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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

496                The Loom of Language
East and must do so more and more, if China and India emerge from
their present miseries as free and modernized societies
The world-wide and expanding lexicon of modern technics follows
the dictates of international scientific practice It grows by combination
of roots drawn almost exclusively from two languages—Greek and
Latin To the extent that the lexicon of many projects, e g Esperanto
Ido, Occidental, Novial, is largely or, like Romanal and Peano's
Interhngua, almost exclusively based on material of recognizably Latin
origin, all recent interlanguages display the family likeness to which
Jespersen refers in the passage quoted above In fact they do include a
considerable proportion of words based on roots which individually
enjoy a high measure of international currency
The international vocabulary of technics contains a large proportion
of Latin roots, but Greek has furnished for a long time the basis of the
majority of new scientific words For instance, the new terminology
which Faraday and his successors designed for the description of
electro-chemical phenomena is exclusively derived from Greek roots,
as in electrolyte, electrode, cathode, anode, cation, arnon, and ion Yet the
Greek contribution to the vocabulary of languages hitherto constructed
has been small Indeed the Concise Oxford Dictionary has a far higher
proportion (p 16) of Greek roots than any hitherto constructed
language If interlinguists utilize them at all, they confine themselves
to those assimilated by Latin In short, none of the pioneers of language-
planning has paid due regard to the piofound revolution in scientific
nomenclature which took place in the dosing years of the eighteenth
and the beginning of the nineteenth century Nor did they see the
implications of a fact which disturbed the English philologist Bradley
The language of invention now becomes the idiom of the street coiner
before the lapse of a generation Bradley gave expression to his alarm
at this process of internationalization in words which the partisans of
passed projects might well have heeded
At present our English dictionaries are burdened with an enormous
and daily increasing mass of scientific terms that are not English at all
except in the form of their terminations and in the pronunciations in-
ferred from their spelling The adoption of an international language for
science would bring about the disappearance of these monstrosities of
un-English English ,
9
Partly because of the tempo of invention, partly because of more
widespread schooling, partly because of the expanding volume of
books and articles popularizing new scientific discoveries, this mfil-