Re: Interlingua: Universal language?

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun May 07 2000 - 18:26:54 MDT

Amara Graps wrote:

> >From Spike Jones ( Sat, 29 Apr 2000
> >With the speech recognition and synthesis software in its *current* state,
> > which is not perfect but pretty good, it is clear that there is no longer
> > any need for people to learn languages. Rather they will buy them.
> However, this idea misses something that I think is an important aspect
> to learning a language: learning the culture. Embedded in the language are the
> thousands of nuances that describe a culture of people.

After thinking this over, I can do better than the previous post
in which I suggested every language could derive a subset of
itself which conforms to a few universal rules. Part of that still
would apply, but consider Orwell's Newspeak.

Of course Orwell was using the concept to make a profound
point: Newspeak was invented to prevent thought-crime, since
there would eventually be no words to describe illegal memes.

Allow me to suggest an Orwellian-inspired international
language, and temporarily refer to it as spikespeak. I
acknowlege that it would be useless for understanding or
even expressing cultural values, poetry, songs, seducing
one's lover, etc, but it would be completely translatable.

The structure of spikespeak would be such that all words
would map down to and back up from a universal interface.
Using Orwell's example of the word "good". What need is
there for the word "bad" when -good or ungood is the same.
Orwell suggests plusgood and doubleplusgood etc, to
express excellent, splendid, etc.

In spikespeak, all adjectives with shades of meaning "good"
would be mapped onto a scale between 0 and 31. So
good:16 is more good than good:12, for instance. Excellent
becomes good:20, ultimate good = good:31. Of course
all the bad stuff is simply negative, so "terrible" might become

Then we list all our adjectives in order and assign them
numbers. These translate down into a spikespeak interface
which then can be translated back up into any language where
others are playing the game too.

As before, spikespeak itself is not the language, its the interface
between languages. People would not use it or write in it,
certainly not for interpersonal relationships, for it would not
work at all:

Person female:31, you are good:31. Eyes belonging to person
you are appearance:good:31. Hair belonging to person you is

Might translate up into My lady, your eyes are beautiful and
your hair is like silk....

And so on.

> I think that it is an impossible task,

Or a very difficult one but possible.

> and furthermore, why would one want to? (I wouldn't)

I want to. {8-] spike

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