Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After Esperanto

   After Esperanto I started looking at different languages based on the Romance languages and/or Esperanto Reform projects. Ido was the first successful language reform for Esperanto and is the short form of the word Esperantido.

   Ido has some support but not as much as Esperanto. Ido's philosophy was to correct some the grammar of Esperanto and make it even easier to learn and use.

Let's do a quick comparison of Ido vs. Esperanto with the Lord's prayer.


Patro nia, qua esas en la cielo,
tua nomo santigesez;
tua regno advenez;
tua volo facesez quale en la cielo,
tale anke sur la tero.
Donez a ni cadie l'omnadiala pano,
e pardonez a ni nia ofensi,
quale anke ni pardonas a nia ofensanti,
e ne duktez ni aden la tento,
ma liberigez ni del malajo.


Matthew (La evangelio laŭ Mateo) 6:9-13
9 Vi do preĝu jene:Patro nia, kiu estas en la ĉielo,
Via nomo estu sanktigita.10 Venu Via regno, plenumiĝu Via volo, kiel en la ĉielo,
tiel ankaŭ sur la tero.11 Nian panon ĉiutagan donu al ni hodiaŭ.
12 Kaj pardonu al ni niajn ŝuldojn, kiel ankaŭ ni pardonas al niaj ŝuldantoj.
13 Kaj ne konduku nin en tenton, sed liberigu nin de la malbono.

The first thing I notice is that Ido looks more like Spanish or Italian, the endings are different and the words words such as: "Who" in Ido is "qua" soft instead of the hard "kiu" in Esperanto. Also the word for "and" in Ido is "e" vs. the word "kaj" in E-o.

From the looks of it, Ido has softer sounds overall and has a better flow to the wording allowing it to be easier spoken and possible better understood by speakers of Spanish, French and Italian.

There is a free online Ido course here with 8 lessons if you are interested in learning more about this Esperanto reform language; Ido. Also take a look at the Uniono por la Linguo Internaciona Ido (ULI)

Well, this posting is rather short compared to my others but I guess short, concise and to the point is good at times! I hope you will take a look at Ido, even if you have no intention of learning it, just to see what a constructed language looks like and how people all around the world can use it!

Bona fortuna per tua lingua studio!    (Good luck with your language study!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Basic English

According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, there are about a quarter of a million words in the English language. That's a lot of words! But how many of them do we use on a daily basis? One man took the challenge to find out. Charles K. Ogden condensed the enormous English language to a mere 850 words. These Basic words became the foundation of "Basic English" a planned language which was designed to make English an International Auxiliary Language. 

Today, English is spoken around the world as a second language in almost every country abroad. English truly is an International Auxiliary Language. The problem is that English is difficult to learn with complex grammar rules, irregular verbs in the past tense and lack of conjugation (not totally lacking but minimized) which many languages use, as well as a definite and indefinite article. 

Grammar was greatly reduced to the following table: 

    Ogden's rules of grammar for Basic English extend the 850 word vocabulary to the breadth needed to describe objects and events in the environment and more smoothly communicate with people.
  1. Plurals are formed with a trailing "S". The normal exceptions of standard English also apply, notably "ES" and "IES".
  2. There are four derivatives for the 300 nouns: -"ER" and -"ING", and two adjectives, -"ING" and -"ED".
  3. Adverbs use -"LY" from qualifiers.
  4. Degree is expressed with "MORE" and "MOST". Be prepared to find -"ER" and -"EST" in common usage.
  5. Negative adjectives are formed with "UN"-
  6. Questions are formed by inversion and by "DO".
  7. Operators and pronouns conjugate in full.
  8. Compound words may be combined from two nouns (milkman) or a noun and a directive (sundown).
  9. Measurement, numerals, currency, calendar, and international terms are in English form.
  10. Technical expressions required and customary for the immediate task are included in the locally used form.

      A list of the 850 words in categories can be found here

      Also established is a list of compound words which can be found here

      A list of expanded rules more apt for the intermediate speaker was developed here

      Even the Bible has been translated into Basic English! Although one does not get as much deep-theology from this translation, it does serve a need to allow a learner to begin reading and understanding the basics of the Word of God! New Testament and Old Testament.  

      Here is a sample of the Babel Text in Basic English: 

      And all the earth had one language and one tongue.
      And it came about that in their wandering from the east, they came to a stretch of flat country in the land of Shinar, and there they made their living-place.
      And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks, burning them well. And they had bricks for stone, putting them together with sticky earth.
      And they said, Come, let us make a town, and a tower whose top will go up as high as heaven; and let us make a great name for ourselves, so that we may not be wanderers over the face of the earth.
      And the Lord came down to see the town and the tower which the children of men were building.
      And the Lord said, See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do; and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs.
      Come, let us go down and take away the sense of their language, so that they will not be able to make themselves clear to one another.
      So the Lord God sent them away into every part of the earth; and they gave up building their town.
      So it was named Babel, because there the Lord took away the sense of all languages; and from there the Lord sent them away over all the face of the earth.

