clarified by criticisms bestowed on them by partisans of others. If Interglossa does nothing more than stimulate criticism by its novel features, it will serve the useful purpose of clarifying a task for others to carry out with greater success.
It is therefore pertinent to specify some outstanding defects of artificial languages which have had a vogue in the past, more especially Volapük (V), Esperanto (E), Idiom Neutral (I.N.), Ido (I), Peano's Interlingua (P),¹ and Novial (N). We can best do so, if we recognize what characteristics make a language difficult to learn. Three major difficulties are: (a) surfeit of grammatical rules, (b) excessive number of essential words which the beginner has to memorize, (c) intrinsic unfamiliarity of the words themselves. Let us compare Basic with its competitors vis-à-vis each of these difficulties.
All artificial language projects so far devised have either (a) too much grammar of the wrong sort, or (b) not enough of the right. Of those mentioned, V, E and I retain flexions which English, Dutch, Scandinavian, Romance languages, and even German, have long since discarded. N, which is latest in the field, has more dead derivative apparatus than English. P alone follows the maxim: the best grammar is no grammar. Like Chinese, a totally flexionless language, it has gone further than English along the same road. From this point of view it might seem to be a simpler task to learn P than to learn English. The conclusion is dubious if we give due weight to what has been a powerful motive militating against Peano's radical attitude to superfluous flexions of the type characteristic of Aryan languages. To do it justice a digression is here necessary.
Though it is not true to say that all nouns are concrete things or that all words which stand for processes or states are verbs, the converse of the first statement is correct, and it is generally² true that the verb complex of a sentence is the part which predicates process or state. In a rough and ready way the fact that nouns and verbs have characteristic terminals does mean that we can more easily pick out what is thing, what is state or process in short, that we can get some sort of picture of the sentence-landscape. This helps the beginner to translate a passage which contains unfamiliar words, and