Language and Linguistics

Artificial Language

The development of Artificial Language

Artificial Language?

An artificial language is one that is created in a conscious and systematic way through an arbitrary agreement between individuals to be used only for certain purposes. Its purpose is to capture all the nuances and complexities of the object of study with total precision. A clear example of the use of these languages ​​is mathematics, which allows you to accurately formalize physical theories and programming languages ​​to transmit orders to computers to perform certain tasks.

These languages, when created methodically, governed by arbitrary conventions established by specialists, require the willingness to learn to be used with purpose and tend to their universalization and restrictive use in their various scientific fields, or technical or commercial contexts .

Among the artificial languages, the technical and formal languages ​​are distinguished.

Technical language

It is characterized by using natural language words, but each of them receives a specific meaning according to the purposes sought by the linguistic community that uses them.Ex: the community of physicists, uses words of common use, such as speed or power, but gives them a certain meaning.

Formal Language

It is one in which the terms of ordinary language have been removed and only arbitrary symbols are used, whose meaning is dispensed with to focus attention exclusively on the relations between said symbols, expressed in formulas.

The development

The idea of ​​the first type of artificial language was developed in the seventeenth century. It was a time when Latin was falling into disuse as a universal language of learning in Europe. It was also a time when Europeans were aware for the first time of the enormous number of different languages ​​that exist in the world and of the inadequacy of a single European language for worldwide communication. A scholar of the time said: “The curse of Babel is worse than our parents imagined.” Many felt that Europe needed a new language for trade, missionary work and other international tasks. The European encounter with the Chinese also boosted these plans. The fact that several mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects could be written with the same character set created the mistaken impression that Chinese characters were symbols of pure concepts and not of language sounds. Many scholars of the time believed that reality could be categorized into a limited set of categories that they called “concepts.” Each category could be given a symbol, creating a universal language that would not depend on anyone’s mother tongue.

Since these languages ​​try to go beyond the true language and return to what was believed to be the semantic roots of the language, they are called a priori languages. The language of Decartes was an example of a priori language; Many of these languages ​​have been invented since the 17th century. Musical notes and numbers served as prototypes for several of these languages.

In the 18th century many people continued to look at Chinese characters as conceptual language, and each concept had its own pictographic symbol. Such systems were impossible to use due to the huge number of different symbols that were needed. The student was presented with a virtually impossible memory task. (Chinese writing, as we have seen, is not really ideographic: each symbol denotes the sound of a particular syllable, so it is possible to learn to write Chinese.)

Problems with artificial languages ​​a posteriori

  1. The artificial languages like Esperanto are not really neutral means of communication from the linguistic point of view, since they are basically derived from one of the major language families, usually Indo – European.
  2. You still have to make a considerable effort to learn them; Many adults do not learn a second language at all, and those who do must work hard to do so.
  3. A person’s mother tongue is part of their identity and their cultural heritage, something that they do not voluntarily give up. Therefore, it is unlikely that an artificial language, without cultural prestige, will replace living and natural languages.
  4. Even if an artificial language were adopted as a world language, each nation would eventually develop local dialects based on the interference of its own mother tongue; these would eventually begin to diverge in separate languages, as Creoles based on English and French have done in many parts of the world. There have even been riots among Esperantists. At the beginning of this century a dissident group created Ido, a simplified version of Esperanto.

So, in practice, artificial language projects have not been successful. Few people today believe that the world will one day adopt a language as the main means of international communication. Instead of using an artificial language as an international lingua franca, the world community seems to be approaching the use of several languages ​​widely spoken as lingua franca in various parts of the world. Mandarin Chinese has more than one billion speakers. Hindi has almost the same number. Then come English, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. These languages, in addition to French, German, Japanese and Arabic, can be used to communicate with the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants. Today, English is the closest language to being an international language worldwide: More people speak English as a second language than any other language. Chinese and Hindi are spoken mainly in South and East Asia.

The need for new languages

Finally, it must be said that lately some people have invented artificial languages ​​not to simplify the image of the international language, but rather to add another portion of linguistic diversity to the image. The oldest was the History of Man on the Moon by Francis Godwin (1634), in which the author invented a language called lunar. The mole was an a priori language based on Chinese (or so the author believed). Godwin’s book is considered the first science fiction work. More recently, other authors have created elaborate languages ​​for imaginary peoples that function more like real languages, with phonology, morphology and grammar (recent examples are elvish and orkish in the Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, or Klingon, in Star Trek’s the next generation. A more recent linguistic invention in this tradition is the Klingon language developed by Marc Okrand, a specialist in Native American languages ​​and a Star Trek enthusiast. Its language contains uvular and retroflexed consonants. It was first used in the episodes of Star Trek, the New Generation. But now he has expanded it to a complete language by writing a grammar and a dictionary. Recently, the Bible has been translated into Klingon. Therefore, literary artificial languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. Native American language specialist and Star Trek enthusiast. Its language contains uvular and retroflexed consonants. It was first used in the episodes of Star Trek, the New Generation. But now he has expanded it to a complete language by writing a grammar and a dictionary. Recently, the Bible has been translated into Klingon. Therefore, literary artificial languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. Native American language specialist and Star Trek enthusiast. Its language contains uvular and retroflexed consonants. It was first used in the episodes of Star Trek, the New Generation. But now he has expanded it to a complete language by writing a grammar and a dictionary. Recently, the Bible has been translated into Klingon. Therefore, literary artificial languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. It was first used in the episodes of Star Trek, the New Generation. But now he has expanded it to a complete language by writing a grammar and a dictionary. Recently, the Bible has been translated into Klingon. Therefore, literary artificial languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. It was first used in the episodes of Star Trek, the New Generation. But now he has expanded it to a complete language by writing a grammar and a dictionary. Recently, the Bible has been translated into Klingon. Therefore, literary artificial languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. Artificial literary languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels. Artificial literary languages ​​are often deliberately more elaborated in some way, so that they would seem very different from English and other widely known natural languages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, several writers had invented languages ​​for imaginary civilizations in their novels.

What is the “moral” of this whole discussion about linguistic diversity and international languages? Although the number of languages ​​has been reduced considerably in the last 500 years, thousands of languages ​​are still spoken and we have reason to believe that many, if not most, will continue to be spoken in the future. For many, if not all, human beings, linguistic diversity is not a mere accident of history, but an end in itself, a part of our cultural heritage that deserves to be preserved. More and more people have begun to see the so-called curse of Babel as a blessing that enriches the world. In the same vein, language conservation projects have emerged among small nations in danger of losing their language.

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