Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

Language Planning jor a New Order     509
order pronounce a as in the English word father, as in the French la,
German Vater, or Danish far, is immaterial to easy communication
In fact, the differences are not greater than between glass as people
respectively pronounce it in Dundee and Dorchester, or between girl in
Mayfair and Old Kent Road, and far less than between tomato as people
severally pronounce it in Boston and Birmingham
We may take it for granted that the difficulty which the Greek 9 sound
presents to people OA many nations, the preference of Germans for
voiceless and of Danes for voiced consonants, the partiality of the Scot
and the Spaniard for a trilled r, and the reluctance of an Englishman to
pronounce r at all, will not prevent people of different speech com-
munities from using as an efficient and satisfactory medium of com-
munication an Interlanguage liable to get colour from local sound
Indeed, we need not despair of the possibility of reaching a standard
in the course of time More and more the infant discipline of phonetics,
which has lately received a new impulse from the needs of radio trans-
mission and long-distance telephone conversation, will influence the
practice of school instruction. In an international community with a
single official medium of intercommunication the radio and the talkie
will daily tune the ear to a single speech pattern We have no reason to
fear that discourse through a constructed Interlanguage will involve
greater difficulties than Enghsh conversation between a French Cana-
dian and a South African Boer, a Maori and a New Zealander of Scots
parentage, a Hindu Congress member and a Bantu trade union leader
from Johannesburg, or Winston Spencer Churchill and Franklin Delano
We may now sum up the outstanding features of a constructed
language designed with due regard to criticisms provoked by a suc-
cession of earlier projects and to the efforts of those who aim at adapting
Enghsh to international use.
(i) It would be essentially an isolating language The beginner
would not have to plod through a maze of useless and irregular flexions
common to Aryan languages such as French or Spanish, German or
Russian With the possible exception of a plural terminal, it would
have no flexional modifications of word-form Apart from a few simple
rules for the use of operators like our words make and get, formation of
compounds like tooth brush, and insertion of empty words like of to
show up the lay-out of the sentence, its rules of grammar would be