Backward or Forward Toward a Global Language?


What's Special About LangX?


Suggested Basic Rules for Lang25 Grammar

by  Jens Wilkinson


Backward or Forward Toward a Global Language?

One way of dividing the various IALs that have been proposed is into a priori and a posteriori languages. A priori languages are made “from scratch,” whereas the a posteriori languages are based on existing human languages. My own position is that an a posteriori approach is best, and I should mention that the most successful IAL so far, Esperanto, fits basically into this category.

Among posteriori languages, though, I think there are two realistic paths toward creating a world language, either as an IAL or as a real, “human language” that would be spoken by humanity as a whole. One is toward the past, and the other toward the future.

What do I mean by “toward the past?” Well, imagine for a moment that sometime in the distant past, all of humanity spoke a single language. You might think back to the story of the Tower of Babel in Judeo-Christian religions, of course, which tells that before a certain time, all of mankind did speak the same language. Among the Greeks as well, Plato postulated that each thing has a unique and perfect name, the original word given by the creator of the universe, and that finding these “true names” would lead to speaking the perfect language.

Personally, I find such ideas fascinating and hope that they are true, but I am also a believer in scientific rationality and consequently am skeptical. Stated in a “skeptical” way, there are three ways of thinking that make sense.

(1) There never was a universal language at all; language was developed by different people at different times, and there is no common origin of languages. In this case, the task of recreating a protolanguage is obviously hopeless.

(2) There was a universal language, and it might be rediscovered.

(3) There was a universal language, but it has long been lost in the mist of time, and it can no longer be recovered. Obviously, the situation here is just as bleak as in (1).

The chances of (2) being true are probably pretty slim, so I think the healthiest position is to keep an open mind, but to proceed from the idea that the language of mankind, if it did in fact exist, is probably unrecoverable.

So that leads to the second option: move forward. What I mean here is to imagine the languages of the world moving closer together, like a soup. In other words, take words from various languages, make a grammar, and come up with a language like Esperanto or Interlinguq or, say, Hawai’i Creole English, that is influenced by a variety of tongues.

The advantage of this second choice is that it is eminently practical. It does not involve working toward some ideal, but merely creating something that is practical and acceptable. It can be whatever we want it to me.

Naturally, creating a new language brings with it some thorny political issues that could be avoided by a return to the past. After all, if the hypothetical proto-language existed, then nobody could complain that it was biased culturally, since ultimately it would be the root of all languages, equally. But if we choose to go forward, we have to deal with such questions of cultural neutrality.

Essentially, the LangX process is, in my view, working toward the second goal. I would like to keep an open mind, of course, and to be honest, if we can find traces of an ancient proto-language, I would be delighted to incorporate it in some ways. But in the meantime, I think the only viable path is forward.



What's Special About LangX?


LangX is intended to be a serious proposal for an international language that can be adopted by humanity as a whole. Of course, we are well aware that this is only a proposal, and will eventually be modified significantly by an international panel, but many of these ideas seem general enough that we believe they will very likely be adopted.

LangX is different from many previous proposals for international languages. First, it does not have the Eurocentric bias that characterizes them. We have started from the premise that an international tongue should make reference to a representative sample of natural languages, not just European-based languages.

Secondly, we have adopted the stance of making reference to Pidgins and Creoles; real-world languages that have been created in the context of contact between speakers of different languages. We believe that this can provide us with important hints in building a language.

In essence, LangX is an interesting experiment, which is neither pure invention nor pure discovery. What we are trying to do is to discover, in advance, what will eventually be invented as people throughout the world come into contact and begin to share languages.



Suggested Basic Rules for Lang25 Grammar


No Conjugation or Declension

Word order rather than conjugation or declension is used. It is an analytical language.


Basic Syntax

The sentence structure is SVO.

I eat rice.


No Linguistic Gender



Negation is expressed by placing a word such as "no" before the verb

Me no go.


Negative Concord

Me no know nobody.


No Syntax Inversion

The position of wh-words is not changed within the sentence.

Me go school - - > You go where?

He eat rice - - > Who eat rice?


Yes/no question

You want go no want go?

He be teacher no be teacher?


Ending Tags

Certain ideas can be expressed by placing ending tags at the of a sentence.


Serial Verbs

Verbs can be concatenated to indicate various ideas.

He been go eat rice.


Tense, modality, aspect

Verbs are preceded by markers for tense (anterior), modality (irreal) and aspect (nonpunctual).



Possession is shown by placing the possessee directly after the possessor.

He steal me money.



Should be an indefinite (a certain, some) and definite (the, that) article.


Specific Examples



A tag can be placed at the end of a sentence to mark emphasis.

I go, definitely!



We go swim, howabout?



You go swim, please!



I might go swim.



I must go swim.



I can go swim



I no can go swim.


Anterior tense

He finish eat.



I more fast he.



I most fast.


Conditional clauses

If [conditional clause], [main clause].



Jens Wilkinson

Lingua Guild, Inc., Musashi-no-Kuni, Japan




Neo Patwa