Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

474                *^ke Loom of Language
plural form of the noun, (6) -d or -ed for the past tense or participle of
verbs,, (c) -tngy which can be tacked on to almost any word which
signifies an action or process The genitive -s is optional^ as are the -er
and -est of essential comparatives or superlatives The seven forms of
the verb be* four or five forms of a few—not more than a dozen—
common strong veibs, and half a dozen irregular noun plurals, round
up the essentials of Anglo-American grammar other than rules of
Thus the essential grammar of Anglo-American is much simpler
than that of the only two artificial languages which have hitherto
attracted a considerable popular following The language itself is the
most cosmopolitan medium of civilized intercourse-, and it can boast of
a copious literature produced at low cost It is the exclusive Western
vehicle of commercial transactions in the Far East, and the common
tongue of business enterprise on the American continent It is also a
lingua franca for the publication of a large bulk of scientific research
earned on ta Scandinavia, Japan, China., and in countries other than
France, Germany 3 or Italy For all these and for other reasons,, the
movement to promote Anglo-Amencan as a world-auxiliary has
eclipsed the enthusiasms with which former generations espoused
proposals for constructed languages
Whatever fate has in store for Ogden's system of Basic English,
everyone who is interested in the interlanguage pioblem must acknow-
ledge a debt to its author for clarifying the problem of word-economy
and specifying the principles for making the dictionary of a satisfactory
world-auxiliary What is not beyond dispute is whether his particular
solution of the problem is the best one To avoid the inflation of a basic
vocabulary with separate verbs, Ogden takes advantage of the enormous
number of distinctive elements which can be replaced by one of about
sixteen common English verbs in combination with other essential words
Thus we can make the following combinations with go followed by a
go around (circumscribe, encircle, surround), go across (traverse), go
away (depart); go after (follow, pursue), go again (return), go against
(attack); go before (precede), go by (pass), go down (descend)? go for
(fetch)) go in (enter), go on (continue), go out (leave), go through (pene-
trate), go to (visit), go up (ascend), go with (fit, suit, accompany)
We can also manufacture many verb equivalents by combining some
common English verbs with nouns or adjectives-, in accordance with
the precedent of Bible English* make clean> make wet, make whole^ make