Dictionary.com

One, easy language for the whole world? Meet the man who tried to make it happen.

If humankind can create airplanes, cellphones, and penicilin, surely we can tackle the hassle of language. Why doesn’t some brainiac come up with the perfect language that everyone can learn?

Before you get all riled up, be assured this question is rhetorical. To start, this is not a new idea.

In the late nineteenth century, a Polish oculist and linguist named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof set out to create a universal language that would promote peace and harmony among all the world’s inhabitants.

Dr. Zamenhof published guides to his invented language under the pseudonym “Doktoro Esperanto,” which means “Dr. Hopeful.” The name of the language, Esperanto, was derived from this pseudonym. (Esperance is an archaic word for “hope.”)

Dr. Zamenhof intended for Esperanto to be easy to learn and speak. The words are spelled as they are pronounced, and the grammar is simple. But the language is based on word roots in major European languages, and for non Indo-European speakers, the mechanics of the language are quite unfamiliar.

While Esperanto failed to gain the international acceptance that Dr. Zamenhof had hoped for, the artificial language has been taught throughout the world. Some estimates claim that there are up to several million Esperantists, or Esperanto speakers.

Curious? Here are a few words in Esperanto to get you started:

• Hello – Saluton

• Yes – Jes

• No – Ne

• Peace – Pacon

On a sillier note, what’s the deal with Pig Latin? Why isn’t it called “Sheep Latin,” and how does it work exactly? Here’s our answer.

Let us know if you think the notion of a universal language is a good idea, or even possible, below.

PULASKI CLUB AIDS AFRICA; HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RAISE ALMOST $3,000 FOR SCHOOL.(Local)

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) April 3, 2007 Byline: Debra J. Groom Staff writer Children abducted in the middle of the night and forced to become soldiers.

Schools burned down.

People displaced from their homes for years.

The 18-year civil war in Northern Uganda has ravaged the lives of children and adults in the African country. Students at Pulaski High School learned about this through the school’s Global Awareness Club.

And the more they learned, the more they wanted to help.

The club, a fledgling group at the school, is raising money to help rebuild and buy supplies for Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Buildings at the school have been burned down, and supplies have disappeared.

Monique Frey, the club’s co-adviser and a 10th-grade English teacher, got the club going early this school year when she was studying the genocide in Darfur, in Sudan. go to website pulaski high school

She met with students to talk about what’s happening in Darfur, and soon they started researching and talking about other problems in Africa.

Then they learned about an organization called Invisible Children. They got a copy of the movie of the same name. What they learned moved them to take action.

“Thousands and thousands of people are in these displacement camps in horrible conditions,” Frey said. “And children are abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to become children soldiers.” The film documents the civil war in Northern Uganda and how children are abducted and brainwashed to become soldiers. It shows some of these children leaving their homes at nightfall and walking for hours to sleep in cities to keep from being abducted.

The movie and the cause it portrays have touched so many students that the Global Awareness Club is one of the fastest-growing groups at the school.

“I watched the movie and it made me want to do so much more,” said senior and club member Dana Ortolano. “It made me realize how much I can do here.” “I came to this club and got really passionate about this,” said club member and high school junior Celia Douglass. “I couldn’t be sitting not doing anything while all of this was going on.” The club, which now boasts 50-plus members, became part of the Schools 4 Schools event sponsored by Invisible Children. Nearly 500 schools across the United States are raising money to help rebuild schools in Northern Uganda. pulaskihighschool.net pulaski high school

“The children there value education, but it’s not easy to get,” said Douglass. “It made me appreciate things a lot more.” “When I saw the movie, it was really moving to see what these people have to go through daily,” said Ortolano.

“I knew I had to join this club and spread the awareness,” said club member and school sophomore Kelly Lambie.

So far, the club has raised nearly $3,000 with two screenings of the movie “Invisible Children,” a Winter Olympics at the school, a talk by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and a breakfast with the Easter Bunny. A festival with bands, speakers and vendors is set for May 6 as a wrap-up event.

Frey and club co-adviser Jill Truax, a high school reading teacher, said the club also is educating people throughout Pulaski about the situation in Northern Uganda.

“The education piece is the most important,” Truax said.

Anyone who would like to donate to the club’s effort should call the high school at 298-5103. Debra J. Groom can be reached at dgroom@syracuse.com or 592-7140.

CAPTION(S):

PHOTO Gary Walts/Staff photographer ROBERT PHILIPS,5, of Pulaski, poses with the Easter Bunny at Pulaski High School last week. The Easter Bunny event is part of several local fundraising efforts to aid Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School in war-torn Northern Uganda. Buildings at the school have been burned down, and supplies have disappeared.

MAP: Helping Uganda. The Post-Standard.

113 Comments

  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 5:50 am

    A language is not going to “promote peace and harmony.” That’s just silly. We live in a fallen world; therefore, we will never be able to get along perfectly, despite our best efforts. It sure would be great if we all spoke the same language (no more embarrassing language faux pas! :) ), but we wouldn’t be any different than we are today.

    Reply
  2. les offres d emploi au maroc -  July 7, 2013 - 7:16 am

    It’s in point of fact a great and useful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Brian Kennedy -  May 17, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    I support a culture-neutral mandated auxillary language, here’s why:

    1. Esperanto was invented before american global imperialism. Before esperanto could take hold, America became a superpower and the english language gained popularity.
    2. The globalism of the internet, as well as previous inventions, ie. telephone, negates the argument that languages are destined for eternal constant change by isolation. In random, colloquial spurts sure, but not in general.
    3. if you say that english is already the international language, then your argument that it would be too hard to learn is moot, or complaining that esperanto is difficult for asian and arabic roots, standard english is by far harder than any comprehensive “synthetic” root language.
    4. the idea behind a global AUXILLARY language to promote peace and true communication is exactly why simply using an accepted native language (english) is counterproductive and biased, regardless of current popularity.
    5. I believe in enforcing the education of a global auxillary language, but not in enforcing its use. If you want to experience the cultural flavor of another language you should be able to, as esperanto will not eradicate culture if it is auxillary.
    6. Esperanto is based off of the Indo-European family of languages, which is by far the most populous family of native speakers today, almost half of the world. And if even China has schools mandating it, that compounds the applicability even further.
    7. The problem with body language and facial expressions as a universal language is that they are largely unconscious, and the lack of syntax leaves gaps in comprehension(same with ASL).
    8. It is an established anthropological observation that unfamiliarity breeds fear and distrust.

