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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Language Planning for a New Order    483
would find a ready ally in the radio. Even those who stay at home
perpetually, would be tempted to avail themselves of opportunities to
learn more of large-scale social enterprise in neighbouring communities
of the supra-national State
The choice for those of us who cherish this hope lies between a
constructed language and an already established medium, either in its
existing shape or in some simplified form, such as Basic English. The
second involves nothing more than agreement between educational
authorities expressing the will of the people On account of its gram-
matical simplicity, its hybrid vocabulary, its vast literature, and, above
all, its wide distribution over the planet, the claims of Anglo-Amencan
would undoubtedly exclude those of any other current language which
could conceivably have a large body of promoters in the near future;
but political objections to such a choice are formidable. It is most
unlikely that a socialist Continent would decide for Anglo-Amencan
as its interlanguage if Britain remained hostile to the new order
The chances might improve if a Britain free of its imperial incubus
entered into dose co-operation with its neighbours next door to build
up a world without class, war and want. Even so there is much to
say for the adoption of a neutral medium cleansed from the all too
evident defects of existing natural languages.
Some linguists meet the plea for a constructed auxiliary with the
assertion that language is a product of growth. It is less easy to detect
the relevance than to recognize the truth of this assertion. Admittedly
it is beyond human ingenuity to construct a Jive sky-lark, but the
aeroplane has advantages which no flying animal possesses. Apple trees
and gooseberry bushes are also products of growth, and no reasonable
man or woman advances this tnte reflection as sufficient reason for
preventing geneticists from producing new varieties of fruit by com-
bining inherited merits of different strains or allied species. The work
accomplished by pioneers of the science of synthetic linguistics shows
that it is also possible to produce new language varieties combining the
inherent merits of different forms of natural speech. In the light of their
achievements and shortcomings we can now prescribe the essential
features of a constructed language which would be free from the con-
spicuous defects of any natural, or of any previously constructed,
language.
Professional linguists, who do not dispute the possibility of construc-
ting a language to meet the requirements of international communica-
tion, sometimes raise another objection They say that the adventure