Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Easy Trade Language

The bastard child of Esperanto and Tok Pisin
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The vast majority of people in the world speak at least one of the top 5 languages - Mandarin, Spanish, English, Arabic, or Bengali. Create a trade language out of words from these languages, based on universal grammar and using only sounds that are common to all languages. 1st download dictionaries for these languages. 2nd, choose a list of words needed. 3rd, throw out all the words that have difficult to pronounce elements. Then assign words based on the number of speakers - so most words would come from Mandarin, then Spanish, etc. The end product would be a language that practically everyone knew a little of, with a simple grammar. Much easier to learn than Esperanto, and much likelier to be adopted widely.
+mw+, May 13 2007

List of world languages (wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia..._of_native_speakers
[+mw+, May 13 2007]

Wikipedia: Pidgin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin
[jutta, May 14 2007]


       Out of the 885,000,000 Mandarin speakers, the majority are predominantly without access to the internet, global travel, electricity or even basic sanitation. This hardly qualifies Mandarin as a basis for a global language.   

       That, and they can't pronounce 'L', so Engrish and Bengari becomes a big probrem.
nuclear hobo, May 13 2007

       If everyone would just be reasonable and speak English, there would be no need for them to learn any "foreign" languages.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2007

       Trying to construct an artificial language according to a small set of simple, logical rules is like trying to make a plant by glueing leaves onto a toothpick. Like a plant, language is a living, developing thing. Humans have brains that create patterns. You can't turn that off just by saying so.   

       Simple languages with very simple grammars and a few basic words are often constructed whenever people without a common language meet - pidgins. As far as I know, they don't last; they grow more complex.
jutta, May 14 2007

       I have thought about this some more:   

       First, the languages don't need to overlap - you just choose some words from each language, so almost everyone will be familiar with at least a few words.   

       Second, it wouldn't be a small set of rules - the grammar would follow the basic rules that all pidgins follow - e.g. subject verb object word order, etc. This is thought to reflect an innately human universal grammar - the underlying patterns in human brains, which only change on evolutionary time scales. It would be easy to learn as a result (like most pidgins).   

       Third, there is a small set of universal phonemes common to all languages, so you could exclude words that included sounds that weren't common to all languages - or use close equivalents - so it would be easy to pronounce for everyone.   

       Pidgins do grow more complex but they do last. Most synthetic languages were designed without reference to linguistic science and have remained curiosities rather than useful modes of communication. By making it as easy as possible to learn you would make it more likely to be adopted by more than a group of random enthusiasts.
+mw+, Mar 18 2008

       There are a lot of languages that have done this already, English for one. (Mandarin hasn't, and for many reasons shouldn't even be considered as an international language--feh!) But English has collected so many oddities that it is a headache to learn.   

       Indonesian and Malay are closely related, and cover a lot of people. They are already composite trade languages with simple grammar, consistent pronunciation and many borrowed words. Chinese, Spanish, Dutch, English, Arabic, Sanskrit, Bengali are all present in Indonesian, and it's written in English-type letters.
baconbrain, Mar 18 2008

       I too have thought about this some more. The problem lies in the assumption that everyone should be equally inconvenienced by the need to communicate.   

       On balance, the solution that involves the least total effort is just for everyone, Americans included, to learn English.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 18 2008

       //Create a trade language out of words from these languages, based on universal grammar //   

       After a semester in Linguistic Anthropology, I can assure you that the first thing to learn about languages is that there is no such thing as universal grammar. Nor are all pidgins composed with Subject Verb Object word orders. Subject verb object word order is most familiar to us because it is most common throughout Europe and America.   

       Good luck teaching Americans to speak English though.
ye_river_xiv, Mar 19 2008

       Ye River, I know that every language's grammar is different, including pidgins, but there is an underlying human language acquisition program that tends towards certain elements of "universal" grammar as described by Chomsky, Bickerton, and others. - such as SVO order. My idea is just to make use of that in designing a language. Getting people to adopt it is another matter entirely - but then again, this is the halfbakery.
+mw+, Mar 25 2008


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