    Reply
  4. Paul Blart -  May 8, 2013 - 11:35 am

    ok we don’t want to know your story, we just want real answer

    Reply
  5. lol -  October 30, 2012 - 2:40 am

    I think it would be good

    Reply
  6. kyle c wilson -  June 28, 2012 - 2:24 am

    oops forgot to say the new language needed isn’t to replace all just so all can communicate when need be and it be easy, it would definately be a whole lot simpler days i beleive if we all new one new and easy language it could fix heives of problemos lol i know it can so i will create soon just gotta make it simple as possible

    Reply
  7. kyle c wilson -  June 28, 2012 - 2:21 am

    yes a very simple new language should be created, and in every school and have to learn it to graduate and pass all around the world but not literlly forced, we need the different ones for sure, but it will never create peace, not with every1 having so many different religions, i mean who kills themself to kill others to kill others cause they beleive they go get rivers of honey and 72 virgins? i mean honestly what kinda heaven would that be, sex sex and more sex and that’s it, who wants that honestly not me, i like sex but not to that extent, would a god who created earth and humans perfect with out anything wrong not one thing, earth and man so perfect, i mean we weren’t made up over a weekend, think of the stuff we have accomplished cause we are so smart, i don’t beleive for one second a god that good would just give us sex sounds kinda lame and boring if you ask me? plz people email me with ur thoughts of what i have said here at kylwilson underscore 21 at yahoo.com plz and thanx

    Reply
  8. Helga -  March 23, 2012 - 9:23 am

    Esperanto is a disharmonious and useless substitute. It won’t ever replace any of the human languages.

    Reply
  9. geo -  November 3, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    Many people are posting here that don’t understand the very idea of Esperanto at all – IT IS NOT TO BE EVERYONE’S LANGUAGE – it will only help you to communicate with foreigners. So Esperanto is not going to replace any actual language in use. English is very difficult – it takes many long years to master for foreigners. Esperanto is much easer so more people could learn it and actually use it at much higher level than they do in English. Esperanto is fair, cost effective, easy, yet very powerful, less ambigous than English. The only problem is – the Americans do not speak it, so the whole world must learn English, the only language the Americans can understand…

    Reply
  10. hira -  January 26, 2011 - 5:15 am

    literacy has increased in pakistan due to the emphases on education. in 1991 it was about 36 per cent, and in 2007, it was nearly 50 per cent though this varies from region to region.are you hungry.

    Reply
  11. Marco A. Cruz -  December 26, 2010 - 8:46 pm

    I would like to point out that Esperanto is intended as INTERNATIONAL AUXILIARY language rather than UNIVERSAL language. It would be easier to learn it before you travel to another country. It has been suggested as the working language for European Parliament and even for UN.

    Reply
  12. demon_of _knowledge -  December 18, 2010 - 1:16 pm

    the idea of angel of knowledge sucks!!! body language is a corifian dentorting sambulin form of language. you said that it’s a pretty universal as are facial expressions? what an UDO idea! it’s such a bogrit igit igit!! your not really an angel of knowledge the real thing is your just a croshit of clumpage.

    Reply
  13. angel_of_knowledge -  December 15, 2010 - 10:53 am

    I think it’s a good idea but I don’t know if it’s possible and I have to agree with the body language comment it’s pretty universal as are facial expressions.

    Reply
  14. grannybabe56 -  December 14, 2010 - 6:25 am

    I dated a man for awhile who was learning Esperanto, and insisted that it was the “new” language of the world. He was also going to move to China. So far, neither event has transpired…

    Reply
  15. louis paiz -  December 14, 2010 - 5:47 am

    when travel one can have no problem if one speak english as i mention before in europe for example from one corner to the other no problem everybody speacks english could be france ,holand sweserland italia on the other contries such as grecia ishtanbul croeasia turkey or the islands or mexico even latinoamerica speacks english. i think english is the language of peace and union between human race. for me learning esperanto is a plus because for the samples that dictionary.com have had give it seems that esperanto has the same latin roots and prefixes and suffixes are the same or in one word the endings such as anto into dado dato uton jes con son ne nu is nothing from other world to be learled. thank you.

    Reply
  16. deejaymacdee -  December 14, 2010 - 2:48 am

    Surely someone should point out…

    PENICILLIN (not Penicilin!)

    :)

    Reply
  17. amitzoomin -  December 13, 2010 - 9:14 pm

    i think such an easy language already existed – BODY LANGUAGE

    e.g. i watch movies in different languages french, english, hindi, punjabi, tamil, japanese – many a times without sub-titles….crazyyy, isnt it? what keeps me fixed n grasping are certainly not the words!

    also, how about – HYPERTEXT n all……these re hell easy compared to any language’s grammar/vocab/punctuations…..n these r universal.As for emotions…..emoticons are substituting many a long n useless words!

    Reply
  18. Barred-Coded-ed -  December 13, 2010 - 10:01 am

    @Shelly…i actually grew up speaking 3 different languages…i just meant that english is diverse in its foundation….with latin and german etc. contributing to it….and if english could have so many dialects,and according to you still be hard to learn then what would happen to a “second” lanugage? i mean when i go to Venezuela my spanish gets me in trouble cause words mean different things even though it is the same lanugage…dont get me wrong i think its fun to learn what i think is chair could mean bean…i dont think lanugage has anythin to do with peace…i mean every body knows more how to say f*** you… more then to say thank you…thats just my humble opinion:>

    Reply
  19. MRCAB -  December 13, 2010 - 2:25 am

    It seems that English is becoming the world’s second language. Becoming what Esperanto was intended to be. That said, if English is your only language then you should probably learn another.

