The big IAL announcement: Mondial can now be revived!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

At long last the mail has arrived, and I can write the big IAL announcement I have been hinting at for the past two weeks.

The announcement is this: the language Mondial, a Romance and English-based IAL created in 1948, has been freed from the shackles of the Library of Congress and other massive libraries around the world, as with the help of Paul Bartlett from auxlang I now have a copy of four textbooks written by Helge Heimer on the language, how it works and how it is used.

So why is this so important? I will get into the language itself in a bit, but first a comment on its current state: there is some information on Mondial online, but it truly is nearly nonexistent. There is a short Wikipedia article on the language, a blog called yo parla Mondial...and that's really about it. Pretty much every other notable IAL has at least a good amount of learning material online. Esperanto, Ido and Interlingua have more than enough, Novial has a few textbooks, writing samples and a Wikipedia, Occidental has the same, and even Idiom Neutral has a number of textbooks online that I was able to peruse and type out last year. But Mondial has nothing. No longer.

Now to the language itself and why I like it. I wrote one post comparing Mondial and Interlingua a while back, and the short conclusion is this: Mondial is the language that I wanted Interlingua to be when I first found out about it in 2005. Back then I first became attracted to Interlingua after learning Ido due to its overall appearance and pan-Romantic/modern Latin feel, but was quickly turned off by a few of its qualities:

- irregular stress (teléphono)
- irregular pronunciation (words like marketing ("mal marketing!")
- overall length
- susceptibility to Romantic drift, namely the fact that Interlingua can vary quite a bit by speaker. Romance language speakers in particular like to move pronouns around ("ille me da" instead of "ille da me"). Both are correct but the overall impression one gets from time to time is that a more English word order is incorrect when it is explicitly not so.

The first two points are especially important from a marketing perspective, since even Spanish is superior to Interlingua on this front. That is, give a student of one or two weeks a Spanish text and he will at least be able to read it; do this with Interlingua and the pronunciation and stress will often be wrong.

As for Mondial vs. Occidental: while Occidental has a superb design and derivation is quite good, there is something about Mondial that is difficult to describe but just comes across as more pleasant. Perhaps having le instead of li, -vi for past tense instead of -t, no doubled consonants (Occidental has that option, but this is not the standard), a combination of a number of small points that make it feel less strained, for lack of a better way to explain it. Perhaps others can do a better job at explaining this.

So, on to Mondial! I still haven't read through the whole grammar but upon skimming it it is very easy to understand and will present no surprises to anyone familiar with this type of language. Here is a very quick introduction.

Orthography: much like Italian. ch before i and e is pronounced as k, gh as g in good. However, c before e and i is ts, not ch (citá = tsitá, not chitá).

Stress: much like Spanish. Penultimate stress unless a word ends in a consonant. S is the exception here given how it is used to form the plural.

Accent marks: almost nonexistent, but sometimes one sees them in words like bontá (goodness), economía (economy), café, etc.

Definite article is le. Mondial uses lo to refer to abstract things like the English "it" as in "it's raining". Lo tute (the whole), lo bel (the beautiful), etc.

Possessive is de, a is to, this contracts to del. No surprises here. Da le flores al amicos -- Give the flowers to the friends.

-a turns a masculine noun feminine, no surprise here either. Actor = actor, actora = female actor. Amico = friend, amica = female friend.

Adjectives do not inflect. Le flor e bel -- the flower is beautiful. Le flores e bel -- the flowers are beautiful.
An adjective can take -s when it is used in place of a noun. Da me le beles -- give me the beautiful ones.

Comparison of adjectives uses plu for more, mas for most, men for less, min for least. Il e (le) mas inteligente -- He is the most intelligent.

Some irregular adjectives here: melior (better), pejor (worse), major (greater), minor (smaller). The book also says that plu bon and mas bon etc. are fine.

Adjectives can be used as nouns: le riche (a rich man), le riches (the rich people), le richas (the rich women).

Personal pronouns are what one would expect, but slightly clearer than most other languages of Mondial's type. Each one has a nominal and an accusative form. yo (I) -- me, tu (you) -- te, nu (we) -- nos (us), li (they) -- les (them). Some examples will help here:

Nu ha parlate de les. -- We have spoken of them.

Now let's turn this on itself:

Yo ha parlate de me. -- I have spoken of me.
Tu ha parlate de te. -- You have spoken of you.
Il ha parlate de lui. -- He has spoken of him.
Il ha parlate de se. -- He has spoken of himself.
El ha parlate de lei. -- She has spoken of her.
Il ha parlate de lo. -- It has spoken of it.
Nu ha parlate de nos. -- we have spoken of us.
Vu ha parlate de vos. -- You have spoken of you.
Li ha parlate de les. -- They have spoken of them.
Li ha parlate de se. -- They have spoken of themselves.

Possessives: mi, tui, sui, sei, su, notre, votre, lor.

This also shows how verbs work. Verbs all end in -ar, past tense is -vi, "have (verb)" is "ha (verb)te", etc.

From the verb section of the book we also get:

Present participle: -ante
Future: -ara
Conditional: -aria
Imperative: -a or -amo (-amo = "let us (verb)!")

Amamo ambes! -- Let's love both!

Passive voice is interesting and uses var, to become, plus the past participle. Apparently ser (to be) is also acceptable when the situation is not vague.

yo va amate = I am loved
yo vavi amate = I was loved
and so on, all the way to hante vate amate (having been loved).

Ser is the only irregular verb. e = is, evi = was, semo (let's be), etc.

Adverbs are easy: -mente. Probablemente = probably. If the adjective ends in -m, then drop the m. Intim (intimate) = intimente (intimately).

And so on and so forth, but there is too much to write of today. I will finish with a few closing examples.

Vola vu far me un service? -- Will you do me a favour? / Voulez-vous me rendre un service?

Coi demanda vu de me? -- What do you wish be to do? / Que me demandez-vous?

E tu fatigate? -- Are you tired? / Et-tu fatigué?

Por coi non creda tu lo? -- Why don't you think so? / Pourquoi ne le crois-tu pas?

Parlamo de altro! -- Let's talk about something else! / Parlons d'autre chose!

Non trova vu mondial facil? -- Don't you find Mondial easy? / Ne trouvez-vous pas le mondial facile?

Sui gramatica ha solo poque regles i nul exepciones. On aprenda lo in algue horas. On scriba come on parla, i on parla come on scriba. -- Its grammar has only a few rules and no exceptions. It can be learnt in a few hours. One writes as one speaks, and one speaks as one writes. / Sa grammaire n'a que peu de règles et pas d'exceptions. On l'apprend en quelques heures. On écrit comme on parle, et on parle comme on écrit.

Si, yo ha baniate me i natate plure voltes per dia, yo ha remate i andate a vela presque tute dia. Le banies de sole sur le plage evi deliciose. -- Yes, I bathed and swam several times a day, I rowed and you sailed almost every day. Sunbathing on the beach was delightful. / Oui, je me suis baigné, j'ai nagé plusieurs fois par jour, j'ai ramé et j'ai fait de la voile presque chaque jour. Les bains de soleil sur la plage étaient délicieux.

That's enough for now! Now the question is what to do next with the books. I am tentatively thinking of the following:

- type out the books to learn the language and keep the content forever even in case of fire or who knows what else can happen to paper
- rewrite the books / write my own, since I think they are still under copyright

And then record some spoken content, since the regular stress and pronunciation makes this a cinch.

And after that, we will see...

Edit: let me know if there are any typos, as I wrote this in a state of high excitement and haven't bothered to proofread yet.


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