October 24, 2020

World-Wide Common Language

A world-wide common language would make traveling and business easier than ever, but that's just scratching the surface of the benefits it would have to society.

World-Wide Common Language

English is the dominant language of business. This is in large part due to history, but also due to it's straight-forward use of the Latin alphabet; in the digital age with keyboards, the fewer special-case character combinations the better.

English is not without its faults of course. Many words are repurposed for completely unrelated meanings, without even a spelling change! When I say "coast", do I mean on a bike without pedaling, or do I mean where the water meets the land? Context gets us by most of the time, but that doesn't make it ok. Then there's the spelling. Personally I feel that the fact that spelling bees are hard, means there's a problem. Why does "caught" have to be spelled with so many extra letters when "caut" or even "cot" would be enough? Of course if we went with "cot" the that would mean the type of sleeping furniture instead of having just made a catch, which just further reaffirms my point.

Why do we continue to use a hacked together language with so many obvious flaws? Laziness is one for sure! Lack of a superior alternative (sorry all you other languages) is another. Let's not also forget the massive logistical challenges and cost involved in such a change. Despite the challenges it would obviously face, it's time for a new language to be developed, and for it to be committed to for everyday use world-wide.

Do We Really Need a New Language?

Need vs want is really a tough line here. I think there's a very strong case for us to just stick with what we've got; avoid the pains and headaches with trying to force something new upon everyone, and just deal with the annoyances we're already used to. Sure we could stay the course, but let's consider the opportunities we as a race could realize with a world-wide common language.

  • Fewer barriers between cultures
  • Fewer risks and challenges to working, living, or traveling in other countries
  • Improved education
  • No more mispronunciation of names
  • No need for phonetic alphabets
  • No more dangerous confusion when hearing 'Go' when someone said 'No'.

Imagine being able to communicate with anyone anywhere, no matter where they're from or what they do. Imagine being able to read news from any country, and being able to relate and react. Removing barriers to friendship and cooperation should always be something we strive for.

Imagine if the world was your oyster and you could go anywhere you wanted. Imagine there no longer is there a concern of learning a local language, or sticking only with the most tourist-friendly areas. Not only would this be the most massive boon to world-wide tourism ever, but it would also have enormous benefits for business. No more translators that only the large companies can afford; now any business of any size has the potential to go multi-national.

Educational materials, services, and resources will be able to expand beyond recognition. Different ideas from different cultures and countries will be more easily shared and learned from. Need a different set of tools to suit your learning style or needs, no problem as now there are thousands around the world just like you.

Additionally on the education front the new language would do away with all the quirks and rule-breaking the current languages employ. A simpler predictable language will be considerably easier to learn for children and adults alike, and allow all to spend more time learning other subjects as opposed to spelling; just sound out the word, and you've got the spelling right every time. That's how a language should be done.

What Do You Mean By New?

Ok I think it's fair to say that a totally 'new' language is out of the question; adoption of the language needs to be easy and cost effective in order to be viewed as an desirable alternative. A new language therefore should be based as much as possible on an existing language. This common root will make learning the language easier for new speakers, and will lower the barrier to entry from a technology perspective.

As already mentioned, English is a natural choice to use as a root. This is true due to its wide-spread use, but that's not the only reason. Here's a list of some of the main reasons English has advantages over other languages.

  • Wide-spread use world-wide in business
  • Simplified character-set (no accents)
  • Easily identifiable and discrete characters for each sound in a word
  • Simple verb conjugations like 'ed' and 'ing'

Start with English as a base, then fix it where it falls short. English already uses many words from other languages, so draw upon the world's languages for word alternatives and other improvement inspirations.

The Plan

Obviously one does not just make a new language overnight that everyone everywhere says "ya, let's do that!". First step is to gain support for the idea. Next is to develop a preliminary and incomplete version of the language, to help those who need to see something before they become supporters. Finally with large-scale support, an appropriate committee and team can be put together to shepherd the project through to completion, and for maintenance as new words are needed.

Step one starts with this article. Step two begins with the following list of important goals, the new language would aim to address:

  • No duplicate words with different meanings (ie. to, too, two)
  • All words are spelled the way they sound
  • All verbs are conjugated for past, future, current tense, etc. the same way (ie. runned instead of ran)

If you agree with any of this above, spread the word and help us end spelling mistakes for all time!