    Reply
  20. Włodzimierz Sobkowiak -  December 12, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    20 years ago Marian Susskin published his book “Paninterlingwa. Powszechny język międzynarodowy” [Paninterlingua, or universal international language] where he proposed that the only language destined to fulfil this function is … Polish. See my review (in Polish) here: http://ifa.amu.edu.pl/~swlodek/SUSSKIN.htm.

    Reply
  21. Confused -  December 12, 2010 - 11:26 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t mathematics already a universal language? Regardless of where in the world you are, mathematical equations are solved the same way.

    Reply
  22. denteritivity -  December 12, 2010 - 6:24 am

    peoples, peoples,… the universal-world language is MUSIC!!!

    Reply
  23. Diane D. -  December 12, 2010 - 4:52 am

    English is one of the most difficult languages to learn as an adult partly BECAUSE it has absorbed words and expressions from so many sources: its spelling, pronunciation, conjugation, etc., are VERY irregular.
    I wish we COULD make and adopt a fully regular and phonetic language, but it’s true: it wouldn’t stay that way once in general use. Even with the world becoming more globalized, one still finds regional differences arising and persisting.
    One interesting “thinking point” is how the complex and numerous characters of written Chinese are LEGIBLE by any educated Chinese person, but pronounced in widely varying ways depending on regional dialect — so any TRANSLITERATION is dialect-specific!

    Reply
  24. Tanya -  December 11, 2010 - 11:46 pm

    Yes. People did it before: Esperanto
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search
    This article is about the language. For other uses, see Esperanto (disambiguation).
    Esperanto
    Flag of Esperanto
    Created by L. L. Zamenhof

    Date founded 1887
    Setting and usage International auxiliary language
    Total speakers Native: 200 to 1000 (1996, est.); others: 10,000 to 2,000,000
    Category (purpose) constructed language
    International auxiliary language
    Esperanto (help·info) is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (Dr. Hopeful), the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.

    Esperanto is the only constructed language with native speakers, that is, people who learned it from their parents as one of their native languages. Estimates range from 10,000 to two million additional active or fluent speakers. Usage is particularly high in eastern and northern Europe, eastern Asia, Brazil, and Iran. A World Congress of Esperanto was organized in France in 1905, and since then has been held in various countries every year apart from during the world wars. Although no country has adopted it officially, Esperanto was recommended by the French Academy of Sciences in 1921, was recognized by UNESCO in 1954, and is currently the language of instruction of a university in San Marino. There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a superior foundation for learning languages in general, and some primary schools teach it as preparation for learning other foreign languages.

    Reply
  25. Eden -  December 11, 2010 - 5:16 pm

    Why can’t we have a universal sign language instead, having common words instead of actual letters? I am aware that sign language vries in different countries, as in even the USA’s version is different to ours, but I don’t see how it can’t work…? Less of a headache, and people could get around being able to get through the day.
    We do have a similar sign language; when you travel to a foreign counry an want to use the phone, we revert back to using the old devil horns hand trick!

    Reply
  26. flower23 -  December 11, 2010 - 4:36 pm

    some people are trying to learn how to speak the universal language that all are aware that is English..this new language is interesting but this will create confusion to others..i think ill agree with SMOOTHIUS ^_^..let us just accept each other let us be contented of what we have and of what we are..i mean change is good!! and i don’t have anything against this article but let things be of what they are right now..

    Reply
  27. Perlie -  December 11, 2010 - 4:27 pm

    Zamenhof was one of a number of people who thought that self-identity was influenced by language. He imagined creating a brotherhood of man united by a single language — like the world was before the Tower of Babel.
    Sadly, his children died in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. One of them had become a follower of Bahai — which has a temple in Haifa, Israel.

    Reply
  28. lauren -  December 11, 2010 - 2:41 pm

    maybe one day all our languages will change to one language, or not

    Reply
  29. D -  December 11, 2010 - 2:14 pm

    I looked at the website for learning the language and all it is is the basics of the romance languages. What is the big deal. All of it is spoken in masculine form at first. If using adjectives, it is in famine form. It is still a combination of Spanish, French and other romance languages. It is no wonder it has not been translated in oriental languages since they are nothing like Spanish and neither is Arabic.

    Reply
  30. D -  December 11, 2010 - 2:00 pm

    If you believe in the bible, it states that everyone spoke the same language until the tower of babel incident where the “languages were confused” and everyone went off with those whom spoke the same language. This was akin to how we break up large businesses so they cannot rule the market. The different languages were used to divide the human race. Look how well it worked.

    Reply
  31. Ruby Reeve -  December 11, 2010 - 1:56 pm

    Marcus..great comment. That is what came to mind before I read your comment. The people who are most likely interested in communicating with other people worldwide would all learn the same language while retaining their own native language and its own evolution.

    Reply
  32. pretzel love -  December 11, 2010 - 1:30 pm

    I think that a cross between Spanish, Arabic, and polish should be universally accepted as one languege.

    Reply
  33. Noir Schist -  December 11, 2010 - 1:18 pm

    Just a note – to this day, I haven’t ever heard of penicillin ever being ‘created’. I thought Alexander Fleming discovered it, being produced by the fungus ‘Penicillium notatum’.

    On the topic at hand, I’d admit that I’m glad Esperanto didn’t become that widespread. We already have a language that the international community has more or less accepted as the universal language – English. Linguistics is an interesting topic for me, and I’d of course love to delve further into Esperanto, but the idea of people of different ethnicities communicating with each other through some language other than English sort of horrifies me. Yeah, that’s how much I’ve come to love English even though it isn’t even my mother tongue.

    Anyways, I think it more interesting that languages developed on their own, developing their own complexities and simplicities as opposed to a ‘simple’ synthetic language. After all, it’s what makes each language unique: that it evolved beautifully along with us who speak them, not just been some made-up words bundled together as a ‘language of peace’.