      So it is possible to learn to speak English with only a vocabulary of 850 words and communicate with anyone!  You can find a lot of information about Basic English here on the main website for Basic. 

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    English spelling and reform.

       How about spelling? English has the absolute worst spelling system ever! We use 26 letters to produce between 40-44 sounds making it necessary to combine letters into special combinations to produce a certain sound. The only problem is that it is not consistent.

       Yes, this poem is VERY long but I think you will find it enjoyable to see how difficult English can really be and how absurd our spelling system is. If you feel the poem is too long, please skip to the end and finish reading the blog post about an alternative writing style! 

    The Chaos
    by G. Nolst Trenite' a.k.a. "Charivarius" 1870 - 1946

    Dearest creature in creation
    Studying English pronunciation,
    I will teach you in my verse
    Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse
    I will keep you, Susy, busy,
    Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
    Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
    So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,
    Pray, console your loving poet,
    Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
    Just compare heart, beard and heard,
    Dies and diet, lord and word,
    Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
    (Mind the latter, how it's written).
    Made has not the sound of bade,
    Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.
    Now I surely will not plague you
    With such words as vague and ague,
    But be careful how you speak,
    Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.
    Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
    Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,
    Cloven, oven, how and low,
    Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
    Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
    Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
    Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
    Exiles, similes, reviles.
    Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
    Thames, examining, combining
    Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
    Solar, mica, war, and far.
    From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
    Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.
    Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
    Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,
    One, anemone. Balmoral.
    Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,
    Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
    Scene, Melpomene, mankind,
    Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
    Reading, reading, heathen, heather.
    This phonetic labyrinth
    Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
    Billet does not end like ballet;
    Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
    Blood and flood are not like food,
    Nor is mould like should and would.
    Banquet is not nearly parquet,
    Which is said to rime with "darky."
    Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
    Toward, to forward, to reward.
    And your pronunciation's O.K.,
    When you say correctly: croquet.
    Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
    Friend and fiend, alive, and live,
    Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
    Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,
    We say hallowed, but allowed,
    People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
    Mark the difference, moreover,
    Between mover, plover, Dover,
    Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
    Chalice, but police, and lice.
    Camel, constable, unstable,
    Principle, disciple, label,
    Petal, penal, and canal,
    Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.
    Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
    Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."
    But it is not hard to tell,
    Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
    Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
    Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
    Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
    Senator, spectator, mayor,
    Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
    And enamour rime with hammer.
    Pussy, hussy, and possess,
    Desert, but dessert, address.
    Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
    Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
    River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
    Doll and roll and some and home.
    Stranger does not rime with anger.
    Neither does devour with clangour.
    Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
    Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.
    Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
    And then: singer, ginger, linger,
    Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
    Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
    Query does not rime with very,
    Nor does fury sound like bury.
    Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
    Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.
    Though the difference seems little,
    We say actual, but victual.
    Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
    Put, nut; granite, and unite.
    Reefer does not rime with deafer,
    Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
    Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
    Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.
    Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
    Science, conscience, scientific,
    Tour, but our and succour, four,
    Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
    Sea, idea, guinea, area,
    Psalm, Maria, but malaria,
    Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
    Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
    Compare alien with Italian,
    Dandelion with battalion.
    Sally with ally, yea, ye,
    Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.
    Say aver, but ever, fever.
    Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
    Never guess--it is not safe:
    We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.
    Heron, granary, canary,
    Crevice and device, and eyrie,
    Face but preface, but efface,
    Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
    Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
    Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,
    Ear but earn, and wear and bear
    Do not rime with here, but ere.
    Seven is right, but so is even,
    Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
    Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
    Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
    Pronunciation--think of psyche--!
    Is a paling, stout and spikey,
    Won't it make you lose your wits,
    Writing "groats" and saying "grits"?
    It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
    Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
    Islington and Isle of Wight,
    Housewife, verdict, and indict!
    Don't you think so, reader, rather,
    Saying lather, bather, father?
    Finally: which rimes with "enough"
    Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?
    Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
    My advice is--give it up!

    Crazy huh? All these spelling variations is enough to make a person sick! So, here is an idea:

    Each symbol represents a single sound and each word is spelled as it sounds not as it is currently spelled. Here is an example of what the Unifon alphabet looks like with two font variations. 

    With a little practice one could easily be writing in Unifon or any of the other spelling reform alphabets out there. I will discuss other spelling reform systems in the future but I really like this one, it gives English a special look and feel. 

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012


    Ok, so Esperanto was the first "real" language I used to communicate with people from other countries. I still use it somewhat but, I must admit, I am a bit rusty now. So, here I want to give you the basics of Esperanto so you will understand why I chose to learn this wonderful language. Lets start with the alphabet.

