Interlingua is doomed
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
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.