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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

486                The Loom of Language
type can be feed authoritatively in such a way that the general structure
will remain stable, though new words will, of course, be constantly
added when need requires
This family likeness will become increasingly apparent in what
follows. We shall now examine principles of design with due regard to
the measure of agreement to which Jespersen draws attention and to
later issues which have emerged, more especially from discussion of
the merits and defects of simple English. One of the conspicuous
defects of Anglo-American m its present form is the difficulty men-
tioned at the end of the last paragraph but one Its script, particularly
the spelling of its inherited stock of monosyllables, has become well-
nigh ideographic, and this is the most striking difference between any
form of authentic English and any modern constructed language All
advocates of a constructed international auxiliary agree that it must
have consistent, simple, straightforward spelling rules, based on the
use of the Roman alphabet. Since existing languages such as Italian,
Spanish., and Norwegian furnish models of orderly behaviour, there
has never been any practical difficulty about prescribing a system of
phonetic spelling. A representative international committee of experts
entrusted with the task of laying the foundations of a constructed
world-auxiliary would waste few days in reaching agreement about its
spelling conventions.
Spelling raises only one outstanding issue for discussion Consistent
spelling may mean either or both of two proposals' (a) that every
sound has one symbol and one only, (6) that every symbol stands for a
single sound. To insist too rigorously on the first has a disadvantage
touched on in Chapter II Different languages have different conven-
tions of alphabetic script, and the imposition of a rule limiting one
sound to one symbol alone would therefore mutilate otherwise familiar
roots beyond easy recognition. For example, we should not recognize
the root chrom- in panchromatic or polychrome as easily if we spelt it
with an initial ft, and the retention of two symbols for some sounds,
e g CH or K for ft, would not appreciably add to the difficulties of
learning.
ESSENTIAL GRAMMAR
It is also safe to say that grammar no longer provides much fuel for
controversy among interhnguists. We have moved far since the days of
Volapitk) and the main outlines of an international grammar are now
dear enough The reader of The Loom of Language no longer needs to