    Reply
  34. Avrom -  December 11, 2010 - 1:17 pm

    Why not Mandarin written in pinyin? First off, several hundred million people already speak it. Second, once you get past the tonals, and there’s only four of them plus the short unaccented one, the grammar is very simple, especially if it were simplified to accept ‘ge’ as a single unified measure word. I picked it up in about four months of total immersion. If you use the simplified character set used in the PRC, then you can easily learn a couple thousand characters, if you want to go the non-pinyin route. A little putonghua is good to learn, considering in a few years as the US economy continues in its death spiral, the PRC will be the largest economy in the world, advancing from its present position as #2!

    Reply
  35. Raili -  December 11, 2010 - 12:40 pm

    I genuinely do not see any daily motivation behind speaking Esperanto. It does makes sense in a bigger context. However, I would like to point out that the whole universal language idea is meant to fail already in advance because it would not express our diversities an cultural differences. Being able to speak several languages indicates the difference in norms and standards how to behave in different cultural contexts. With the language, we indirectly reveal our way of thinking, whether we are more open or reserved. It would be almost impossible to unify people with only one language. By our cultural and linguistic diversities we are able to discover things about people otherwise hidden.

    Reply
  36. TJ -  December 11, 2010 - 12:24 pm

    To Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry,

    Yes, but perhaps exasperating pedanticism coalesces the fortunate overseers to ensure disjuncture of the provincial castes for their own felicitous existential purpose.

    Reply
  37. Qasim Anwar -  December 11, 2010 - 11:39 am

    Body language is universal and the only thing that could be turned into words by a machine… I think…

    Reply
  38. Fanetik -  December 11, 2010 - 11:37 am

    Synthetic languages derive from a single person’s or a small group’s preferences. Natural languages have a much wider base. As natural languages go, English, especially American English, which pronounces all R’s, is very simple. Structurally it is very simple, for having been stripped of its complexity during a couple of centuries when the ruling class spoke (Norman) French. English has only two forms per tense in regular verbs: I, you, we, they SPEAK; he/she/it SPEAKS. Almost all plurals are regular (and we can regularize the rest, to, indeed, FOOTS and GOOSES). The problem is the spelling, which is easily fixed. Dozens of proposals have been made; my own is the best I have seen, or I wouldn’t promote it (http://fanetik.tripod.com). Various commenters hugely exaggerate the supposed division between English-speaking countries and the supposed mutual incomprehensibility of regional accents within individual countries. The reality is that every native speaker anywhere understands every national standard of the major English-speaking countries worldwide, as is evidenced plainly by the many movies with British/Australian/New Zealand/Canadian accents all mixed together, or with British accents but seen by millions of Americans. It is NOT POSSIBLE in an era of intimate and very frequent communication by speech for English to divide into separate languages. Quite the contrary, standard English (American) is softening all dialects in the direction of a worldwide standard. Over a billion people speak English with greater or lesser fluency as an auxiliary language, and a billion more are learning it at any given time. Esperanto, Magister, and other artificial languages are utterly unnecessary. All we need to do is eliminate the irregularities in English, phoneticize the spelling, and replace the less-common homonyms with words from other languages to make world English even less objectionable: e.g., leave THERE but change THEIR to SON (French, but phoneticized, “soen”), leave PLEAS but change PLEASE to GRACIAS (Spanish), leave RIGHT but change WRITE (irregular) to its equivalent in Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Zulu, whatever (and make it regular), etc.).

    Reply
  39. chenmahi -  December 11, 2010 - 10:49 am

    There is already a universal language…. MUSIC

    Reply
  40. Susan -  December 11, 2010 - 10:46 am

    RE: David on December 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Unless a correction was made to the text before I found this page, the only reference to Dr. Zamenhof being an “occultist” is in your entry. The article refers to him as an “oculist”, which is an ophthalmologist or optometrist (i.e., “eye doctor”).

    Reply
  41. Lupita -  December 11, 2010 - 10:41 am

    JSilva got it! You can’t get better then a computer now and days for a single language. As a learning linguist emphasisis in ASL though, I sometimes think that ASL (American Sing Language) would be a good cantidate for a universal language, even though IT TOTALLY HASNT BEEN since it came to America…

    Reply
  42. deekay -  December 11, 2010 - 10:39 am

    For playful purposes invented languages like Pig Latin may be good. But in actual practice, people tend to shorten words and expressions. So such artificial languages could only have the value of curios. Language, as we go on using it tends become crisper and more pointed. Long-winding words and ways of speech might probably disappear over time.

    Reply
  43. deekay -  December 11, 2010 - 10:35 am

    For playful purposes invented languages like Latin may be good. But in actual practice, people tend to shorten words and expressions. So such artificial languages could only have the value of curios. Language, as we go on using it tends become crisper and more pointed. Long-winding words and ways of speech might probably disappear over time.

    Reply
  44. Magistra -  December 11, 2010 - 10:28 am

    Alyssa is 100% correct in her comment! Case in point: My “name” above depicts the “flexibility and modernization” of Latin. There were no “official women teachers” in ancient Rome [the women taught their daughters at home how to be a proper Roman matron]. The male slaves [Greek for most part] taught the boys in the schola. The teacher was a magister [masculine]. Forward 19 centuries when women became the predominant classroom teacher; ergo, magistra [feminine ending "-a"] was contrived by those of us who taught Latin. Latin is NOT DEAD!!! It lives and breathes and changes to meet our needs today while being encased in the Grammar of the scholars and monks who preserved it, thus making it easy to learn and simple to flex into modern “forms” when needed.
    Instances of the use of Latin as the ONLY language in common between two people, for instance, occurred in concentration camps during WWII. There are many other instances and experiences! Of course, Latin was REQUIRED in those days.

    Reply
  45. Olive -  December 11, 2010 - 10:22 am

    I don’t think having a universal language would work out that well because there are already hundreds of different languages, and some people in poverty may not be able to learn this new language because maybe they have to pay to learn the language, but don’t have the money. Some people who do not want to learn a new language might break into a riot. There would be many arguments about this throughout the world.
    I think having a universal language would be great, but even I wouldn’t want to spend months to learn it. I think we should stay with our normal everyday languages.

