Doing away with the verb "to be"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interesting article here today from the Guardian on what happens to English when you eliminate the verb to be. It's a tiny example of a controlled language, and also brings to mind the philosophy of the Plain English Campaign. Lingua Franca Nova is also a bit similar to this in how it dispenses of needless vocabulary - if a term can be expressed using an existing word then a new word need not be created...unless it would be too long. Scientific vocabulary also needs to be left alone since creating a new simplified vocabulary would be both time-consuming and also needless, since scientific terminology is usually understood only by scientists anyway and thus is almost a foreign language by itself. Coming up with a new scientific terminology would be akin to replacing known city names with entirely new terms. That's one reason why I've never agreed with coming up with terms like the Esperanto Bonaero for Buenos Aires. Sure, it's a clever way of expressing the same meaning in Esperanto but it results in an entirely new name for a city that everybody already knew beforehand.


Steve said...

This seems more like "E-Prime" of General Semantics fame.

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