    One of these grammatical endings should appear on the end of most
    words,  and defines that words role in a sentence. Other suffixes
    and prefixes may precede this final identifier. 
    -o      noun                            amo   "love"
    -a      adjective                       ama   "loving"
    -e      adverb                          ame   "lovingly"
    -n      direct object of a verb         amon  "love"
    -j      plural                          amoj  "loves"  "j" pronounced "y"/"ee"
    -jn     plural of the direct object     amojn "loves"
    -i      verb, infinitive                ami   "to love"
    -u      verb, imperative                amu   "love!"
    -is     verb, past tense                amis  "loved"
    -as     verb, present tense             amas  "loves"
    -os     verb, future tense              amos  "will love"
    -us     verb, conditional               amus  "would love"
    As you can see, it is very easy to know what is a verb, adjective, adverb etc and the tenses are very regular and easy as well. 
    A complete list of pronouns. As in English, the plural  "you"  is
    identical to the singular and does not take  the  plural  suffix.
    Possesives take the adjectival form by adding the -a suffix.
                            mi      I       
                            vi      you
                            li      he
                            ŝi      she
                            ĝi      it
                            ni      we
                            ili     they
                            oni     one
                            ci      thou (archaic)
                            si      reflexive - refers back to subject
                            ri*      he or she (genderless, neoligism)
    *This form is very seldom every used, I have never used nor seen this form in regular communication.
    Numbers follow a consistent pattern, best illustrated by example.
    nulo     zero           dek unu         eleven
    unu      one            dek du          twelve
    du       two            dek tri         thirteen
    tri      three          dudek tri       twenty three
    kvar     four           kvindek ok      fifty eight
    kvin     five           cent sesdek     a hundred and sixty
    ses      six            sepcent okdek   seven hundred and eighty
    sep      seven          dekmiliono      ten million
    ok       eight          
    naŭ      nine           
    dek      ten
    cent     hundred
    mil      thousand 
    miliono  million
    miliardo billion (thousand million)
    Below is a sample of Esperanto with the Tower of Babel text: 
    1. Sur la tuta tero estis unu lingvo kaj unu parolmaniero.
    2. Kaj kiam ili ekiris de la oriento, ili trovis valon en la lando Ŝinar kaj tie ekloĝis.
    3. Kaj ili diris unu al alia: Venu, ni faru brikojn kaj ni brulpretigu ilin per fajro. Kaj la brikoj fariĝis por ili ŝtonoj, kaj la bitumo fariĝis por ili kalko.
    4. Kaj ili diris: Venu, ni konstruu al ni urbon, kaj turon, kies supro atingos la ĉielon, kaj ni akiru al ni gloron, antaŭ ol ni disiĝos sur la supraĵo de la tuta tero.
    5. Kaj la Eternulo malleviĝis, por vidi la urbon kaj la turon, kiujn konstruis la homidoj.
    6. Kaj la Eternulo diris: Jen estas unu popolo, kaj unu lingvon ili ĉiuj havas; kaj jen, kion ili komencis fari, kaj ili ne estos malhelpataj en ĉio, kion ili decidis fari.
    7. Ni malleviĝu do, kaj Ni konfuzu tie ilian lingvon, por ke unu ne komprenu la parolon de alia.
    8. Kaj la Eternulo disigis ilin de tie sur la supraĵon de la tuta tero, kaj ili ĉesis konstrui la urbon.
    9. Tial oni donis al ĝi la nomon Babel, ĉar tie la Eternulo konfuzis la lingvon de la tuta tero kaj de tie la Eternulo disigis ilin sur la supraĵon de la tuta tero.
    Well, that gives you a brief overview of the Esperanto Language. If I have piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about this language visit Lernu

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Intro to my life and language...

         I love languages, I could talk for hours about them; the differences, the similarities, syntax, sounds, structure, diphthongs, morphemes, declension, elision, etc. When I was younger I wanted to learn a foreign language so I went to the library and checked out books on every language I could find: Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, French, Russian... Well, Russian is the one I chose because I like the way it looked, sounded and the fact it can be used in 15 countries (Former Soviet Republics).

         Russian proved to be challenging as I had no one to speak to or practice with. But I bought books, tapes (yes, I had those when I was young) and computer software. I was determined to learn this language one way or another! I did manage to learn some words and then a few sentences but I never became anywhere near fluent due to the fact I still had no one to practice with.

         So one day I was surfing the ole' web and came across Esperanto, the most well-known ConLang (Constructed Language) out there. It was easy to learn and there were many people to speak/write to. The language is based on Latin and Greek words so words are familiar to English speakers as well as speakers of other Romance-based languages such as Spanish, French, Italian etc. The only problem I had was the troublesome "-n" ending on the Subject. It is there to clarify the subject but I always had problems knowing when to use it or not. But I was delighted to be able to speak with people in China, Iran, Spain, Germany, Estonia and many others in a common language.

         Well, I think this is a good introduction to my life and languages, don't worry, there is much more to be written and I will explain more about the languages I know, am studying and want to study in the future both Natural and Constructed.

       Until next time, до свидания, adiaŭ and totsiens...