    Reply
  46. Don Paco -  December 11, 2010 - 10:21 am

    There is no evidence that a universal language would have the potential to bring “peace and harmony” to the world. Evidence to the contrary: The strife in Northern Ireland between people who share the same language (English) and have different religions (Anglican and Catholicism). Or conversely, the strife in Belgium between people who share the same religion (Catholicism) and speak different languages (French and Dutch).

    So why don’t you all shut up and go back to sleep?

    Reply
  47. Dr. Leonard Tiniakos -  December 11, 2010 - 9:56 am

    Every language should be regarded as the result of complex evolutionary processes and interactions between society, ecosystem, climate, etc. Consequently, imposing an artificial language, has little chances for success, even if the “experiment” runs in nations and countries with languages of indo-european -greek – latin origins. Historical experience shows that, in any case, the language of the economically – military – culturally – socially prevailing “player” in the scenery of our world tends to be adopted from all partners, simply for pure practical reasons.Let us remember the historical evolution of the Greek, Latin, Spanish , Portuguese and English languages. Take also into account the gradual deviation of American English from the original continental English!

    Reply
  48. fsdogfs -  December 11, 2010 - 9:42 am

    umm isnt english technically a universal language…. ???? like its what we use to nagotiate and shat …. thats why were all using english to comment

    Reply
  49. Trinity -  December 11, 2010 - 9:02 am

    Even if it did spread into Asia and Europe, for example, the language would change so rapidly that in a year or two we would have to invent a whole other language to replace that one, which I think would be a bit counterproductive.

    Reply
  50. bobby g -  December 11, 2010 - 8:55 am

    blade runner came out almost 30 years ago, not a decade ago.

    Reply
  51. Cindy -  December 11, 2010 - 8:35 am

    I think world peace is exactly what we need. Having a universal language would create something that we could all have in common. I definately agree with this idea 100%. With this being, it would set aside differences. Also, possibly end the war between countries or any conflict, by coming together and sharing ideas and cultures and become one.

    Reply
  52. The Midnight Kat -  December 11, 2010 - 8:31 am

    I think language is probably the number one thing that keeps us separated from each other. I feel that if we could all understand each other with a bit of ease we would be much more amicable towards each other. However, language is a big part of culture and self identity and getting people to abandon that would be nearly impossible. ALSO, if this were to theoretically happen, the fact that many peoples are isolated from one another would end up causing the languages to change of time to the point of not being recognizable. Interesting discussion.

    Reply
  53. ...g... -  December 11, 2010 - 8:19 am

    what? no politics in the comments? how refreshing!
    my southern American speak is the most beautiful in this world..i’m sure others feel the same about their language…
    merry Christmas
    …g…

    Reply
  54. Marcus I -  December 11, 2010 - 7:42 am

    I think most people are missing the point. Esperanto would be a second language. People would keep their native language, and use Esperanto for negotiations and other interactions with other cultures.

    Reply
  55. Lizeee -  December 11, 2010 - 7:13 am

    @smoothius Indeed, we were brought up to be an individuals, mother would say “wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same.” We can still communicate if we desire, remember/try being in a foreign country, lost, and with a smile on one’s face, that works fine

    Reply
  56. cgracey -  December 11, 2010 - 6:56 am

    The guy who discovered the jet stream was a Japanese man in the 1930s. He published his findings in Esperanto believing that, as a “global language”, his research would be more widely read and understood. As it was, no one read the findings as they were in Esperanto. When war broke out, the Western powers were therefore unaware of the existence of the jet stream, resulting in the failure of high-altitude bombing campaigns as the planes, which had been flying in the jet stream, were actually not in the position the pilots imagined them to be.
    So you see, a global language may not lead to world peace but, in this case, it limited casualties…for a while anyway.

    Reply
  57. Bonnie -  December 11, 2010 - 6:31 am

    I knew several people who spoke Esperanto, strangely though, they didn’t speak it with other. They spoke their mother tongue(Hungarian. Reading all the comments, I can only say that language lives: it grows and changes. Think about this thought also: in English, we have two separate languages, one written and one spoken.

    Reply
  58. jack -  December 11, 2010 - 6:26 am

    Having a universal language would not bring Peace and Harmony. All the hate and turmoil in the world is caused by sin, which will only be solved when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ returns and rules in Jerusalem

    Reply
  59. me -  December 11, 2010 - 5:46 am

    Well, I think the main problem is that everyone wants the language to be most similar to theirs.

    Reply
  60. Mary Stevermer -  December 11, 2010 - 4:58 am

    texting may provide phonetic shortcuts that may become mainstream.

    I would like to see this happen. It would be so much easier to learn English if it were consistently phonetic. There is no reason formal English cannot be preserved.

    Reply
  61. Amber Rajput -  December 11, 2010 - 3:44 am

    yea i agree with the idea of creating a universal language but i also agree that all people donot know all languages and that the universal language must have a touch of all the languages ao it will be easy for all to understand it ……..this creates a big problem and a thing to be very careful about……

    Reply
  62. Kathy -  December 11, 2010 - 3:37 am

    A movie was actually made in Esperanto – starring William Shatner, which belongs on every B movie buff’s list. I’m sorry that I can’t remember the name, but friends of mine will never let me forget the evening that I made them watch it (well, part of it, anyway)

    Reply
  63. Alan Turner -  December 11, 2010 - 1:02 am

    Considering that English is the most widely spoken language in the world and the two main countries that speak it i.e. Britain and America are ‘divided by a common language’ what hope is there for the whole world to learn a totally false language?

    Reply
  64. leena -  December 11, 2010 - 12:10 am

    What is not possible?It is a good idea where evryone can communicate in the same language and no one will be looked down upon.But not at the cost of the all ready existing languages .It is beautiful to know different languages but it is an instrument of division also

    Reply
  65. Russ -  December 10, 2010 - 11:22 pm

    Some of the commenters are confused; Esperanto was never intended to replace or eliminate other languages, but simply to be an additional language that people of various national languages can learn so that they can communicate easily.

