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The dream of Interlingua

The dream of Interlingua-a common language that all the people of the world speak-has long existed in many peoples minds. They and their organizations have for many years tried to push this through, but the odds are still against them.

The benefits of a common language on the planet are obvious, language barriers would no longer exist, books and newspapers could be printed in a single international edition distributed worldwide. In order to achieve this however there are plenty of obstacles along the way.

The first question, which already throws us into a major snag, is which language do we choose? To many of us English is the obvious answer, since its expansion is enormous an it is the closest thing to a common language we have today. But this is where the Interlingua enthusiasts pull the brake saying, no, it must be a new constructed language everyone learns from scratch, because if we use an already existing natural language, all its native speakers would form an elite. The fact that the Interlingua enthusiasts normally excel in the very constructed language they advocate does not seem to strike them as unfair at all.

Not that the people of this planet have ever managed to fully agree on anything, but let us just suppose that the world was to reform and decide to teach its citizens an all new language. The nations that would learn it the quickest would of course be the industrialized countries with the resources for good public education, incidentally the very nations that know and are learning, the international business language-English

An inevitable fact is that the English language is already in the process of taking over the world through film, TV, popular music not to mention the Internet. Even more important, English being the international business language there is a lot of money invested in it and it therefore has the full support of the commercial industry and right or wrong, money rules this world!

Were we still to miraculously manage to teach the whole planet the very same language, another problem would become painfully evident; maintaining it. All languages form local dialects, new words and expressions, especially in isolated and remote communities. Different people have different needs for words dictated by their surroundings and their professions. Based on the need of terminology the everyday vocabulary of a fisherman in the North Atlantic is bound to be quite different from that of a tobacco farmer in Turkey or a hot dog vendor in

New York City. It is hardly realistic to think that any organization or international board of language would be able to map, keep track of and set standards for every single entity in the world that someone feels there is a need to have a word for.

We have not yet come close to teaching all the people of the world to read and write their own native language that they are exposed to every day. What makes us think that we can teach them an all new language, especially with the economic interests of the world opposing it.

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