Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

Pimwers of Language Planning         479
artificial interlanguage, however wisely conceived,, will inevitably check
any bid to supersede the Anglo-American dictionary Simplified
English, whether Basic or Iret, Swensen or AikenŚnot to mention
more to comeŚcan scarcely aspire to be other than a passport to the
more ample territory of the great English-speaking community., and a
safe-conduct to its rich treasury of technical literature
To these conclusions it is reasonaole to add another. No artificial
interlanguage movement sponsored by voluntary effort can hope to
swamp the claims of Anglo-American in the East, Thus our hopes for
a neutral constructed language stand or fall with the prospects for a
Europe united by a democratic constitution based on intelligent pre-
vision of linguistic problems which democratic co-operation must
surmount The choice before us may be settled for many decades to
come by historical circumstances over which we have no control If
historical circumstances do allow us to cast our vote, it will be supremely
important to recognize the implications of a decision in favour of
Anglo- American or of a new start in language-planning.
If advocates of constructed languages have been peculiarly blind to
the intrinsic merits of Anglo-Amencan, those who cnampion its claims
as a world-auxiliary have been equally deaf to its extrinsic disabilities
Though Anglo-Arnencan is not a national language, it is not a politi-
cally neutral language. If a victorious alliance of the English-speaking
people attempts to make it the official medium of a united Europe., its
use will make the British nation a Hetrenvolk It will perpetuate all the
discords which anse when one speech-community enjoys a privileged
position in the cultural and social life of a laiger group There is only
one basis of equality on which nations can co-operate in a peaceful
world order without the frictions which anse from linguistic differences.
A new European order, or a new world order in which no nation enjoys
favoured treatment will be one in which every citizen is bilingual, as
Welsh or South African children are brought up to be bilingual The
common language of European or world citizenship must be the birth-
right of everyone, because the birthnght of no one
History has not yet given its verdict It may not be too late to fore-
stall disasters of a maladroit decision For that reason the last chapter
of The Loom of Language will deal with principles which must dictate a
wholly satisafactory solution of the world-language problem Whatever
final decision blind fate or intelligent prescience imposes on the future
of the most widely distributed and the only talking animal on this
planet, this much is clear The efforts of the pioneers of language-