After the inception of the PreBabel site on July 14, 2009, it has caught many people's interest. An in depth discussion on the PreBabel took place at "conlanger bulletin board," and it is still going. Many great questions and critiques were discussed there. The following is a brief summary of those discussions.
Day one -- I must thank you all for giving me your views on "my work." I have summarized your comments or critiques into four categories.
- Ave94 -- Why there can be no universal language:
- notoriouswhitemoth -- There is no such thing as a universal language--except possibly mathematics. This is just yet another auxlang, and a rather carelessly and presumptuously constructed one at that, by the look of it
- Thakowsaizmu -- Universal languages in this vein are usually doomed from the get go. You cannot be one hundred percent nonsubjective when creating these words.
- notoriouswhitemoth -- every grammar is unique--how can all grammars be compatible when they use characteristics that are mutually exclusive?
- sangi39 -- Basically, this seems to be a (failed) attempt at saying all spoken languages can be learnt through a series of mnemnonic devices, of which very few are even "basic" in this attempt, regardless of the fact that the mnemnonic devices would increase the length of the learning method.
- sangi39 -- in English, a language with around 1,000,000 words (which a universal language may have to translate probably a few tens-of-thousands if we take into account irregularly used vocabulary and synonyms). So if we were to take the number 100,000 and set this as the number of words the universal language contained and 300 as the number of basic roots, the universal language would have 90,000 two-root combinations, but most of these combinations would likely be vague, non-sensical or even better interpreted as incomplete phrases, using your proposed root system.
- ford -- So, you still have the 'I told you so' issue of what sounds apply to what meanings. In this sense, most words are arbitrary and there is no way around that. There has to be consensus on what sounds mean what for anyone to communicate with anyone, and the assignations are always going to be highly arbitrary.
- Ave94 -- Even if you could get billions of people to speak the same language, it wouldn't last. Soon it would diverge into separate dialects, then mutually unintelligible languages. After all the work teaching everyone the language, you'd have to start all over again.
- vreizhig -- This is nonsense. I look at your list of roots, and the simplest symbols you have are reserved for a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo about spirits and heaven and energy and pre-existence. Towards the end of the list, you have "roots" which are actually compounds, such as "place of human danger."
- brank -- tienzen, all the issues of "universal language" aside, I think there are some fundamental problems with your proposed roots. ... These (just an example) are all quite obviously compounds, not roots,
- porpleafreet -- wtf man, he made no jokes in that post, and you're still avoiding the problem of compounding, and have not yet stated why you have so many absurd and useless roots in your language.
- porpleafreet -- Five individual roots for different hands and positions of them is quite odd.
- ford -- As far as having a language based around the idea of 'roots' you cannot have multiple types of energy... there would be one root meaning 'energy'. These litter Tienzen's list. Random, unnecessary 'roots' in his rather haughty language that supposes way to much.
- porpleafreet -- but, please explain to me why you have six roots for energy, and about the same amount for hand.
- sangi39 -- If it were culturally neutral, then foreign concepts would be more easily understood. Therefore, having six word for energy makes little sense when a word for "energy" combined with other roots would allow for easier understanding, but also give you space for four more roots.
- Khemehekis -- Tienzen, why do you have a root for "scraping meat off the bone"?
- loftyD -- Yes Tienzen there is a universal language, its called English.
- Avjunza -- I'm not going to stain myself by clicking that link, and the previous three posters have already pointed out several flaws, defects, and utter stupidities that you seem to have incorporated into not only your abomination, but your way of thinking as well.
- Maximillian -- Like everyone already noticed, it's a bizarre absurd.
- Avjunza -- I'm an amateur conlanger/linguist, and I still knew how fucked up his thing was.
- Mbwa -- ..., but your attempt has shown some illogicalities(it's a word) that make it... not such a good universal language.
- vreizhig -- Well, I got more of a New-Age impression from the spiritual roots than a Christian one. Like those vacuous smiley bozos who believe in "human energee" and "dolphin energee" and say things like "oh no, thee're blockeen my energee."
All these comments and critiques are good, including those emotional ones. Yet, I am unable to give any answer for those emotional comments. For a theory, it is either valid or invalid (right or wrong). I do not know how to answer the comment about the absurd or the bizarre. In fact, most new theory is absurd and bizarre in terms of the current paradigm. So, I don't truly know that whether they are praising me or else.
The next major issue is about my flawed PB root word set. Indeed, this is the key issue, and it will take many days to discuss in detail. However, I will give a short answer here first. This question is, in fact, partially answered in my site ( http://www.prebabel.info/proot01.htm ). The choice of the set is mine, and it can be significantly altered into a different set. In fact, the number can be easily reduced to half. Of course, I owe you all an explanation of why I made the choice as I did. Yet, it will take a bit time for that.
In fact, whether my PB root word set is good or bad is not truly the most important issue on PreBabel. If you can come up a better one, I will thank you for it. The most important issue is that whether a universal language in the line of PreBabel can ever exist, either theoretically or practically. If PreBabel is impossible theoretically, then no further discussion is needed.
The theoretically backbone for PreBabel is the Law 2, Law 2 --"When every natural language is encoded with a universal set of root words, a true Universal Language emerges." If we can show just one example that one word of one natural language can never be encoded in anyway by any closed root word set (don't have to be the PB set), then the Law 2 is flawed. Yet, there is a way to get around this problem. That is, we can take this "odd" word in into the root word set as a new root. Only if there are unlimited "odd" words, the Law 2 will then failure for good. However, if the number of the odd words is quite large (a few from each language) although not unlimited, the Law 2 will then face the practically useless issue.
Signature --PreBabel is the true universal language, it is available at