    Esperanto exists and works; I use Esperanto every day, face to face and by email with people of other national languages than my own. I read Esperanto books and magazines written by people from many different countries. And Esperanto is much easier to learn than Latin or current national languages, even if you live in the country immersed in the national language (speaking from direct experience).

    http://lernu.net is a good website for learning Esperanto.

    PS: erdos wrote: “No synthetic language will ever become universal unless imposed by force.”

    That is probably true, but it has nothing to do with “synthetic”; rather, I would say more generally that:
    “No language (of any type) will ever become universal unless imposed by force.”

    Latin became widespread because it was the language of the Roman Empire. French became widespread with French imperialism. English became widespread when Britain and the US became dominant.

    Anyway, what does “synthetic” mean? Esperanto feels far more natural to me than national languages. When we learn a language, we naturally generalize and find it easier when things are consistent and understandable, not full of strange exceptions: 1 hand, 2 hands; 1 arm, 2 arms; 1 leg, 2 legs; 1 foot, 2 foots – no, wrong! Ha! Why is “foots” wrong? Just because! There’s no good reason. You just have to say “feet” instead of “foots”. How is that natural or good? It’s more like an arbitrary dictator changing the rules and making up new rules to frustrate you whenever you think you are starting to understand how things work. :)

    Reply
  66. Emily -  December 10, 2010 - 11:01 pm

    Weelll i would nt agre with it cuz imma pont de calvus L0L!!!hahahaha

    Reply
  67. wilhalen -  December 10, 2010 - 9:38 pm

    amikoj – friends (j indicates plural)

    Reply
  68. Brady skinner -  December 10, 2010 - 9:03 pm

    JSilva I agree with… It is the computer. Numbers and numbering system will start to evolve into describing words and sentences. They already do it in the supermarkets with UPC.. I can go to Any country in the world and read the UPC from any coca~cola product and it will mean the same no matter where.. Thanks JSilva… I am happy you said “computer”

    Reply
  69. Eddy -  December 10, 2010 - 8:49 pm

    FACTS ABOUT ESPERANTO

    Some people like to say that Esperanto has failed. However, they do not consider these facts:
    - A language spoken by a single person more than a hundred years ago, is now spoken in more than a hundred countries by millions of people. That’s a unique linguistic phenomenon in our history.
    - Esperanto is spoken in practically all countries by millions of people, that undoubtedly makes it an international language.
    - There are more than 6 thousand languages in the world. Some statistics show that Esperanto ranks among the 100 most spoken languages.
    - The Wikipedia in Esperanto has about 140 thousand articles. In number, that’s bigger than the Encyclopedia Britannica, which has 120 thousand articles.
    - The biggest Esperanto library in the world (Hector Hodler Library in Netherlands) has more than 30,000 books.
    - Esperanto is used in practically all means other languages are used: literature, science, music, radio, TV, videos, international congresses (which gather from hundreds to thousands of people), cultural exchanges, etc. It is even a family language with hundreds of native speakers.
    - It is taught in many schools and universities around the world. (I myself teach Esperanto at a University. I’ve got now 60 students and have taught many more.)
    - The United Nations has already encouraged the governments to promote Esperanto.
    - In Brazil, for instance, the Senators have just approved a law to put Esperanto in all public schools. The law is now to be voted in the House of Representatives.
    - The official page of the Chinese government has an Esperanto version. Esperanto is taught in many schools in China and the government distributes an Esperanto magazine worldwide.
    - The World Congress of Esperanto has happened for more than a century every single year (except during the world wars). It gathers an average of 2000 people.
    - One of the biggest websites for learning Esperanto, lernu.net, has around 100 thousand profiles of people from all over the world.
    - Esperanto is the official language of some institutions, such as The International Academy of Sciences San Marino which is an academic institution which awards bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD in many areas. It is constituted by 250 scientists and the knowledge of Esperanto is a condition to be a member of the Academy.
    - Besides all that, one of the biggest advantages of those who speak Esperanto is to have access to an international service of free accommodations: the Pasporta Servo (Passport Service). The service publishes a yearly booklet with almost 2 thousand addresses of free lodgings in almost all countries. Those are esperantists who are willing to welcome other esperantists in their homes, show them their values, customs, culture and show their countries to the visitors. It means that if you speak Esperanto, you already have instant friends in many parts of the world. In case you travel abroad, these friends are going to welcome you and help you.

    Thanks for the attention!

    Eddy, from Brazil.
    profetak@hotmail.com

    Reply
  70. Bob -  December 10, 2010 - 7:42 pm

    I like Pie first of all. Seccond, somebody is crazy to think that is is possible to teach everyone in the world one language, plus a culture would be lost.

    Reply
  71. Clifton Palmer McLendon -  December 10, 2010 - 7:14 pm

    Esperanto is the one best attempt at a universal language.

    It is easy to learn, and vibrant.

    True, it is based on Indo-European words, but it is very popular in Asia.

    The only reason it is not a totally smashing success is that not everybody wants to learn it.

    Reply
  72. Melinda Schoepe -  December 10, 2010 - 7:09 pm

    A Universal language would be ideal for traveling the world and such; because then if you needed to figure something out you would be able to ask anyone,anything anywhere. The problems with it would be that getting everyone to learn the language would cost money and getting everyone to learn it without force would be impossible.

    Reply
  73. WordPi -  December 10, 2010 - 6:57 pm

    A lot has been written about the horrible language of Esperanto. Many would love to have it imposed on us, but as English became the most commonly spoken language today, this artificial language never really took off.

    One of the great disadvantages of an artificially created language such as this, is that it is very poor. And a poor language means that people will think less while commerce expands: a brilliant idea by those in power who want the masses to stay as uneducated as possible.

    As it was also mentioned by Stephanie, language is a great part of every culture. Even Tolkien always ‘nodded’ towards Old English or Old Norse with his artificially created languages, never intending to use these ‘elven’ tongues as a replacement for real-life tongues.

    And in a totally different direction, consider e.g. the Greek word πρόσωπον (prosopon) that is used to indicate both “face” and “person”/ “persona”, sometimes at the same time, reflecting Eastern Christian theological understanding of man as a person and not as a number.

