a worldlang simbolysing picture
Worldlangs are auxiliary international constructed languages ​​using the languages ​​of the entire world as the source. The word "worldlang" is derived from "world" and "conlang", i. e. constructed language.


Language Sona by Kenneth Searight published in 1935 perhaps is the first well known worldlang. Charles Kay Ogden wrote in the preface to the book of Sona:

"The suggestion that Esperanto or Ido, Occidental or Novial, is ‘neutral’ for the East is like saying that if the Chinese or Japanese came to Europe with a form of Cantonese whose endings had been changed, and which was used by no one in China or Japan, though some of its roots were common to Chinese, Japanese, and certain groups in Mongolia, it would for these reasons be ‘neutral’ for Europe, India, Africa and the rest of the East."

Kenneth Searight wrote in the book:

"There is no reason why we should not borrow, assimilate, and methodize many of the radical elements of many languages, such as I.G.: PA (feeding), C.: TA (great), A.: RU (go), J.: TE (hand), T.: SU (water), and so on, provided they fit in to the general scheme."
(I.G. Indo-Germanic; C. Chinese; A. Arabic; J. Japanese; T. Turkish)

Language Loglan was beginning in 1955 by Dr James Cooke Brown. Like Sona, Loglan consists of a limited number of standardised constructed words-radicals. The lexemes are constructed by composing phonems of words from the nine source languages: English, Chinese (Beijing dialect), Hindi, Russian, Spanish, French, Japanese, German.

By some reguard, the history of worldlangs reproduces the general way of interlinguistics: from filosofic and schematic forms to more naturalistic ones. As a rule, in later projects words are not constructed but borrowed from source languages. Language Ceqli was created as an effort to humanize Loglan.

Some methods of constructingspace trash

Let us say, constructing a good worldlang is a very difficult thing. Well, the simplest way is to collect words from different languages of the world according to your own preferences, so you take words which seem sounding good for you. Formally it would be a worldlang. But also in case you construct a language totally a priori, inventing words only from your own mind, the result may be of the same level. A final user sees a text of completely unknown words and haven't an idea, why one should study such a language.

You begin to think, your worldlang should be based on something more serious. You may consider the six working languages of the UN: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic. Being not completely content of the selection of the UN, you add Hindi and something else. Supposing the most people in the world know at least one of this languages, and some words are shared, we hope the final user will find 20% or more of already known words, beginning to study. It may seem a good decision while such a project is only one. In case of several projects based on this method, the projects are too different, and the success of this or that project depends mostly of the force of advertising. Some people will agree with this, but most of them prefer old good Esperanto. From a worldlanger's point of view Esperanto or Interlingua, they are the same language, you know.

Searching for something more advanced, you begin hunting for international words  in the entire world. The point is, that not only Latin, or sometimes Ancient Greek, or nowadays English, produces international words. Also often it can be Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Chinese. Collecting the heritage of old civilisations, you find a few hundred of good internationalisms of Asia. It is an interesting experience by itself. But then you meet the fact the world is more complicated than you expected. Really, if this approach worked, a worldlang based on this method already would be constructed in the XX-th century.

See Pandunia, Lingwa de Planeta.
Toki Pona, started perhaps as a mere joke, became popular. It  uses only 120 words and thus is easy to learn.

A trick

intellectual bulb in a headConstructing a good worldlang is a difficult task indeed. If you have a difficult task, high technology and some tricky thing may help. Talking about high technology the author means scientifical etymology. Many people even don't guess how precise science etymology is. Nowadays linguists know about origin of almost every word of almost every language. Work of thousands professional linguists from the entire world stands behind this knowledge. The amount of working time and intellectual efforts needed to gain this knowledge surely is larger then that needed for creating all operation systems for computers. Still you may say a theoretic knowledge is not a technology. But if we intend to use this knowledge for a practice task, for constructing a language, the theoretical knowledge becomes a technology for us. Besides, it would be very difficult to collect and use all this knowledge without a computer and the global network.

One of discoveries of scientific etymology is the phenomenon of false cognates, which are random similarities between etymologically unrelated words of the same or similar meaning. Unfortunately, many profanes confuse false cognates with false friends. An example of false cognates would be Arabic فرح (farih) and German froh - "happy, glad, merry". Linguists are not glad of such a discovery. The false cognates not only are useless, but they also serve bad for popularisation of the sciense. Although it may be mathematically proved, that false cognates must exist in abundance, the public often don't believe some words are not cognates when they sound similarly and mean the same thing. Sometimes scientific facts do not accord with expectations of ordinary human intuition. Internet is full of strange people trying to reconstruct prehistoric words of the world common pre-language of the distant past, unconsciously dealing with false cognates. The idea is to act vice versa, to consciously use the phenomenon of false cognates, say, to construct an artificial post-language for the future. So, a tricky thing we may use is false cognates.

False cognates may be collected for pure amusement, and this may serve for popularisation of the scientific etymology if well explained. Facebook has a closed group "Linguistic coincidences & curiosities" which is dedicated to this theme. The group was created in 2011 by professional linguists, it has near 10,000 members (in 2018) and every day several new examples of false cognates appear. There is an important difference between collecting false cognates for amusement and for constructing a worldlang. When collecting false cognates for amusement very close phonetic similarity is highly estimated, and similarity based only on two common consonants is criticised as not amusing and is not welcomed. Precise semantic similarity is welcomed, but is not necessary, semantic connection often is only by association, or sometimes direct antonyms are considered. Examples often are about words having a little number of speakers, from reconstructed pre-languages or from dead languages. For constructing a worldlang all this is inverted. The most important thing is that a selected word must involve as many speakers as possible, including its cognates and false cognates in other languages. Semantically words must mean the same thing. Phonetic similarity may be based only on two common consonants, and most often so it is.

Random similarity of unrelated words in different languages, having the same meaning, using for constructing a worldlang, has its own sense and its own rules. Not all false cognate are suitable. Thus a special term for this phenomenon is needed. Let it be named syllexia. So, generally, syllexia is the same thing as false cognates, but with its special feachers needed to create a worldlang. Esperanto, Interlingua and other euroclones are based on the phenomenon known as international words, most of them are of Latin origin. Hundreds of euroclonic projects was created, and all they are similar to each other, because all they are based on the same idea. Syllexia for a worldlang may act in the similar way as international words act for the euroclones. Different wordlang projects constructed using syllexia must be similar to each other like euroclones are similar. This is the main cause to use the idea.Albert Einstein: God does not play dice

In the history of physics Albert Einstein didn't believe in quantum mechanic, saying God doesn't play dice. Random similarities in languages also look like God playing dice. And like Albert Einstein some worldlang experts don't believe this divine game is useful for creating a worldlang. Syllexia in interlinguistics is like quantum mechanic in physics – it is difficult to understand and to imagine how it works, but it must work.

Constructed syllexia of Lojban/Loglan

Artificial languages Lojban and Loglan also are classificated as worldlangs. Lojban uses words specially constructed to have common phonemes with words of its six source languages. Loglan has nine source languages. But words not constructed but taken from existing languages can work in a similar way. In this case the number of source languages needn't be limited. At the time Loglan and Lojban was created the authors could use six or nine dictionaries, but they couldn't search through the all languages. It became possible only in XXI-th century.

april 2018