Submitted the idea of Occidental as a common language in the Americas to the Citizen's Briefing Book

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is justa little bit better than the one we inhabit today." <-- sounds like an open invitation to the idea of using an IAL.

You can find the idea here. This is actually my second submission, but the first one I made quite offhandedly just a few minutes before I went to bed two days ago, and without much explanation it resulted in quite a few downvotes (-300 points in total). It may be possible that there's just a vehement counter-reaction to this kind of idea, but I decided to try rephrasing it to make the reasons behind the proposal much clearer. We'll see if it gets a better response than the last. If you're registered on the site or support the idea you might want to go there and vote it up / comment below.

This is what I wrote:
At the moment there is a kind of tug-of-war going on in North America between English and Spanish, and French to a certain extent up north. Each of these languages are strong in their own right, and though English at the moment is the strongest language in the world, Spanish still is encroaching on a number of previous English strongholds such as Miami and areas in California, and even the country of Trinidad and Tobago for example is aiming to become a Spanish-speaking country by 2020. It's very likely that English and Spanish will reach a kind of stalemate in the Americas, and in the meantime Canada has Quebec, a place with some pretty draconian language laws in order to preserve French.

At the same time, it is no easy feat to master another language without a large investment of time, an investment that not everybody can afford to make. What is fortunate, however, is that these languages (and Portuguese as well, let's not forget Brazil) have a lot in common, to the extent that it's possible to build a language that contains all the elements they have in common without their difficulties (irregular verbs, weird orthography, grammatical gender, etc.).

A language created in 1922 by the name of Occidental includes just these elements, and you can see an example of it here:

Témpores de grand calamitá e confusion ha sempre productet li homes del max grand mentes. Li max pur metalle es productet del forne li max calid, e li max brilliant fúlmine es observat in li max obscur storm. - Caleb Cotton, 1780 - 1832

This means: "Times of large calamity and confusion have always produces the people of the greatest spirits. The most pure metal is produced by the hottest oven, and the most brilliant lightning is observed in the darkest storm. "

You will notice that unlike other constructed languages, this one has a derivational system that gives it a perfectly natural appearance, to the extent that it often resembles languages such as Spanish or French or Italian to the untrained eye (in fact, Google Translate often judges texts in the language to be French). Here are two examples of how words are formed:

excavar - to excavate
excavation - excavation
excavator - excavator

examinar - to examine
examination - examination
examinator - examiner

Note however that the idea is not "let's all start speaking Occidental starting January 20"; rather, it's to seriously begin debate on the future of language in the two continents, and whether it would be feasible to look into a language such as Occidental to accomplish that. A new method of communication is something to be accomplished in the very long term, so the only proposal I'm making at the moment is to take a serious look at the possibility for the time being, to begin the discussion.

Here is an overview of the grammar of the language for a more complete explanation of how it works:

So, what do you think? If English isn't going anywhere, and Spanish isn't going anywhere, and neither are French and Portuguese, wouldn't it be wise to start thinking of a way to help get past this constant tug-of-war over influence and instead devote ourselves to a common method of communication based on what all these languages have in common?


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