    Or the word Festschrift (we also use at times) for the book written by academic scholars to honour one of their colleagues.

    A language is not just a collection of words put together and Esperanto is everything we as a society should stand against: the enforced ‘guidance’ of the ‘dumb flock’ who will be speaking only a few words and thus not be able to truly express themselves, who will be more easily persuaded to be told ‘what to do’ and ‘what to think’, particularly with the constant re-writing of History that is already taking place today in the West.

    And speaking of ‘mankind’ may I respectfully submit to dictionary.com that ‘political correctness’ is another cancer in our society and it also affects language. The word ‘man’ (in German ‘mann’) originally meant ‘human’. We have countless of words whose origins do not even exist any more; this doesn’t mean that we change the language to support the politics of feminism. There is no such thing as ‘humankind’.

    Reply
  74. Daniel -  December 10, 2010 - 6:55 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t all languages synthetic? The ‘different languages’ that would occur from this one common language would be known as dialects. Jamaicans, Europeans, Americans (North and South) all speak different dialects of the same core language. If anyone of them were to write something down, each and everyone of them could comprehend it. The whole ‘distances’ debate between countries would have no greater an effect. Inventions like the telegraph, telephone, television, computer, car, plane, and all water vessels and possibly many more have already bridged this so called gap years ago. I most likely used plenty of grammatical and many other errors and yet my point is understood. Isn’t that the reasoning behind a language in the first place?

    Reply
  75. Calin -  December 10, 2010 - 6:47 pm

    I think Douglas Adams hit it on the head when he wrote (in the context of fiction, of course) that the Babel Fish, by enabling universal communication among heretofore isolated cultures and worlds, proved to be the single greatest cause of war in the history of the universe…

    If the concern is with peace, language is the least of our problems.

    Reply
  76. Janese -  December 10, 2010 - 5:48 pm

    We should all learn sign language, then there would be no need for translations. We could learn what the sign means in our own language.

    Reply
    • Karlee -  April 8, 2014 - 12:10 pm

      Even the sign language will probably never change, the problem is that it isn’t audible. So, not only would we have to spend money on educating everyone one the language, but everyone would have to start communicating via video chat, and face-to-face (while ideal is not always possible), making phones, writing, and reading useless. It would be much more difficult than learning English or Esperanto, or whatever. :)

      Reply
  77. triplem -  December 10, 2010 - 5:27 pm

    hahahahaha lol, this is the stupidest thing i have ever heard of. whats wrong with the language we’re using right now?

    Reply
  78. Andrea -  December 10, 2010 - 5:20 pm

    There does seem to be one near-universal language already, that of facial expressions. Of course, not much communication would be possible with them alone. While I’m occasionally in situations where it would be nice to be able to communicate with someone who speaks a language I don’t, so that perhaps we can explain ourselves to each other and improve our chances of cooperating, it isn’t clear at all that the process of creating and attempting to implement a universal language will net more cooperation and less conflict. Even within a single language, such as English, people for example use cryptography, computer programming languages, and mathematics, all which in one way or another excludes the possibility of English being “universal” even among all English users.

    Reply
  79. Nathaniel -  December 10, 2010 - 5:11 pm

    Great idea, but only in theory. However, in years to come, as we continue to globalize, it will be inevitable to at least have more and more languages begin to integrate.

    Reply
  80. JSilva -  December 10, 2010 - 4:32 pm

    I think its called the computer…this new language.

    Reply
  81. Humphrey -  December 10, 2010 - 4:26 pm

    Group-Speak?

    Reply
  82. Davood (persian version of David) -  December 10, 2010 - 4:19 pm

    I’m sure someone has commented something similar to this, but still wanted to share…just in case:

    A decade or so back there was a great film release, Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, placed in a “future”-ized Los Angeles (i think the city was…). Anyway, in the first 10 minutes of the film, we learn about how eventually the huge Chinese population of the world spreads out & everyone in the world ends up speaking a mixed language with elements of all the major languages thrown into a melting pot….Engfrenchenese. Call it what you want. All I know is that is sounded pretty awesome & I as a global nomad, having been born in one country, moved to two others at an early age (we are called, third culture kids) would be more than happy to adopt a mixed language just as much as I would like to know several. This takes away the problem of “erasing” cultures while at the same time creating a universality that could help simplify things!

    Reply
  83. Shelly -  December 10, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Consider this: In Russian, the word for “understand” is the same as the word for “agree.”
    Also, to Barred-Coded-ed, English is not considered an easy language to learn. It is probably easy for you because it is your first language, but that is conjecture, as I don’t know you.

    Reply
  84. David -  December 10, 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Not sure that Zamenhof can be described either as Polish (he was born in what is now Poland but was then part of Russian, and his native tongue was Russian/Bielorussian) or an occultist (don’t know where you got that from, but I don’t think it’s something that he is widely associated with, and certainly not defined by). Surely ‘Jewish doctor and linguist’ would be a better description.

    Reply
  85. smoothius -  December 10, 2010 - 2:25 pm

    variety is the spice of life, do we really all want to be just the same? look the same ,dress the same ,believe the same, talk the same? not me, no thank you. i’m glad we are all different. i just wish the only thing we all had in common was that we all accept each other for who we are and what we choose to believe and how we choose to talk. not that we can’t disagree, just that we can agree to disagree. (no more strapping on bombs to kill people who think differently) intolerance of our differences is what is holding us back from our next great evolutionary jump… evolution of the mind!

    Reply
  86. Eyewitness -  December 10, 2010 - 2:16 pm

    You can’t be serious. Even speakers of the same language, English, for example, do not speak one language. Regional, socio-economic, age-related, and other, qualifications make even a single academic language into many functional languages. For example, ask someone who was a flapper in the Roaring Twenties what “the cat’s meow” means and they would know in a moment. Ask a 2010 ‘tween and they would have no idea. Where is a ‘unified’ language supposed to occur? In the classroom? Has the classroom homogenized even the languages that humanity has already? As one interested in linguistics, these kinds of debate are inevitable and entertaining, but jejune.

