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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

478                The Loom of Language
welcome where there is continuous contact between British adminis-
trators and Oriental or African populations with a multitude of local
vernaculars Owing to the influence of American trade and medicine.,
and to that of American Universities and philanthropic foundations in
the Far East, the influence of their common language extends far
beyond the bounds of the British Empire or the United States As a
lingua franca in China and Japan, it has no formidable European
competitor Esperanto or any form of rehabilitated Aryan would have
no prospect of outstripping Anglo-American unless it first established
itself by general agreement as the official medium of a United Europe
In more than one respect Esperanto is inferior, and in none superior,
to English With its wealth of flexions it limps far behind several
European languages, and it would be a bold boast to say that its vocabu-
lary is more international than that of English
There is already a large educational publishing clientele for pro-
posals which ami at promoting the use of Anglo-American as the
lingua franca of technology and trade in backward and subject com-
munities Basic is not the only proposal of this sort From Toronto
comes West's method This is based on word-counts, and presumably
therefore aims to cater for the needs of those whose immediate
goal is rapid progress in reading facility Miss Elaine Swensen of the
Language Research Institute at New York University has devised
another system, H E Palmer of the Institute for Research in English
Teaching in Tokyo a third (Iref) In American Speech (1934), Dr. Jane
Rankin Aiken has put forward Little English., with an essential vocabu-
lary of 800 words, i e 50 less than Basic Others exist and will come
THE PROSPECTS FOR LANGUAGE-PLANNING
The first desideratum of an interlanguage is the ease with which
people can learn it If we apply this test to rival claimants, two conclu-
sions emerge from our narrative One may well doubt whether any
constructed language with the support of a mass movement is superior
to Anglo-American, especially if we consider the needs of the Far East
or of the awakening millions of Africa At the same tune, it would be
easy to devise an artificial language vastly superior to Anglo-American
by taking full advantage of neglected lessons from comparative lin-
guistics and of the short-comings of our predecessors in the same
endeavour. If historical circumstances favour the adoption of a living
one as a world language, Anglo-Amencan has no dangerous rival, and
practical reasons which make people prefer Anglo-Amencan to any