great Danish linguist Jespersen has had the
courage and originality to emphasize that philology has the same
"true and lawful goal" as any other science As a young man he espoused