    Reply
  87. Monica -  December 10, 2010 - 2:15 pm

    My grandmother spoke Esperanto!

    Reply
  88. LIGHTBULB | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 10, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    [...] Language or comprehension are not one and the same. — To us a light bulb above the head is an idea. — Inside? — What’s the robot’s name? — To be approached by outstretched hand, — we search for familiarity. — Ifn the hand there is a gun we flash about mortality. — Language with words get in the way. — Take a good look at the page — On this or any day. — The language of the body is the language of the sage. — Even with some cultural defiance — eventually the point gets through. — The light bulb is a symbol of contrivance — as is esperanto too. — There’s a lot of work to do. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  89. Trinity -  December 10, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    What fun is it if we all speak the same language? The beauty of other languages is part of the world, and only one language wouldn’t bring universal peace, believe me. Of course, if you want to try to reverse the Tower of Babel, go ahead.

    Reply
  90. Deb Burton -  December 10, 2010 - 1:02 pm

    We have a universal language that people are choosing to learn and use… English has the most words of any language – because it is always aquiring them from different cultures, or creating and reforming words. I once opened a dictionary and on the two pages before me, were words derived from 14 different languages. It is almost the Tower of Babel backwards! England had so many waves of conquests, and also colonised so many cultures that all of this is not surprising.
    What I would like to see is an acceptance of nuuspel – a way to make English more phonetic. Txting may be a big help! I did some work on this on my webpage; but have since decided that vowels are too complex to tinker with, plus I love the regional and cultural differences heard in English, which the different vowel sounds give. In written English, vowels do not change meanings, also, there are languages that work fine without written vowel sounds. See what you think on my website… :-)

    Reply
  91. cal -  December 10, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    did no one else think of the tower of babel after reading this?

    Reply
  92. Jasik -  December 10, 2010 - 12:54 pm

    Now if we can just figure out how to control self-will in the name of the greater good….simply more ridiculous “Utopian” conjecture

    Reply
  93. Alyssa -  December 10, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    Latin was intended to be a universal language. It still could be.

    Reply
  94. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  December 10, 2010 - 12:50 pm

    Really,–

    The whole question here is moot:–

    The “language isolate” of the Sumerians, was in fact their local blend with the ruling-gods-family which was the same in Egypt except for the subsequent ‘local’ accents … so, why, call it, “language isolate”…

    The work has already been done, since thousands, millions, billions, of years ago… ‘Study to show thyself approved of [the gods].’

    Reply
  95. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  December 10, 2010 - 12:42 pm

    (For those who don’t know, that last enunciation elicits the punning sense of certain foreign languages in which its homophone imputes something slightly more profane for what comes out under ‘extreme duress’. Esperanto probably has a word for it too….)

    Reply
  96. bibbles -  December 10, 2010 - 12:31 pm

    if there is ever international peace, then the nations could work together to either choose an already known language or to create a new one, but this is not likely

    Reply
  97. Felicity Hunter -  December 10, 2010 - 12:24 pm

    here’s why we can’t all learn 1 language:

    thousands of years ago, some idiots decided to try to reach heaven by building a tower. Probably in laughter, God watched them. He didn’t want them to succed, so hs seperated the languages. thus, stopping the building prossess.

    good thing too ’cause we’d still be building ;)

    Reply
  98. Nathan Hunter -  December 10, 2010 - 12:21 pm

    Everyone speaking one language is simple, but is it ideal? Hmmmm, if you look at it, he could be onto something really bad.

    Reply
  99. Barred-Coded-ed -  December 10, 2010 - 12:15 pm

    ppl already have a problem speaking easy languages lik english this might cause chaos….i think different languages is great it hepls ppl keep with culture and gives you roots to grow with…and makes traveling the globe an experience lik no other…its a challenge that helps you identify with your races history…i mean music and movies wont be the same…

    Reply
  100. SDWriter -  December 10, 2010 - 12:15 pm

    Yes, one easy language for the whole word [sic] would be beneficial. (The editors need to proof their entry on the front page!)

    Reply
  101. Barred-Coded-ed -  December 10, 2010 - 12:08 pm

    how are is dat goin to workin in da tech n txt age we are in?

    Reply
  102. Sib -  December 10, 2010 - 12:08 pm

    Wa makatsa- interesting

    Reply
  103. Rachel Johns -  December 10, 2010 - 12:07 pm

    so your saying that the reason his invented language didnt work was because it was based on european language?
    what if you took the simplest words out of every language and put them together in one language? that way everyone would be familiar with at least some of the new language.
    i think its possible but you cant start a revolution if no one is willing to fight.
    i bet a lot of people would be interested in the idea of international peace, or at least understanding, in the form of a mutal language.

    Reply
  104. Bill Chapman -  December 10, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    Esperanto works well and deserves to be more widely used. It’s important to emphasise that Esperanto was not intended to replace national, regional or ethnic languages.

    Reply
  105. Cyberquill -  December 10, 2010 - 12:02 pm

    My favorite is Solresol, an artificial language based on musical pitches.

    Reply
  106. erdos -  December 10, 2010 - 12:01 pm

    No synthetic language will ever become universal unless imposed by force.

    Reply
  107. Ana -  December 10, 2010 - 11:58 am

    A universal language would be impossible to maintain. The way that language survives is through changing and adapting. Even if everyone were to be taught Esperanto (or any other language), we would only be able to understand each other for a relatively short time before the distances between countries and continents would take their toll on the way we speak. We’d all have our own dialects, and, soon enough, our own languages again.

    Reply
  108. Stephanie -  December 10, 2010 - 11:57 am

    Language is a big part of culture. I like the fact that I personally get to switch between two very common languages Spanish and English. Not to mention, see the similarities among other romance languages.
    Creating a universal language would be difficult to merge and include the many other languages that don’t share some commonality. Then there’s phonetics. There are many sounds in one language not found in others. Who would determine the correct pronunciation of words? A universal language is a great idea just a headache to even think about how it would work.

    Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top